To remove oil stains, benzine is most effectual, not only for silk, but for any other material whatever. It can be procured from any druggist. By simply covering both sides of greased silk with magnesia, and allowing it to remain for a few hours, the oil is absorbed by the powder. Should the first application be insufficient, it may be repeated, and even rubbed in with the hand. Should the silk be Tussah or Indian silk, it will wash.
To remove an acid stain on violet silk: Brush the discoloration with tincture of iodine, then saturate the spot well with a solution of hyposulphite of soda, and dry gradually. This restores the original color perfectly.
Muriatic acid is successfully used for removing ink stains and iron mold on a number of colors which it does not attack.
Sulphurous acid is only employed for whitening undyed goods, straw hats, etc., and for removing the stains of certain fruits on silks and woolens. Sulphurous gas is also used for this purpose, but the liquid gas is safer.
Oxalic acid is used for removing ink and rust stains, and remnants of mud stains, which do not yield to other deterrents. It may also be used for destroying the stains of fruits and astringent juices, and old stains of urine. However, its use is limited to white goods, as it attacks fugitive colors and even light shades of those reputed to be fast. The best method of applying it is to dissolve it in cold or luke-warm water, to let it remain a moment upon the spot, and then rub it with the fingers. Wash out in clear, warm water immediately.
Citric acid serves to revive and brighten certain colors, especially greens and yellows. It restores scarlets which have been turned to a crimson by the action of alkalies. Acetic acid or tartaric acid may be used instead.
Where it is feared that soap may change the color of an article, as, for instance, scarlet hosiery or lilac print, if the garment be not badly soiled, it may be cleansed by washing without soap in water in which pared potatoes have been boiled. This method will also prevent color from running in washing prints.
To prevent blue from running into a white ground, dissolve a teaspoonful of copperas in a pailful of soft water, add a piece of lime the size of an acorn, and soak the garments in this water two hours before washing. To keep colors from running in washing black prints, put a teaspoon of black pepper in the first water.
Salt or beef's gall in the water helps to set black. A tablespoonful of spirits of turpentine to a gallon of water sets most blues, and alum is very efficacious in setting green. Black or very dark calicoes should be stiffened with gum arabic — five cents' worth is enough for a dress. If, however, starch is used, the garment should be turned wrong side out.
A simple way to remove grass stains is to spread butter on them, and lay the article in hot sunshine, or wash in alcohol. Fruit stains upon cloth or the hands may be removed by rubbing with the juice of ripe tomatoes. If applied immediately, powdered starch will also take fruit stains out of table linen. Left on the spot for a few hours, it absorbs every trace of the stain.
For mildew stains or iron rust, mix together soft soap, laundry starch, half as much salt, and the juice of a lemon. Apply to the spots and spread the garment on the grass. Or wet the linen, rub into it white soap, then finely powdered chalk; lay upon the grass and keep damp. Old mildew stains may be removed by rubbing yellow soap on both sides and afterwards laying on, very thick, starch which has been dampened. Rub in well and expose to light and air. There are several effectual methods of removing grease from cloths. First, wet with a linen cloth dipped in chloroform. Second, mix four tablespoonfuls of alcohol with one tablespoonful of salt; shake together until the salt is dissolved and apply with a sponge. Third, wet with weak ammonia water; then lay a thin white blotting or tissue paper over it and iron lightly with an iron not too hot. Fourth, apply a mixture of equal parts of alcohol, gin and ammonia.
Candle grease yields to a warm iron. Place a piece of blotting or other absorbing paper under the absorbing fabric; put a piece of the paper also on the spot, apply the warm iron to the paper and as soon as a spot of grease appears, move the paper and press again until the spot disappears. Lard will remove wagon grease. Rub the spot with the lard as if washing it, and when it is well out, wash in the ordinary way with soap and water until thoroughly cleansed.
To make linen beautifully white, prepare the water for washing by putting into every ten gallons a large handful of powdered borax or boil with the clothes one teaspoonful of spirits of turpentine.
Fruit stains may be taken out by boiling water. Place the material over a basin or other vessel and pour the boiling water from the kettle over the stains.
Pure water, cold or hot, mixed with acids, serves for rinsing goods in order to remove foreign and neutral bodies which cover the color. Steam softens fatty matters and thus facilitates their removal by reagents.
Sulphuric acid may be used in certain cases, particularly for brightening and raising greens, reds, yellows, etc., but it must be diluted with at least one hundred times its weight of water and more in cases of delicate shades.