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Out out Damn Spot!

So this saga starts at Golden Beltane.  We were prepping our steaks for grilling when some wind kicked up and splashed some blood on my sleeve.  Because I am an idiot, I grinned.  Yay!  Blood stains!  And I didn’t have to donate them myself!

If you get blood on silk, move hell and high water to soak that stain immediately!  It can be done on a set in stain, but seriously, if the stain doesn’t get the chance to set, it is ever so much easier. Here is the progression.

Internet says to use salt water to break down the stain.  The stain looked at me like “Really?  That’s your A game?”

I try Dr. Bronner’s AND Dawn.  Just to see if basic detergent will work.  The Stain yawned.  I actually saw it yawn.

Internet says to try a little ammonia in water.  The Stain laughed at me.  It seriously laughed at me.

Internet says to try Hydrogen Peroxide.  The Stain gasps like Vigo the Carpathian and fades sullenly in to the background.  But does not disappear entirely.  And there we sat…deadlocked for three weeks.  I felt a great deal of kinship with Lady MacBeth during this time.

Then I start looking up how Dry Cleaner’s remove blood stains.  And among the list of ingredients is Protein Stain Remover. So I go to Amazon and type in Protein Stain Remover and it kicks back…Contact Lens Cleaner?  Yep!  Right on the box.  Protein Stain Remover.  Daily cleaners for contact lens wearers.  So I figure what the hell and next time I’m at the store I buy a bottle.

I’ll be damned if it didn’t work!  But…it worked off camera.  So then it became a new game between me and blood.  I stabbed myself many times and always got different results between Hydrogen Peroxide and Protein Stain Remover.

DISCLAIMER:  ALWAYS TEST ON AN INCONSPICUOUS AREA OF THE GARMENT FIRST!  I don’t want anyone to ruin their dress because they never pre-washed the fabric and the Hydrogen Peroxide lightens the dye under the stain, resulting in permanent discoloration.  On to the results!

As a general guideline, I found that if it’s a fresh stain, less than two hours old, the Protein Stain Remover works fine on it’s own.  You do have to work it in to the fabric a little bit, and you do have to wash with Dawn after, but it works.  The longer the stain sets, the more firepower you need.

So if the stain has set for several hours or longer, start with Hydrogen Peroxide.  Let the HP sit for at least twenty minutes.  Put some Dawn detergent directly on the area and rub it in.  Rinse thoroughly.  Now, if the stain has set for a significant length of time (Golden Beltane was in May…I didn’t try cleaning the silk until late July), you will need the next phase, which is the protein stain remover.  Be generous, rub it in, let it set for twenty minutes.  Wash again with Dawn.  Et Voila!  The Stain gasped it’s last and died like a George R. R. Martin character.

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Water Marks on Silk

Water Marks on Silk…you hate them, yet they inevitably appear.

While at costume college, I led a Q&A session on The Care and Feeding of Silk.  And it was awesome!  So much enthusiasm, the energy in the room was high, everyone was sharing tips and tricks.  I loved it.  But in the course of the class, I dropped (deliberately) a spot of water on a previously starched piece of Habotai.  I wanted to demonstrate exactly what water marking was and why it was no big deal.

And as the silk scrap made it’s way around the room, it dried, and someone eventually commented on the discoloration.  Which was fine.  The discoloration was literally the result of the starched area versus the un-starched area of silk.  And it gave me the chance to answer that water doesn’t stain.  Water is a neutral element.  Starch rinses out causing the discoloration.  No one believed me.  So when I got home, I made a video with starch and silk.

However, I was not satisfied.  While no harm came to the silk in this process, I felt I had missed something.  I showed you can rinse silk in water to remove surface starch.  So that was a win.  But mostly, as someone who likes to dance in the rain, I felt really bad for all my friends who love these big, floofy, 18th and 19th century dresses, having to huddle under umbrellas or else have to wash and starch their big floofy dresses anytime they get caught in a rain storm.  Because of water!  Water is a neutral element!  So I tried again…with a bigger surface area than that tiny scrap provided…

So good news for floofy dress wearers!  Feel free to dance in the rain….because you do not have to wash the whole dress to treat a few water marks.