Removing Oil from Silk

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated May 16, 2011)

If you have ever had any silk sheets or blankets, then you know just how luxurious they can feel. However, anyone that has ever had some silk bedding can tell you just how easily these things become stained. One of the more common, and problematic, types of stains that can face silk is oil. Removing oil from silk doesn't need to be that difficult, particularly if you use one of these methods. Keep in mind that a couple of these can potentially be dangerous, and should only be used as an absolute last resort.

  • Citrus oil. Citrus oil is a powerful natural cleaner, and can help clean silk. One of the reasons that this should be your first option when removing oil from silk is that since citrus oil is a natural solvent it won't hurt the silk fibers. In fact, this type of cleaning agent can be used to remove oil, fat, grease, and even wax stains from silks. Look for products such as CitraSolve, apply it to the stain and allow it to set for between 10 and fifteen minutes. Place a paper towel or cloth over the stain and then run a hot iron over the towel. Doing this will help to lift the stain a lot quicker. Once finished, wash the silk as normal.
  • Talcum powder. If the oil stain is relatively fresh, then try sprinkling a bunch of talcum powder on it. Be sure to use unscented talcum powder when you do this. Allow the talcum powder to sit on the stain overnight, and then wash as normal in the morning. Once you have washed the silk, you should notice that the stain is gone.
  • Baking soda. Baking soda can be used in much the same manner as talcum powder. However, with baking soda the process can often take about two to three times longer. Place a paper towel or other clean cloth over the baking soda, and then place a heavy weight (such as several books) over the cloth. Allow the baking soda and silk to sit there for no more than three days, and then wash as you normally would. The stain should be completely removed.
  • WD-40. Use a little bit of WD-40 to help you remove oil from silk. Lightly spray some of the lubricant onto the afflicted area and allow it to sit for five minutes. Use some gentle dish soap (such as Dawn) and begin to hand wash the area. Rub the soap into the stain with your fingers, and then rinse out with some cold water. Repeat the process a few times until there is no more soap. Then wash as you normally would, and the stain should be gone.
  • Kerosene or gasoline. While definitely effective in removing oil from silk, the use of kerosene or gasoline should only be a last resort. The reason for this is that these fluids are extremely combustible, and the proper care is not taken then a fire could start. Simply pour a little bit of gasoline or kerosene into a small container, and dip the stained portion of the silk into the container. Allow the fabric to soak in the gasoline for about an hour, and then remove. Hand wash the silk in a tub using some mild detergent and a light soft brush. Scrub the area, rinse it clean, and then allow the silk to dry in the sun. If necessary, launder as normal to get any residual stain out.

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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