How to Get Stains Out of a Silk Shirt (Complete Guide)

Once a stain has occurred on your silk shirt, act quickly to remove it and do not let it settle into the silk. Use a soft cotton cloth moist with water to dab the stain out of the silk. Continue by making a cleaning solution that is one part water mixed with either one part lemon juice or one part vinegar, and continue dabbing the stain. For grease and oil stains, use an absorbent powder such as baking soda, cornstarch, or talcum power. Apply the powder to the stain and place a heavy object, such as a book, on top of it overnight so that the powder can absorb as much of the stain as possible. 

This is: How to Get Stains Out of a Silk Shirt (Complete Guide)

how to get stains out of a silk shirt banner image with a picture of a man wearing a brown long sleeve silk shirt

This article will give you detailed instructions on how to get a variety of different stains out of your silk shirt


You may also be interested in learning how to properly wash and iron your silk shirt. Our step-by-step guides provide you with everything you need to know in order to care for and maintain your silk shirts. 

How to Get Stains Out of a Silk Shirt

Use the methods and instructions below to quickly and effectively get stains out of silk shirts.

Use these care guides to learn how to get stains out of other types of garments and fabrics.

Act Quickly

It is extremely important that you act quickly immediately after a stain has occurred on your silk shirt. The quicker you begin to treat the stain, the more likely it is that you will be able to remove it. Wet stains on silk are much easier to remove than dry stains, so act as quickly as possible!

Test for Colorfastness

To avoid accidentally removing the color from your shirt while attempting to clean the stain, you must first test the silk for colorfastness. Test for colorfastness by following the steps outlined below.

  1. Dampen a white cloth or towel with water.
  2. Blot/dab the cloth on an inconspicuous or hidden part of your silk shirt.
  3. If you see color transferring from the shirt to the wet towel, then you should refrain from attempting to remove the stain from the fabric.
  4. If your silk garment is in fact bleeding color then it would be best to take it to your local dry cleaner. If your garment does not bleed color, then continue with the at home stain removal methods. 

photo of a man using a damp white cloth to test a silk shirt for colorfastness

Dab the Stain

To begin the extraction, use a clean damp cloth to dab the stain.

Use an absorbent textile such as a paper towel or a cotton cloth to draw out and extract as much of the stain as possible. Dab or blot the cloth onto the stain, and be sure to avoid any rubbing motion.

Tip: Use cold water to dampen to cloth and dab the stain. Do not use hot water.

photo of a man dabbing a stain off of a silk shirt

Use a Water Based Cleaning Solution 

If you still cannot get the stain out, make a water based cleaning solution to strengthen your efforts. Follow these 4 simple steps to make a water based cleaning solution that is highly effective in getting stains out of silk shirts. 

  1. Mix one part of lukewarm water (no hotter than 25°C/77°F) with one part lemon juice or white vinegar.
  2. Dab the mixture on a soft white cloth and apply the solution to a small and inconspicuous spot on your shirt in order to make sure the solution doesn't have any negative effects.
  3. Once you are sure the mixture is safe, continue to apply it to the cloth and begin to dab the stain you wish to remove.
  4. Once you have thoroughly dabbed the stained area, proceed to hand wash the shirt to finish the job. 

photo of lemon juice being poured into a bowl of lukewarm water

How to Get Oil and Grease Stains out of a Silk Shirt

Removing oil and grease stains from a silk shirt can sound like an impossible task, but luckily, by using an absorbent powder such as baking soda or talcum powder we can give ourselves a pretty good chance of removing the stain completely.

Once you have removed the stain from your shirt, refer to our Men's Guide on How to Wear a Silk Shirt for inspiration and ideas for new outfits. 

Use an Absorbent Powder

If you happen to get an oil or grease stain on silk clothing you will likely need to apply an absorbent powder on top of it in order to remove it.

To remove oil and grease stains on silk you can apply talcum powder, baking soda, or cornstarch to the stained area and allow it to sit overnight. Talcum powder is the most effective, however all 3 options work well to remove oil and grease stains from silk shirts.

  1. Apply the Talcum Powder directly to the stained area.
  2. Completely cover the stain with Talcum Powder
  3. Cover the stain and powder with a clean, dry cloth.
  4. Place a heavy object, such as a book, on top of the cloth so that the Talcum Powder can absorb as much of the stain as possible.
  5. Let the talcum powder sit on the stain overnight and brush the powder off of the stain the next morning.
  6. If any oil remains you can try to repeat the process once more.
  7. Once the stain has been removed proceed to wash or dry clean your shirt as directed by the care label.
  8. If the stain remains, you may want to head over to your local dry cleaner to ask for assistance. 

photo of baking powder being applied to stained silk fabric

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of a Silk Shirt

Deodorant and sweat stains often end up on the armpits of silk shirts and blouses. Follow the steps below to get sweat stains out of silk shirts

  1. Mix 1 part lukewarm water with 1 part white vinegar or 1 part lemon juice.
  2. Fill a spray bottle with the cleaning solution from step 1.
  3. Spray the cleaning solution on to the sweat stains.
  4. Let the shirt sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Finish by hand washing or dry cleaning, as per the shirt's care label. 

photo of a man spraying cleaning solution on sweat stains on a silk shirt

How to Get Stains Out of Silk FAQ

How do I get a stain out of silk clothing?

Use a water based cleaning solution to gently dab the stain out of the silk clothing. Mix one part lukewarm water with one part white vinegar or one part lemon juice, and apply it to a soft cloth. Use the cloth to dab the stain. If this doesn't work, use an absorbent powder such as baking soda or talcum powder, and cover the stain and allow it to sit overnight. 

Does silk stain easily?

Silk is a delicate and absorbent fabric that takes stains as easily as other natural fibers. Natural fibers such as wool, cotton, linen, and silk, are more absorbent than synthetic fibers, which means they have the ability to take on stains.

How do you clean a 100% silk shirt?

Start by checking the shirt's care label to see if the shirt can be washed at home, or if it must be dry cleaned. To wash the shirt at home, fill a container with lukewarm water and add a few drops of silk laundry detergent. Submerge the shirt in the water and let it soak for 3 minutes.Use your hands to agitate and clean the shirt in the water. Rinse the shirt under cold water until the soap is completely removed, and then gently roll in an absorbent towel to remove excess water. Hang or flat dry in a cool place away from direct sunlight. 

Does stain remover work on silk?

Silk requires a water based cleaning solution such as water mixed with white vinegar or lemon juice in order to help remove stains. Store bought stain removers may not be appropriate for delicate fabrics such as silk. Never use bleach on silk. You may also apply an absorbent powder such as baking soda or talcum powder to the stain, and then leave it on the stain overnight so that it can extract it from the fabric.