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Old January 16th, 2019, 05:43 PM   #1
Steve Pendleton
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Default Washing silk rugs?

I found a small, handmade Chinese silk-on-silk mat in a thrift shop. It's decorative piece in good condition. Chrome dyes, ?1990s?. I've washed many handmade wool rugs. Can I safely wash a silk piece? Technique has been "dust with vibration; long soak in cool water plus Orvis; rinse ten times; de-water with a shop vac; drip dry on a rack with fan for air circulation." Paid $4 for it, doubt that it's valuable or collectable. I normally wash new finds, however, and this is first encounter with all-silk. Other than being especially gentle, what do I do differently?

Steve Pendleton
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Old January 17th, 2019, 08:15 PM   #2
Marvin Amstey
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That's basically how we do it in the shop where I work, except we don't use the shop-vac. We use a hand squeegee instead.
Are you sure that it is silk and not mercerized cotton or bamboo silk? In those cases the shop-vac is fine.
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Old January 17th, 2019, 08:30 PM   #3
Marvin Amstey
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PS: Don't use the beater bar when vacuuming.
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Old January 18th, 2019, 02:40 AM   #4
Steve Pendleton
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Default Thanks Marvin

Marvin, thanks. Per your suggestions, approach will be to dust by vibration, cold-water soak with Orvis, light agitation, rinse, no squeezing/compression, squeegee with a light touch, de-water with towels instead of shop-vac, air dry with fan circulation. Like washing a wool rug, but gentler mechanical steps.

It's silk. I burned foundation and pile threads. Both smelled like burned hair. Not cotton.

Again, thanks

Steve Pendleton

Last edited by Steve Pendleton; January 18th, 2019 at 05:42 AM.
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Old January 18th, 2019, 02:36 PM   #5
Marvin Amstey
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"Dewatering" is easier with a window squeegee on a rod that allows one to stand up instead of using towels on your hands and knees.
Have fun!
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Old January 18th, 2019, 05:31 PM   #6
Steve Pendleton
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Default Squeegee vs MechaGodzilla

For durable wool rugs, first squeegee, then shop vac. Consider trying the shop vac thing! It's a wee bit o' work, Laddie, but it will suck gallons out of a squeegeed rug quickly, reducing the risk of color run and the air-dry time. After good wash and rinse, you'd think the water would be clean--but No!--you'll also remove yet-more suspended dirt. Alternatively, commercial wet carpet cleaners typically have a suction feature to de-water vacuum-cleaner style a foot at a time. I haven't tried that, but it should be equivalent, and less work.

Again, thanks

--SRP

Last edited by Steve Pendleton; January 18th, 2019 at 05:49 PM.
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Old January 18th, 2019, 07:20 PM   #7
Marvin Amstey
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We've been using a shop vac on wool rugs for decades
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Old January 22nd, 2019, 04:56 AM   #8
Rich Larkin
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For a squeegee, I have had good luck with a length (ca. 10-12 inches) of hardwood flooring. Maple is the best, but I have used other woods. Go over the straight, sharp edge with a fine sandpaper. Plane it along the top of the (wet, soapy) pile in the direction of the pile, maintaining steady, controlled pressure. It pushes a lot of dirt-laden water out of the piece while avoiding the tendency of many squeegees to grab at and pull fibers.

I have never tried it on silk.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 07:02 PM   #9
Steve Pendleton
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Default Good result, memo of method

Good outcome! For reference, the method was a day-long, passive soak in cold water and Orvis, light-tough squeegee after rinse, air-dry on a rack open and supporting underneath. No issues. Increases the silky sheen, probably because the squeegee aligned the fibers. Thanks to all!

Steve
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