I have a dark red silk tie that has a hand lotion stain on it. Can you suggest a product or other methods of removing the stain? I have not done anything so far, because I didn’t want to make the spot any worst than it is already. Your help would be much appreciated.
Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.
Here we are, smack in the middle of wedding season, which makes this an excellent time to talk about your ties, and any stains that may have come to befoul them, including hand lotion. That’s an odd one, I’ll admit. Though as I’ve sat here considering how it came to pass that you got hand lotion on your tie, it seems less odd. I’m picturing an errant splat caused by exuberant pumping, which is a sentence I just wrote completely seriously before reading back to myself and collapsing into a fit of giggles, because I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-oldHublot Replica Watches
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It’s OK if you’ve done the same; I understand you completely.
When you’ve collected yourself, come on back but don’t make eye contact because I’ll just start giggling all over again and we’ll never get to the important work of sorting out what to do when you stain your ties.
First Things First: What Is Your Tie Made Of?
Ties are tricky, when it comes to stain removal, because they’re often, but not always, made of silk. Silk is a temperamental fabric; we tolerate it because it’s beautiful, which is true of a great many things in life.
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If your tie is made of silk, you will have fewer stain removal options than if it’s made of linen, cotton, wool blends, or a synthetic like polyester. That means that it’s important to know what your tie is made of before you get into dealing with any staining. There are a lot of excellent stain treatments, like Carbona Stain Devils, that cannot be safely used on silk but that are well worth remembering if you’ve spilled, say, mustard or coffee on a cotton or polyester tie. However, popular on-the-go stain removers like Tide to Go and Shout Wipes are both safe to use on silk, and are great choices for dealing with stained ties.
When it comes to your silk ties, there is, of course, always the dry cleaner. Bear in mind that if you send your ties out, you should point out the stain and, if you know what caused it, share that information with the dry cleaner. For at-home treatment, there’s a product called WinterSilks Spot Out that does pretty much exactly what you’d imagine based on its name. Another really good option for dealing with stains on the fly are the Silk & Clean wipes. They’re individually wrapped, like those towelettes you get at BBQ joints, so you can stash one in a wallet or pocket, or toss a few into a desk drawer for easy access.
What To Do When You Spill Food or Drink on Your Tie
When a spill happens, we’re not always in a place where we can immediately treat the stain, but there are a few things you can do straight away to mitigate the problem.
If you’ve dropped a blob of food, or a viscous condiment like ketchup or mustard, on your tie, start by scraping it off using a spoon or butter knife. If you’ve spilled a colored drink like cola, coffee, tea, wine, etc. the first thing to do is to absorb as much of it as you can using a dry napkin or paper towel.
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Next, dip a cloth napkin, sponge or dishrag in water or club soda—paper napkins or towels are fine if they’re all you’ve got on hand, but they’re less than ideal because they have a tendency to disintegrate when they get wet, and then you’ll end up with a pulpy tie—and dab gently at the stain. Don’t scrub at the stain, which will just grind it further into the fabric, and be sure to wring your cloth out so that it’s not sopping, as too much water can cause the stain to flood and spread. Are you near a hand or hair dryer? Wonderful. Use that to dry the wet spot.
Now then, it may very well be the case that the scraping and dabbing and drying was all that was needed to remove that stain. Great! But if it wasn’t, when you get home you should treat the stain as soon as you can using that WinterSilks stuff or, if the tie is made of a less fussy fabric, a more general-purpose stain remover.
Dealing with Stubborn or Tricky Stains on Ties
There are a few particularly stubborn stains that are common to ties that require special treatment. If you get one of these, here’s what you need to know.
Oil and Grease — When it happens, blot up as much of the grease as possible using a paper or cloth napkin. When you’re back at home, lay the tie flat in a place where it can sit, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours and put a little pile of cornstarch or talcum powder on the stain. Once you’ve let the cornstarch or talc do its thing, brush the powder away and check that the stain is gone, repeating if necessary.
Red Wine — Weird but true: Table salt is the thing to use on a fresh red wine stain. It serves as a desiccant, absorbing a goodly amount of the wine. Of course, in order to do this you’ll need to take the tie off, lay it flat, and pour a little hill of salt onto the red wine spill—don’t go grinding salt into your tie, please! Small splatters will probably come out entirely using that method, but larger stains are likely to need a little extra help from a product like Wine Away or that WinterSilks stuff we already talked about.
Ink — Ink is weird in that it’s one of the few stain types that isn’t best treated right away. The problem with trying to remove a fresh ink stain is that if you introduce any kind of liquid, the stain will spread out and get much worse. Once the ink has dried, dab the stain with rubbing alcohol applied to a cotton ball, sponge or rag, repeating as needed until it’s entirely gone.