Finding a stain on a favorite silk item is upsetting. Particularly because the fragile nature of silk makes stain removal a bit more challenging, particularly for silks that are dry clean only. Ideally, taking caution to avoid makeup stains from happening is the first line of defense. But makeup will still find its way on your silk from time to time. Removing the stain requires a trial-and-error process, which will hopefully result in the stain's removal.
Remove the stain immediately for best results. As the stain soaks further into the material, it becomes more difficult to remove. If the silk item is "dry clean only," take it to a dry cleaner to have the stain professionally removed, rather than trying to remove it yourself and potentially damaging the silk further.
Use a piece of masking or clear tape to lift off as much of the stain as possible. Take care not to rub the stain in any further. Gently place the tape on the stain, firmly blot at it with your fingers and remove the tape. Try this several times. The stickiness of the tape grabs some of the stain particles and lifts them off.
Shake some talcum powder or cornstarch onto the stain. Allow the talcum powder or cornstarch to sit on the stain for 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen the powder by shuffling it around the stain, moving the fabric back and forth, allowing the powder to move across the surface. Shake the powder off, blow the area and examine the stain. Repeat this a couple of times if it seems to be working.
Dab at the stain with rubbing alcohol applied to a cotton ball. Do not rub the stain, just dab at it, attempting to lift the stain. If the stain is still resisting, gently rub the area with a toothbrush to loosen the stain. Then repeat the blot technique using the cotton ball and rubbing alcohol.
Spray hairspray on the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Blot the stain with a white absorbent cloth to see if you are able to lift the stain.
Apply dry-cleaning solvent to the stain. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then pat the area with an absorbent white cloth. Continue to blot, removing the solvent and hopefully the stain as well.
Rub a maximum-strength stain remover onto the stain and launder the silk item. After trying all the other techniques, the stain may have loosened enough that a run through the washer will remove the remainder of the stain.
Ask a dry cleaner about professionally removing the stain. While not all stains will come out, favorite silk items are worth the effort and money of hiring a professional to try to remove it.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.