Removing hard water build up on silk?

dandridgeOctober 12, 2010


Does anyone have any ideas on how I can remove hard water build up on my silk thermal underwear? We have a water softener installed now, but my silk is still "crunchy" to the touch. if I line dry, or dry on cool/low in the dryer, the result is pretty much the same.

I got brave (or maybe foolish, I don't know) and I soaked my silk thermal top in vinegar hoping it would help, it didn't seem to have any effect.

Any input would be appreciated so much. Thanks!!

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I doubt that hard water is the cause of the crunchiness.

I have hand-washed silk items in naturally very soft water (not softened), and almost every single item emerges not soft any more. It is not a hard water deposit, nor detergent deposit because I thoroughly rinsed. I believe the silk fibers, like wool, are changed by the water/detergent/agitation. I believe it is permanent, irreversible change. I've never found a way to restore the original soft texture of the silk. I always hate that first time washing for that reason, but the only way to maintain the soft texture is by dry cleaning only.

What does the care label of the garment say?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 11:24AM
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Thank you for your input. I know what you mean about washing silk for the first time, it definitely does change it some, but I never had a problem before we moved to a hard water area? (17 grains)

Thats when I noticed them getting crunchy, and having a whitish residue on them. we moved again to an area with 14 grains hardness, and installed a water softener.

They are from Wintersilks, and the label says "hand or machine wash cold separately, mild soap, dry flat"
so normally I use woolite, wash warm (because our cold water can be nearly freezing) and line dry. I did just order some STPP, hoping that might help with the softness.

Thanks again for the reply!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 12:31PM
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You might try adding vinegar to the rinse.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Thank you for the suggestion, Kris. I've used vinegar in the rinse with towels before and did notice more softeness, just hadn't tried it in the rinse with the silk.

I did an experiment earlier and used 2 tablespoons of lemi-shine and 1 quart of warm water, then put the silk thermal bottoms in and let them soak for about 45 minutes. I rinsed them, and I kept getting tons of bubbles in the sink while I was rinsing, which was odd because I had rinsed them after I had washed them to make sure all the soap was removed, and I didn't get any bubbles then.

I let them line dry and now they are about 75% softer than they were. They are however sort of bleached looking still, they were black before the hard water and then turned sort of gray. so I guess I will repeat this, maybe use vinegar again but let them soak in it for quite a while, instead of just a few minutes. that or go buy a few more bottles of lemi-shine LOL.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 11:15PM
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