Tutorial–Removing Unmovable Stains From White Silk

Okay! I was pretty wishy-washy about even trying to explain this one, because it’s not easy, it’s not safe, and it takes a lot of practice. But! Interest was given, and as long as I’m VERY FUCKING CLEAR about what you’re getting yourself into, surely there’s no harm in showing you how it’s done.

I’m using the word “showing” very lightly. I am not mixing another batch of this for a tutorial, and you’ll see why in my list of warnings, so read along very carefully. And remember, when in doubt: DO NOT.


Personal hazards! This stuff is nasty as fuck. It’s not going to kill you handling it, but if you’re not careful with it, you can and will hurt yourself. Do not get this shit on papercuts. Do NOT get this shit on your face, or anywhere near your eyes. Obviously, don’t eat it. Do this in a well ventilated space, and wear a mask. Technically speaking, there are no warnings about the fumes. But if you have existing issues such as asthma, this WILL put you in respiratory distress. And it smells AWFUL. Like burning hair and sadness. When in its powdered form before mixing, be very careful not to inhale it.

Kimono hazards! Do not use this on anything but white or cream. This is not a stain remover for dyed areas. Getting this mixture on dyed areas WILL discharge the dye. This mixture is safe on silk–personal verification is up to seven years old with no damage after use–but I wouldn’t try it on damaged fabric. This should be considered the nuclear option. Try literally everything else before doing this.

To be clear: I am confident doing this because I have had a lot of practice. I’ve literally purchased unsalvageable kimonos to use as “guinea pigs” for certain things. If you feel the need to do this after reading all of my warnings, I recommend you practice the same way.

And with that out of the way, let’s begin.

You will need the following:

Pictured: Global Thermonuclear War and not a nice game of chess.

From the top left: Rit White-Wash, a mountain of paper towels, a good brush that holds liquid well, a glass, cotton buds, and a white press cloth. Not pictured but helpful: spray bottle full of half distilled white vinegar (5% acidity) and distilled water.

First, let’s look at this stuff. You can get it in a lot of places. They carry it at my local grocery store in the laundry section, as well as most craft stores.

Pictured: Weapons grade kimono restoration in a box.

The instructions on the inside of the package go over how to use this in a pot, and even in your washer. We’re not doing that, but read them anyway. I find that having a understanding of how to handle this is a good idea.

Now we’re going to open just a corner of the bag inside the box. We’re not using very much of it. I am frighteningly good at sight-measuring things, so I just pour some in. But you’re looking for about 2 tablespoons of this into your glass. This shit is pretty potent, so don’t go nuts.

Pictured: You can already smell it. And it is AWFUL.

Now we’re operating without pictures. Sorry. There’s a reason for that. If you mix this yourself, you’ll understand. So please read carefully from here. I’ll try to be as precise as possible.

Take the kimono you wish to subject to this and open the seam closest to the stain. You ABSOLUTELY have to put a crap ton of paper towels behind the area, and remember to change them regularly. This stuff will bleed through the silk to the lining and take colour out of EVERYTHING. So we have to control spread.

If you haven’t put on your mask and moved to a ventilated area, do that NOW.

Now we’re going to mix in very hot water, between 110°F to 120°F (43°C to 48°C). About 1 cup of it. Pour in the water gently so you don’t kick up any dust, and mix well. When it looks piss yellow, you’re golden.

With your kimono surface prepared, take your small paintbrush and wet it in your mixture. You want to apply as LITTLE of this mixture to your stain at a time as possible. Just enough to get the stain wet–try very hard not to saturate the whole area unless it’s a large white area and it doesn’t matter. Use the brush to scrub a bit.

Now, you’re going to see results VERY quickly. This is going to tempt you to add more when it looks like the mixture applied has “stopped working.” DO NOT. DO THIS. You want to let each application sit for no less than ten minutes, and then we rinse. You’re using water or–preferably–the vinegar spray. Press hard with papertowels to blot up as much and as quickly as possible.

Let it dry. Probably overnight.

GOOD MORNING! How does it look today? Oftentimes the stain fades further after treatment sets. If you can still see it, decided if it’s bad enough that you want to do round two. Is it? Is it REALLY? Then repeat all steps as necessary. Continue to be very cautious. Do you feel confident from the first round? STOP THAT. Be very cautious.

So! What are our expectations? Let me show you:

Or better yet:

An important point about the embroidery on this picture, I haven’t fluffed it back up yet and it’s still a little wet it’s not wrecked. This process is actually very gentle to embroidery.

More things to note: this mixture can and will fuck up black dyed silk. As you can see, mine hasn’t. That’s because I did this very cautiously and with a lot of practice and patience. I consider this to be a potentially destructive repair. You can WRECK your shit with this so proceed very carefully. Also I take zero responsibility for anything you destroy because I’ve literally spent half of this entry explaining how goddamn dangerous this is.

If you want to try this but have questions, that’s what the contact tab and the comments are for! Ask me! ASK MEEEEEE. I will do everything I can to guide you. Please don’t ask me how to fix it if it gets wrecked–talk to me BEFORE that happens!

And once again! When in doubt: DO NOT!

Good luck, and follow your dreams, I guess.

3 thoughts on “Tutorial–Removing Unmovable Stains From White Silk

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