Lay the silk smoothly on a clean board, rub soap upon it, and wipe it with a piece of velvet. Never brush it; the brush ruins it. ' When it has been in this manner cleansed from grease and dirt, it should be washed on both sides with clean cold water. A little alum in this water will prevent the colors from spreading. Should there be any patches of grease upon the silk, they should be removed with ammonia or a little camphine and alcohol. Folding or wringing silk when wet must be carefully avoided, since creases made in wet silk never disappear; and, in like manner, hot suds must not be used for washing silk, as it will in most instances remove the colors.
Silks are easily cleaned if one knows how to work carefully. Mix the following well together: Fifty grams of honey, as much soft soap, one gill of brandy. Rip the gown, place in cold water, spread on a table, and rub well with a brush dipped in the mixture. Rinse three times in a pail of water, into which sixty-five grams of gum have been dissolved. Let the garment drip without being wrung, and iron on the wrong side.
Another recipe : Grate five Irish potatoes in clear cold water. If the silk is thin, slice the potatoes instead of grating. Wash them well before grating or slicing. Let the prepared water stand for twenty-four hours before using. Then strain the liquid. Dip the silk in without rumpling it; spread it on a table, wipe both sides with a clean towel, and iron on the wrong side.
Grease stains may be removed either with chalk, magnesia, or ether, or with the yolk of an egg and water. Clean white brocaded silk with bread crumbs. Plain silk requires the following process: Dissolve soft soap in water as hot as the hands can bear; rub the silk between the hands in the soapy water ; rinse in warm water, and dry by pinning on a cloth.
Nothing is so good for black silk, and, in fact, for many materials, as beef gall. Throw the gall-bladder into as much boiling water as you care to use. Spread the material on a table, and with a sponge dipped in the liquid clean the silk on both sides. Rinse in clear water, still on the table, on both sides with a sponge. Dissolve a little gum arabic or gelatine in the water, moisten the sponge with it, and pass it over the wrong side of the silk. Pin the silk on a cloth to dry it.
A good way of removing grease stains from black silk is to rub them very vigorously with a piece of brown wrapping paper.