How to Get Milk Out of a Silk Shirt

by Fred Decker

Milk isn't usually the first thing that springs to mind when you consider tough food stains. Red substances such as tomato sauce and red wine are more notorious offenders. However, milk can be just as stubborn. It's been used for centuries to make paint because once its proteins have dried and formed a hard surface, it's surprisingly durable. Milk is especially hard to remove from silk because silk itself is made out of protein. The most effective cleaning products for milk are enzyme-based and would digest the silk and milk equally well. However, there are other cleaning methods to use.

Items you will need

  • Measuring cup
  • Detergent for delicate fabrics
  • Clean white towel
  • Absorbent cloth
Step 1

Moisten the area of the milk spill immediately and keep it wet until the stain is removed. If the milk is permitted to dry, the proteins will set and adhere to the fabric, making cleaning much more difficult.

Step 2

Fill a large measuring cup with barely warm water and stir in a few teaspoons of an extra-gentle detergent. These are marketed under several brand names, specifically for hand-washing delicate fabrics.

Step 3

Open the silk shirt and place the stained area on top of a clean, white towel. This will absorb any drips from the cleaning process, so they don't run and extend the stained area.

Step 4

Work the mild detergent solution into the affected area with your fingertips. Use a clean, absorbent cloth to blot it up, lifting away the dissolved milk.

Step 5

Repeat the wetting and blotting process until there is no further trace of milk visible.

Step 6

Hand-wash the shirt in lukewarm water, with the same gentle detergent. Use a large towel to blot the shirt dry, without wringing it. The stain should be gone, and you can hang the shirt to dry.


  • It the stain can still be faintly seen after washing the shirt, repeat the blotting process several more times then wash the shirt again. The milk will eventually come out as long as it's never been allowed to dry and set.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.