(Close Window)
Topic: How to wash a silk?
Message: Posted by: DanTheMagicMan (Oct 22, 2002 02:28PM)
I got some egg on a 36" print silk from the egg to silk routine (no this is not same silk as the one from the egg!). It has a small stain on it. I want to see if I can remove the stain but I am hesitant since I don't want to ruin the 36" silk. How do you wash a silk and does it matter if it is a solid or print silk?

Also, words of wisdom: do not store balloons with your silks! I had an old balloon in the bottom of a box that became sticky and a yellow silk near it now has permanent green latex marks on it!
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Oct 30, 2002 10:36PM)
First, check colorfastness of the silk....
Then, in COLD water, with some Woolite, handwash the silk in the sink...
For the stained area, use a soft bristled toothbrush and gently scrub the stained area. Don't try to remove the stain all at once...go slowly. Eventually, you will remove all of the stain that can be removed. Don't put it in the dryer...let it air dry.

I hope this helps!

Message: Posted by: DanTheMagicMan (Oct 31, 2002 02:43PM)
Thanks Margarette, I will give it a try!
Message: Posted by: EranRaven (Jan 9, 2003 01:55PM)
When it is wet, put it on the window to dry. It will dry very staight and flat. No need to iron and dries faster than the traditonal flat method.
Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Jan 10, 2003 06:19PM)
A good dry cleaner can also help with the stain. If you want to do it yourself, then Woolite is the answer. Don't squeeze the water out after washing the silk, also.
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Jan 11, 2003 06:35PM)
Great info.
I have ruined silks before by ringing them out and using a dryer.

Message: Posted by: Danno (Jan 13, 2003 12:24PM)
Wish I had read this thread or actually THOUGHT IT THROUGH before I decided one day last week to throw all my silks in with my regular laundry and wash & dry them!

Needless to say, I'll be silk shopping soon... :bawl:
Message: Posted by: Magicduck (Jan 14, 2003 01:16PM)

It is my experience that, even with high quality art silks, the colors will be inclined to run. With some of these very expensive silks out there: Rice, P and A, mismade flags, blendos....it is best to be extremely careful or you might spoil some expensive silks. I have had good luck usually with hand washing. I have a string of flags however that will run even if a drop of water gets on them. Cleaning them up one time was a mess. I had to use a combo of hot water and cold water in bowls to try to get the "stray" dye out. Ultimately it worked out since they do not get huge scrutiny.

Message: Posted by: Chrystal (Jan 30, 2003 04:17PM)
Hi Dan, How about taking it to the dry cleaners if you don't want to attempt it yourself? Just another suggestion. :)
Message: Posted by: Rice (Jan 30, 2003 06:34PM)
Hello Dan,

The previous responder is right on target. Good silks are 100% silk, which is a natural, not synthetic material, and should be treated as such. Even "color fast" silks should be DRY CLEANED! Don't take chances, particularly with expensive silks, and never chance a silk with a pattern. They frequently "bleed," spoiling the pattern. Solid colored silks can be washed, but only separately from each other. Use luke-warm water and change the water before adding a new color. Rinse under cold running water. This sets the colors. Do not wring the silks! Squeeze them gently between your hands. Even though I told you about how to wash solid color silks (most of this advice comes from my Dad's [Harold Rice] notes), he and I would still suggest you dry clean all your silks if they are worth anything to you.
Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: DanTheMagicMan (Feb 3, 2003 01:26PM)

Thanks for the input. I still have not got up the nerve yet to clean it but I think your advice with the dry cleaners is the best and safest route to go (and it is a print silk).

Thanks again for your input, it is highly regarded.
Message: Posted by: Snidini (Feb 4, 2003 07:50PM)
Dan, I just picked up 3 silks from my local drycleaners. I didn't want to give them my best ones to clean so I decided to send some really dirty ones that if destroyed wouldn't matter. I can now say they will get the rest of my collection and that is the only way to go. They did a first class job. Like anything else in this world, the results could change from business to business.

Message: Posted by: mghia (Feb 11, 2003 01:02PM)
Hmmm, lets think things through.
1. Are you working and making part of your income from your silks?
2. Are you using them alot

Yes? Then the cost of buying new ones should not be an issue.
Get past that and then try to clean them. If it does not work out, you will have new ones on the way. If the silks make your act shine, it only makes sense to not stretch them until they are threads.
Don't you laugh sometimes how cheap many magicians are?
Oh I am not saying Dan is cheap. I can understand wanting to clean a $50 silk. I just wanted to say if magic is your business, then this is just another expense. (OR take better care of the expensive equipment.

Suggestions :
Yes you can wash most silks. Wash by hand, in a sink with mild detergent. Spot treat the stain first. SOAKING is the key not heavy rubbing. When a silk is dyed, they are supposed to wash the extra dye away. BUT many do not in order to make colors more vibrant.

IF it is a natural material like pure silk, you might be able to relese a fat based stain no matter what you try.

Test before washing all your silks.

Yes ,printed silks can run if they are dyed. If they are totally silk screened they might not.

Did you ever try the spot remover sheets that come in home dry cleaning kits?

For those of you that have the silks cleaned at the dry cleaner? What does that cost you?
Sure it might work but does it pay? Gee the dry cleaners around here would charge 1/2 the cost or more of the material!
But dry cleaners do have experience with silk. Guys, don't forget ladies bring in silk scarfs and shirts all the time.

Oh and I have more comments:
Drying on the window or mirror sort of works. You will never get a pressed look that way and you must be careful not to stretch it out of shape when wet.

Never twist the water out of the silks and if you do toss in the washer (which can work) use the DELICATE cycle. This should keep them from getting pulled.

Hey, you will be surprised what can be washed.
You can even wash your expensive feather bouquets if you know how!
Message: Posted by: Majestic12 (Feb 11, 2003 05:16PM)
If you still can't get the stain out after all of these nice suggestions, like Mghia said, if your performing full time you should claim this as a business expense. Throw it out and get a new one. that's only if you can't get the stain out however. I like to take old silks I have retired from my show and use them for other purposes, such as: Wrapping them around my feather flower tricks to keep them in good shap when traveling. :P
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Dec 28, 2010 11:48AM)
Many dry cleaners do an excellent job. However, remember that there a not many good reasons for not wetting a silk. Protein stains like eggs and blood are easy to remove from real silk with COLD water. (Hot water sets protein stains in silk!)

If you decide to add something to the Cold Water, try Woolite or No More Tears Baby Shampoo.

Never wring out a wet silk. Just squeeze it dry and then stick it to a clean flat smooth surface like a glass mirror and let it dry.

Enjoy your silk magic.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- Dry Cleaners tend to use Naptha (Coleman Lantern Fuel!) for cleaning and it can leave them easy to catch fire and with an odor you may not like. Know your dry cleaners WELL!

Also, since the 80s, you can get the best silk from China (recommended on page 8 of the Rice books but unavailable to him in those days. So Japan was the best available back then in the USA.) and the technology has improved for producing magicians' silks. Hems and coloring are among the greatest improvements. Professional Japanese magicians use China silk.
Message: Posted by: Oliver Ross (Dec 29, 2010 03:29PM)
I've read that someone should rinse new bought silks in cold or low warm water before using them to take out the après of them. Is this right ?

Thank you.

Message: Posted by: Al Leach (Dec 29, 2010 06:16PM)

Would it be wise for someone to clean their silks at home with Naptha?
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Dec 29, 2010 06:24PM)
Naptha at home is not a good idea. First it is highly flammable. Second, you could melt your plastic water pipes.

Good silks do not need to be washed first before using. They have already had all the sizing taken out of the silk by the dyeing and manufacturing process.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Dec 29, 2010 07:08PM)
I certainly agree with Richard here. Naptha is not water! It is a fuel and solvent that has no business in the hands of a beginner. I never use it on my silks. My silks don't go to dry cleaners either.

Sizing is history! Good silk won't have it by the time it is available to the customer. What we call 75 cent silk (slum silk) in the import industry often does and it is something to be avoided any way. If you would not perform your effect with a facial tissue, you won't ultimately be any happier with these either. Experience is an expensive teacher. It gives the test before it teaches the lesson. If silks look "dusty" or "powdery", save your time and money.

(I have been told that some sizing even invites insect damage. You just don't need it! Until long after WWII it was common in Japanese silk. Don't forget that China silk was not legally available in the USA when most silk magic books were written. Technology has improved. The pros use China silk.)

Today your silks should be ready for use when you get them.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander