“Water Stains”

Water Stains

CAVEAT:  I actually do need to start this one with a HUGE caveat.  Watered Silk, aka Moire, should never…EVER…be washed.  This is one of the few silks that is genuinely, unquestioningly, dry clean only.  What is it?  Moire silk is silk that has been pressed through industrial grade, steam rollers, which pull the warp threads slightly out of alignment from the weft threads, while simultaneously steaming the silk, creating a rippled effect that looks like, well, WATER.  It is very cool, as seen in this dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

To give an analogy of why you do not want to get Moire wet, imagine you have just stepped out of a long, steamy, hot shower.  The mirrors are all fogged up, but you don’t really need them and you’re feeling a little silly, so you wright “Love you Sweetie!” in the mirror.  That “Love you Sweetie!” will stay on the mirror, visible whenever the mirrors steam up, forever.  Or until you wash the mirrors.  Or until the next time you step out of a steamy, hot, shower and decide you DO need the mirror, and wipe it away with a towel.  Getting Moire silk wet is the equivalent of wiping away the design with a towel.

Also, silk velvet.  Silk Pile is TRICKY so until I get some in stock and practice cleaning at home, I am recommending dry clean only for Silk Velvet as well.

Now, on to the Challenge:  WATER!

Oh No! Water!
Oh No! Water!

Oh no!  I’ve dripped water on my silk dress.  What should I do?  Let it dry.  Seriously, that’s it.  Water is a completely neutral compound.  Unless there is tea, or coffee, or Easter egg dye, IN the water, water does not stain.

Water on Black...How artistic!
Water on Black…How artistic!
Let it dry
Let it dry

The cause of water stains is starch.  That’s right…Starch.  Because water does not stain.  Because water is a neutral element. What happens, is the water rinses a small patch of starch off the silk, creating very slight differences in gradation of color.  I decided to test this theory, in the name of making sure I was passing on good information.

Now, according to WikiHow, you erase these gradations…with WATER.  Or Steam.  What you’re really doing is displacing starch from the surrounding fibers to the previously blank patch which the water had cleared away, thus restoring balance to the force.  However, if you are trying to remove “Water Stains” from a completed item that is difficult to wash, like a silk hat, follow WikiHow’s instructions.  When it’s a blouse you have, just rinse the whole thing, and re-starch once dry.  So it is seriously that easy.  Water staining—It’s just not a thing.


Very faint gradations in color, brought about by displaced starch...
Very faint gradations in color, brought about by displaced starch…


So I rinse and re-starch.  It’s truly that simple!


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