Restoring Antique Silk Drapes in 4 Steps Restoring Antique Silk Drapes in 4 Steps

What You'll Need
1 cup baking soda
Hot water (not quite boiling, but certainly very hot to the touch)
1/4 cup peroxide

If you are planning to restore antique silk drapes, care must be taken because the fabric is delicate and the fibers can be harmed by chemicals like bleach or soap. Use natural, safe cleaners to remove any age-staining.

Step 1 – Run a Bath

Hand wash antique silk drapes to avoid tears and rips in the fabric and, because you’re going over them by hand, you can find any weak spots in the silk and possibly fix it if necessary.

Run a piping hot bath in your tub and add baking soda and peroxide to the water. Let the two ingredients mix thoroughly in the water. This mixture is completely harmless and safe to you and your silk drapes. 

Step 2 – Add Drapes, Mix

If any of the baking soda has not dissolved, use a large spoon or spatula to stir it. After it is thoroughly dissolved, place your silk drapes in the water.

Very gently run them back and forth through the water, taking care not to put too much stress on the fibers of the silk. This will first loosen any dirt on the surface of the drapes and also thoroughly saturate the fibers with your baking soda/water/peroxide mixture.

Step 3 – Soak Well

Allow the drapes to soak until the water temperature cools.

Step 4 – Rinse and Dry

Before removing the drapes, agitate them a little more to loosen any other dirt or grime. When no more dirt seems to be coming off the drapes unplug the tub and allow the water to drain. Keep your drapes at the back end of the tub, allowing some of the dirty water to drain from them.

Rinse out your drapes with the hottest water your hands can tolerate. Don’t wring the drapes out, but instead, rinse from end to end, running in one direction. This will keep the rest of the panels from being contaminated with dirt while you rinse off the grime.

Hang the drapes up to dry by folding them in half lengthwise three times—that is, fold them in half, then in half again, and then one more time. This helps distribute stress throughout the fibers. Hang up the fibers over your shower rod and turn on your bathroom fan.

When your drapes dry, they should be clean and revived in color. They should have no odor at all, because baking soda absorbs odors, and since the baking soda was rinsed away you should have perfectly restored drapes.

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