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May 5, 2012

Raw Silk Laundry FAIL + My Interview!



Dear hearts and gentle people, occasionally I do something so stupid that, rather than hide it behind a facade of perfection, I put it out there for all the world to see, as a cautionary tale for others.

Or perhaps you already knew not to throw three yards of inky raw silk into the same washing machine as your white towels?

And beige towels...



And cotton tee shirts (which admittedly were already a bit stained in the armpits).



Fortunately I wasn't washing any of my prized home-sewn shirts or Jean Louis gowns.

And what of the silk, you ask?   You'll be happy to know that it did come out softer (I let it air dry), though it still has a bit of that raw silk stink -- a cross between fish skin and the detergent aisle at the Dollar Store; actually, the entire Dollar Store has that odor.  Apparently it has something to do with a protein in the silk called sericin.  You can read more about it at Pattern Review.

Laundered raw silk: softer but needs ironing.

In other news, would you like to read an interview with me and learn what makes me tick?  Of course you would!  Well, my new best friend from the UK, journalist Sarah Adie, has profiled me on her wonderful blog, Black Cat Originals -- an excellent resource if you want to know what's going on in Manchester, as occasionally I do. 


If I'd known that photo of me hugging my Singer 66 treadle would get so much exposure, I'd have exfoliated before taking it. You can read the full interview here.

Readers, I must away.  I hope your weekend is a productive one and please, if you're planning to pre-wash raw silk, splurge and launder it in the machine by itself.  Your towels will thank you.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

PS - Any laundry disaster stories you wish to share?  Bonus points for the best one!



43 comments:

  1. There's a product called Milsoft that I use on my hand dyed silk scarves that makes them softer. http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/1884-AA.shtml

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    1. Now if only I could find something to take the stains out of my towels! LOL

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  2. You put it in WITH TOWELS???

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    1. Is that an across-the-board no-no?

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    2. Absolutely a no-no. Silk should be washed alone, other items washed with it act as abrasives. It will soften just fine washed alone.

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  3. Wait, how did the silk turn out? No pictures of the successful laundering of the silk? Yeah, new fabric is usually washed alone for this reason. On cold gentle cycle. I hope you didn't set the stained items by putting them in the dryer, did you? Wash again with color safe bleach a few times.

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    1. I added a pic. It's softer but needs to be ironed.

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  4. I'd rewash the towels with Rit color remover. I bet that would take it right out. Just don't leave lipstick in a pocket--that makes a real mess!!

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  5. I have a dryer that steams. It's awesome! That being said the mother board component died and my dryer flooded with a very full load in it. I didn't know it was flooding until I saw blue water leaking from the ceiling and onto the kitchen floor (I have a second floor laundry). Anyway my hubbs spent all day fixing the damn thing and disabled the steam function. The worst part is that the lint from the dryer stained ALL the clothes and drywall it touched. I lost so much. Sniff. I guess stained clothes is better than a dryer fire and electrocution.

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  6. Worst laundry disaster!!! A certain someone who will go unmentioned, wrote a blog post about an icky pillow. I thought about MY icky pillow and decided to wash it. Said icky pillow was about 100 years old and filled with chicken feathers. Pillow covering disintegrated during spin cycle leaving me a tub full of wet chicken feathers. Smell? indescribable! horrible! nauseating!

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    1. But didn't we cure that supposed allergy?

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    2. Yes we did...although now it's been diagnosed as migraine...I do love my new pillow....and I still gag when I think about those chicken feathers.

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  7. My dad once tried to throw away half of my doll clothes, because ... he thought they were kids' clothes (mine) that he had shrunk and was getting rid of the evidence. (The dryer is indeed a fickle mistress! ;) Congrats on the great interview!

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  8. I once accidentally washed a gorgeous merino wool sweater (that specifically said hand wash on the label) in the prettiest shade of green you can think of. When I transferred it out of the washer and realized it was in there I about cried. It looked like moths had gotten a hold of it. It was full of holes! I didn't even get to wear it once. :(

    -Reyna
    www.glamglory.blogspot.com

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  9. Actually washing silk with towels is a method of softening the silk fabric. Think of this as an adventure in aging.

    As for the towels, stock up on Duz detergent, I hear there's a towel in every box!

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  10. Peter, I don't know for sure if this will work, but it's worth a try. RIT makes a color-leacher. You might be able to get rid of the dye run that way. (It should be right next to the RIT dyes at the grocery store or the nearest craft or discount store)

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  11. The awful thing is, it does feel like a splurge to wash one thing all by itself. Treat yourself to new towels. You deserve them.

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    1. And then use the old towels (after the colour is removed) as softeners the next time you want to wash raw silk!

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  12. Crayons in the washer or dryer - can't remember which, ruined a beautiful shirt my mom gave me. I only wore it once and I was heartbroken. Big greasy blue wax blobs on everything.

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    1. sorry to butt in, but we had this problem once with a heirloom tablecloths and we managed to salvage it.

      If you still got the shirt, you could try puting a kitchen towel on the stains and then put an old tea towel on top and iron without steam. The heat will melt the crayons and the paper towel will absorb the molten wax (also works with candle wax stains). Might have to be done several time before it is all gone and the shirt then needs to be washed with a in wash stain remover.

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  13. Oh, I don't know, there seem to be so many possible mistakes just waiting out there, how can we prevent all of them? I was a bit worried about my new silk leaking dye on things so I hand-washed it by itself in the bathtub. Good thing, too, because the water turned into an awful brown-black slurry. Feeling virtous, I rinsed repeatedly and blotted it with very old grungy towels, then hung to dry. Much later, I remembered to go back and look at the tub. It was pretty much stained to the gross dye color.

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  14. that happened to me when I was washing some big flowery fabric. The green of the flower stalks ran, so there were green splotches everywhere. I then soaked the fabric (and the towels that where in with it) for 2 days (changing the solution after 24h) in Napisan which is the Australian name for one of these stain remover product that you can either soak you stainy clothes or just put it in your washing machine with the normal detergent. I think it is called Vanish in the UK, so it is probably called something else again in the US, but it'll be freely available.

    Anyway after the soaking I washed everything again and it all came out clear.

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  15. Accidentally turned my husband's underpants pink.

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  16. Our household lived for years with pink undies - racing against time to load the washing machine I would not notice red Tshirts going in with the light colours. Months later after repeated washes, the undies would be more or less white again and then I'd make another mistake with the red Tshirts. Nappie soaker stuff does help and the towels could take it. Your white T shirt might respond to Rit colour run remover or to a spray/rub on stain remover, the Australian brand name of which is preen- it is of some help with armpit stains too and great on fresh coffee stains.

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  17. Negative points for washing- what were you thinking?! Redeemed yourself with a great interview...even Cathy gets a well deserved mention- well done!

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  18. I've washed crepe de chine many times, but I have always popped it into the dryer on low. It's always resulted in a beautiful, unwrinkled fabric. Is there a reason why you elected to air dry?

    So much to learn. On to read the interview.

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  19. I like Color Catcher sheets which are really great for collecting loose dye when fabric bleeds in the wash, most grocery stores have them.

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  20. Just finished reading your interview and I loved it! You and a cup of coffee are a great morning start! Keep up great work!!

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  21. Thanks for the tip off Peter. I'm usually very cautious about what goes in with what. Mr Ooobop! on the other hand is not. My wool skirt took a turn for the worst when it rolled around in 40 degrees with his jeans... doh!!

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  22. I once bought this gorgeous red wool sweater with a red silk bow around the neck. I wore it once, yes once,before I stuck it in both the washer and the dryer! I was livid with myself.

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  23. Washed a bunch of quilting cottons before use, as always. Kept colours and lights separate. Hung all out on the line. Windy day - colours got whipped around onto lights, resulting in mottly dye marks all over the white background ones. Who knew?

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  24. Airing our laundry, are we? Well, who doesn't have this dark little book? I labored mightily to knit a beautifully fitted sweater with short row knitted darts, exquisite waste fitting, perfect ribbing at neck, sleeves, and hem. My bridegroom didn't realize it was in the laundry for the hand washer, not the machine, and put it thru hot water and hot dryer. From adult size, perfect fit, it shrank to doll size. I still mourn it. Same year, DH meant to be helpful but didn't realize that liquid bleach has to be diluted. He poured straight bleach onto our very best wedding present sheets, fancy ones my aunt had paid big bucks for. As you can predict, giant holes overall, end of elegant sheets. Bless his heart, he was so sorry. I think we all learn about laundry by doing it wrong, in spite of inspired lessons! I started college with no knowledge at all of laundry machines, put my nice nylon undies in the campus washer (one setting, hot) and dryer (ditto, it was 1966) and they melted! Black smoked, puddle of goo inside the dryer and the whole mess! Never bought nylon undies again.

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  25. Oy vey! The reason my DH is forbidden from the laundry room.

    However, Do I see some Calvin Klein colour storied charcoal or slat grey towels in your future? Could be a great excuse to attempt a little intentional dye project?

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  26. Towels work just as well when stained, tho', right?
    I had a roommate who took all my end of the winter, delicate cycle, cold washed wool sweaters out of the washer and put them all (every single one I owned) into the dryer. Shrunk so my toddlers could wear them. What could I say? Had to go out and buy new sweaters for the next winter.

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  27. Amazingly enough as great a designer and sewist, I'm a lousy laundress...the two aren't necessarily in the same person..more than just a few times has the underwear come out a strange pink or blue or even some other strange pastel that I've never ever seen before. I've just gotten to the point that all my dark silks are in one sink or tub and that's it - nothing else. There's a gremlin in my machine that's very creative!

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  28. Rit Dye color remover on the towels first, then Dreft, which is the American equivalent of Napisan. That may do the trick, depending on the towels' fiber content and the length of time they spent in the dryer. I can understand why you tried this - doing laundry in NYC is the biggest PITA I've ever seen. People there will do anything to get an apartment with a washer or dryer. To everyone who has shared a hubby-based laundry disaster - hubbies and laundry equipment DO NOT MIX. Mine was firmly ejected from the premises after flooding the laundry room several times and destroying the transmission in the washer by manually turning the timer to get a second rinse while the machine was running. I found it much easier to just do the damn laundry myself, and he's good about other things. :)

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  29. This is why I handwash all my silks in a 5 gallon bucket, one at a time. If it stains, it is only $3 for a new bucket!

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  30. Done that more than once, although it was not raw silk that was the culprit. And not always my doing the laundry. You are lucky that it's white towels and such. Rit Dye remover works a treat for fixing up whites. I've also used it on light colors with mixed results. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it turned the garment into a strange tanish color.

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  31. Also, there's a products that hand fabric dyers use to either keep the dye in the fabric (Retayne?) or to remove the excess dye (Synthropol?) without taking the color out like color removers. Rit also makes Color Catcher sheets that you throw in the wash that help with the color transfer problem. One of those might be in order if you wash the silk again.

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  32. Is journalist Sarah related to famous journalist Kate Adie??

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  33. I can understand wanting to save effort by tossing the fabric in with another load, I do that myself all the time. What I don't understand is why you thought it was a good idea to toss the dark toned silk in with the white/beige load! Isn't that like inviting disaster?

    My worst laundry adventure also involved fabric. A beautiful over dyed fuchsia denim. I actually made several mistakes with that one. I cut and sewed it before washing it, then washed it post garment. Thankfully, I washed darks with darks, but there are still a couple of old ratty jeans in the house that are sporting pink pockets. The fuchsia jumper I loved going in the laundry came out 4 inches shorter than it went in and was the ugliest muddy pink color. It hung in the closet forever before I finally shredded it for rags.

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    1. Maybe subconsciously I was trying to create something to blog about? ;)

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