The New Lab Rat Maybe?

I purchased this kimono with the intention to do some things to it that might just fucking wreck it. As I’ve mentioned before in my restoration entries, I’ve got a few kimono items that I purchased exclusively to use as guinea pigs/lab rats for stain removal techniques. Those kimono are in dire need of replacing because I’ve pretty well annihilated them, or they’re just out of stains to test. There really is no point in trying to test a stain removal technique on just clear fabric. I mean, it’ll tell me if my solution will eat the fuck out of the silk, but it doesn’t tell me whether or not it eats the stain, too. Disolving material can be fun, but I’m not doing it for just shits and giggles.

So I picked this kimono because from the seller photos, it looked like I had some nice hard mildew stains on light rinzu silk to handle. It also looked absolutely fuuuuuuuuuucked. Yes, I needed that many u’s. The ability to screech my obscenities at things when getting ready to do the hard work is a matter of necessity. Anyway, that means if I couldn’t remove the stains with my proven safe methods, it was a lost cause, which means I have a new lab rat to play with. .

And then it arrived, and it’s not mildew at all. It wasn’t just missing that This-Bathroom-Is-Cursed smell we all know and love; it actually smells straight up like vanilla. As for what is here, we’ve got some soy sauce stains, what I think is ponzu, and then something else that I’ve tangoed with a few times but might make this just a large cleaning project rather than a particularly difficult one. Let’s have a look!

Pictured: When you see it…

So look at this magnificent beast! She’s a little bit of an enigma when it comes to seasonality. An awase (fully lined) homongi (semi formal women’s kimono with continuous pattern), she sports both what look to me like late summer to early fall flowers and some early spring flowers. Not unusual, but interesting nonetheless. I like having rinzu (woven pattern in the fabric) to work with because the extra texture does give me a layer of complexity when it comes to stain removal. It works well when it comes to testing.

Let’s zero in on the stain your eyes probably went to immediately. You know, the one on the lower skirt there that kind of looks like someone fucking shit themselves.

This is actually what I thought to be mildew or something because of the greyish greenish tint present in the seller photos, and because of the tint here. When it arrived here, this kimono is significantly warmer in hue than I thought it was, but getting close to this stain revealed that it is not mildew. In fact, the big clouds of gunky crap that I thought was mold or whatever isn’t mold at all. It’s sizing decay.

What the fuck is that? I hear you asking, because words are weird and I’m arguably insane. In this context, sizing refers to the adhesive media that was used to make the gold stick to the kimono. And this kimono has a decent amount of kinsai (gold paint) on it. This includes a bunch of hazy clouds of gold powder technique like this:

Pictured: SHINY

From the seller photos, I didn’t know that it had these. But when you’re right on top of it like I was, holding it three inches from my face and hot breathing on it like a goddamn psychopath, you realize that all of the darker areas on the body where I had thought it was perhaps exposed to moisture are actually areas of these gold misty clouds. See here:

And then the green that appears on the worst offender actually does appear on the smaller ones as well. I just had to get really close to them to see it. It’s my opinion right now that it is oxidation. I think there is a significant copper content in the gold paint mixture. I’ve actually never dealt with that, I don’t think. So that will be a thing.

The lining and hakkake are in near perfect condition. I was expecting worse. I was hoping for worse. I paid a goddamn dollar for this kimono. One. US. Dollar. Okay, plus shipping, but shipping was more than the kimono.

Pictured: All quiet on the Eastern front.

Aside from that, we have some random blobs of just stuff around. These are the drippings and blobs of things that I said above tastes like soy sauce and/or ponzu. I know how to deal with that, so unless one of them is made out of Super Mecha Death Ponzu, there’s not much experimenting to be done. I’m trying not to do them needlessly.

Here’s my problem, I guess: I kind of know what to do about decaying/discolored sizing. There’s every chance that my usual techniques completely solve my problems here. And that’s great for the kimono, but it leaves me without a much needed lab rat!

So, I’ll get started on the usual fair. Vinegar is always a good place to start. I’ll report back here if I just fully clean the thing and it’s great. It’s not a kimono I would usually pick for myself, so if it comes out of this looking fantastic, I’ll probably give it to someone who likes it more than I do and then keep looking for a new lab rat.


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