Restoring Old Silk

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated March 30, 2015)

3

Restoring old silk often appears to be difficult at first glance, when this couldn't be further from the truth. While it is true that you need to be careful, as long as you keep your head you can get the job done with relative ease. When you are ready to begin the process of restoring old silk, simply follow these directions, and you will have a beautifully cleaned item that looks almost new again.

First of all, you need to realize that silk needs to be washed by hand. When washing the silk, use very warm (but not hot) water. This means that the water is warm and feels comfortable to the hands. Use a mild dish detergent, such as Dawn, or a cleaning product such as Oxiclean to help clean the silk. Be sparing when applying this to the water, only using about a teaspoon of the cleaners to every gallon of water. After filling up the sink, begin to wash and then rinse the silk. Rinse the silk several times to ensure that you get all the soap out.

Be careful and gentle as you wash the silk, and do not wring it at all. This will stretch the silk out of shape, and can possibly even cause the silk to be damaged and break. When trying to get the excess water out, rather than wringing silk gather the material into a ball and squeeze gently. This will help get all the water and soap out.

Once you have washed and rinsed the silk material, drain and rinse out the sink that you have been using. Refill the sink with a mixture of room temperature water and hydrogen peroxide. The mixture should have a ratio of two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide for every six cups of water. Place the silk into the water and let it sit for several hours, making sure that you have completely covered the silk material. Rinse the silk again, using the same method as described above. Do not wring the silk, but rather ball the material up and squeeze it out.

To dry the silk, place it between two large towels on a large flat surface. Make sure that it is all smoothed out so that it can dry undisturbed, with no folds or wrinkles. Let the silk dry for a couple of hours on one side, and then flip it over onto the other side. Make sure it is in a place where no children, pets, or other animals can get to it. Another option that you have for drying silk is to air dry it outside. Be careful when doing this though, that you don't leave it exposed to bright direct sunlight too long, or you may damage the silk. The perfect day to dry the silk outside would be one that is actually slightly overcast.

If, after you have tried restoring the silk in this manner, and it still wont look like new, you only have one option: take it to a professional cleaner.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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What is 8 + 3?

2018-04-18 16:25:22

Lsi

Do not ever use OxiClean on silk. It is formulated to remove protein stains. As silk is a protein fiber, it can dissolve the fabric.


2017-05-21 00:04:46

hanna

This method is likely fine for cleaning vintage silks from the later 20th century, but PLEASE do not attempt anything like this on a truly antique silk. Complete immersion is rarely advised for antique silks. Many are very fragile due to metal salts used to "weight" them and can develop serious damage just from being handled. Spot cleaning may be possible on some antique silks, but please research your piece carefully before you do anything to it.
In any case, Dawn is hardly a mild detergent. If you must use a detergent, please find a ph-neutral one. Both acidic and alkaline materials greatly speed up the deterioration of silk. Also, hydrogen peroxide bleaches many colors and is probably not a good choice even for newer silks.


2015-03-30 12:29:38

Linda

Hi:
I just purchased an ottoman covered in silk. How would you suggest that I clean it since I'm unable to remove the covering?
I'm a recent subscriber and think your cleaning tips are great!
Thank you.


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