The Century Cook Book circa 1894
The idea of washing silk dresses, and other articles of wearing apparel or furniture made of silk, will be novel to most of our readers.
For a dress to be washed, the seams of a skirt do not require to be ripped apart, though it must be removed from the band at the waist, and the lining taken from the bottom.
Trimmings or drapings, where there are deep folds, the bottom of which is very difficult to reach, should be undone so as to remain flat.
A black silk dress, without being previously washed, may be refreshed by being soaked during twenty-four hours in soft, clear water; clearness in water being indispensable. If dirty the black dress may be previously washed.
When very old and rusty, a pint of gin or whisky (sic) should be mixed with each gallon of water. This addition is an improvement under any circumstances, whether the silk be previously washed or not. After soaking, the dress should be hung up to drain dry without being wrung.
The mode of washing silk is this: The article should be laid upon a clean smooth table. A flannel should be well soaped, just made wet with lukewarm water, and the surface of the silk rubbed one way with it, care taken that this rubbing is quite even.
When dirt has disappeared, the soap must be washed off with a sponge and plenty of cold water, of which the sponge must be made to imbibe as much as possible. As soon as one side is finished, the other must be washed precisely in the same manner.
Let it be understood that not more of either surface must be done at a time than can be spread perfectly flat upon the table, and the hand can conveniently reach; likewise the soap must be quite sponged off one portion before the soaped flannel is applied to another portion.
Silks when washed should always be dried in the shade, on a linen horse, and alone.
If black or dark blue, they will be improved if, when dry, they are placed on a table and well sponged with gin or whisky , and again dried. Either of these spirits alone will remove, without washing, the dirt and grease from a black necktie or handkerchief of the same color, which will be so renovated by the application as to appear almost new.