How To Clean, Care For, And Get Stains Out Of An Organza Dress

The care of an organza garment needs gentle handling, washing and cleaning. Some specific remedies for stain removal are outlined.

Organza is transparent woven material, made of either silk or polyester and often used for special-occasion outfits. Silk organza needs special handling, while the polyester ones are machine washable on gentle setting or hand washable with mild detergent. Avoid harsh bleach. (Note: The following has been culled from reliable sources but the author does not guarantee its efficacy and assumes no liability for any damage that may incur.)

Most silk organza items are labeled for dry cleaning, but sometimes, they can be laundered. Washed silk may appear better than dry-cleaned, as the latter process has been known to dull the fabric's sheen. If crispness is desired, then dry clean it, as washing can soften the material's texture.

If the organza outfit wasn't preshrunk, it might shrink a bit with cleaning, especially if its weave is loose or it is highly sized (the starchy substance used in processing yardage). Silk's protein fibers by themselves don't shrink, but when they are twisted together and wetted, the fibers bunch up. Machine drying can reduce its size as well, so if using a dryer, remove the item while still damp. Finish air drying on a hanger.

Experts recommend testing an inconspicuous spot before plunging the entire garment into either a basin for hand washing or into a washing machine. Inside a hem or a seam are possible places.

To hand wash, select a mild detergent or even a gentle shampoo and dissolve it in lukewarm water in a basin. Immerse the garment, and then gently rub it in the soapy solution. Rinse it with clear, cool water until all the soap is gone. Do not wring the item.

To neutralize any remaining soap in the item, add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the final rinse tub. Some experts recommend another rinse to remove the vinegar from the garment.

Once it is rinsed thoroughly, lay the garment flat on a large towel, roll the towel up and allow it to sit overnight. The following day, iron the garment with medium low heat while it's still slightly damp.

Stains are discouraging, but can be remedied by various means. Different types of stains need specific methods for removal. For those not mentioned, consult with a professional dry cleaner.

Ballpoint ink: After placing a paper towel or rag under it, saturate the spot with an alcohol-based hair spray. Blot the stain with a separate towel. Repeat until the stain is gone, and then launder.

Blood: If the stain is fresh, combine one teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and sponge this mixture on it. If the stain has set, experts say meat tenderizer will break down the blood proteins. An enzyme presoak or time in a solution with sodium percarbonate (diaper wash) can be tried. Follow label directions.

Butter and animal fat: If possible, wash the item in warm sudsy water. If it isn't washable, use a laundry presoak or dry cleaning fluid on the dry spot.

Chocolate: Once the main chunks are scraped off, scrub washable items with an old toothbrush and hot soapy water. Use dry cleaning fluid if the garment is not washable, with a clean rag underneath.

Deodorant: Sponge with a spot stain remover or laundry presoak and warm water. If the color has been damaged, try sponging the area with ammonia diluted with water (1:1). Rinse well.

Grass: Soak with wood alcohol or a sodium percarbonate solution. Rinse in warm water, and then launder.

Mustard: After scraping off any excess, let the spot dry. Then soak in a dishwashing soap and denatured alcohol mixture (3:1) for up to 15 minutes. The stain will darken, but it is not permanent. Rinse the spot with as warm water as the fabric will allow, then wash.

Pencil: If the garment is not washable, try erasing the mark with a soft pencil eraser. If washable, spot with liquid laundry detergent. If the stain is from colored pencils, spray it with WD-40, then repeat on the inside. Next apply liquid dishwashing soap and work into the stained area. This should be done on a clean rag, which can be replaced as it absorbs the stain. Wash about 10 minutes with a detergent and bleach solution, then rinse.

Perspiration: For new stains, regular laundering should remove them. For older ones, try applying a paste made of 1 T cream of tarter, 3 crushed aspirins (nonbuffered) and a cup of warm water. Let the paste sit on the site for 20 minutes, then rinse well.

By treating an organza dress with the gentle care it deserves, it should endure.

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