Cynthia St. Charles Store

Monday, December 1, 2014

Antique Kimono Silk - removing mothball and mold smells!

A friend in my art quilt group, WAV  (visit our blog here) brought a big pile of antique kimonos to our October WAV meeting.  She suggested we could each take pieces of them home and I focused on the dark ones with subtle woven patterns.  As I was taking the kimonos apart in order to salvage every bit of useable fabric, I was envisioning creating fused collages from them. 

When I got my pieces home, and began to iron them, I found the odors of mold and mothballs overwhelmed me!  I could not work with the fabric the way it was, so I decided that even though all this fabric is silk, I would wash the fabric, hoping the odors would vanish in the wash.   I washed in warm water, delicate cycle and used what I always use when washing silk - Orvis paste.  I washed twice hoping the odors would disappear.

Not so!  In fact, the washing seemed to intensify the odors!  Oh my!  The whole house smelled like mothballs and mold - even my husband was bothered by the smell.  I researched how to remove the odor and back into the washer all the silk went.  I soaked it for 24 hours in white vinegar/ water solution.  Then, I spun it out and found it still reeked! 

OK, so the next step, according to my research - hang it outdoors until the smell disappears.  Here are the silk panels on the clothesline, where they hung for a month.  These were my "Halloween decorations".  My grandson and hubby thought it looked very "witchy" or "ghostly". 

I did finally get the smell out


Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

Wow... they must have been in storage for a very long time. Curious about Orvis paste - is it to restore the hand of the silk?

Cynthia St Charles said...

Judy, back when I was reading Dyerslist, an online group, Orvis paste was recommended for washing out silk during the dye process. It is an animal washing product (for horses) found at farm supply stores.
It is gentle on protein fibers but still cleans them.

Louisa said...

I use Orvus for all my woollens and silks. Glad you finally got that smell out! I hate mothballs. I once had a commission to dye pounds of wool that had been stored with them and I just about "died" instead of "dyed". Ugh.

Marybeth said...

Cynthia... thanks for the heads up about the smell. I have not taken my pieces out of the bag yet. I shall be doing that today!! I don't have a clothes line but might just lay them on the snow if the sun stays out and the winds don't blow.