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silk fabric smell

Sarah's picture

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Does anyone have suggestions for lessening the "silk" smell in 100% silk fabric and garments? I have an outfit that smells so strongly that i can't stand to wear it--any help would be greatly appreciated!!

DEBORAH_LESLEY's picture

(post #27796, reply #1 of 21)

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Have you tried either washing or dry cleaning the garment? Many times this will help. Debbie

fiyo's picture

(post #27796, reply #2 of 21)

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Usually these garments are made from the beginnings or ends of the silkworm's spinnings, which means it tends to have little pieces of the chrysalis, etc., in it (noil is one type of this silk); whether or not this contributes to the odor, I'm not sure, but it seems to happen more often with this type of silk. I have found that the less expensive garments have a strong, fishy odor; the better garments are probably treated with something. I hand-dye silk, and only order from "non-smelly" suppliers (Thai Silks and Rupert Gibbon & Spider are two). I have found that nothing gets this smell out once it's in, especially in a purchased garment, though sometimes rinsing with vinegar helps. I have a sweater that I finally had give up on. Good luck and sorry for the not-so-great news :( Patty

Sarah_Kayla's picture

(post #27796, reply #3 of 21)

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I find that different silks have different smells. Noil always has that earthy smell. The metallic organzas have a different smell as do shantungs. I actually like it. Actually the Indian fabrics tend to have a distinct odor - they smell like coriander.

Once I had to coffee dye some lace for a quilt and i was in a great mood the whole time I worked on it.

I guess folks just have different reactiopns to different aromas. I like that dirt-noil smell.

fiyo's picture

(post #27796, reply #4 of 21)

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Hey, Sarah! I like that dirt-noil smell, too - smells kind of like my parrot (really). And I loved your coffee dying story! But calling the, uh, scent I'm talking about "fishy" is an understatement (and I like the way raw, FRESH, fish smells). This odor is really nasty, and I've smelled it mostly in purchased knit silk clothing. Speaking of those metallic organzas, I noticed that the smell of some of my yardage was getting stronger, plus the fabric had a different cast to it. My daughter figured it out: rust! Amazing. I knew we had high humidity here in New Orleans, but really! lol

Elona's picture

(post #27796, reply #5 of 21)

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Sarah, there was an article in Threads about this
quite a while ago. The smell is probably serecin,
the "glue" that holds silk cocoons together. The
more highly-processed the silk is--like crepe de
chine--the more glue is removed. The less it is
processed--like silk noil--the more serecin
remains. The article said that, unfortunately,
there was little the home sewist could do,
although vigorous washing techniques might be

Elona's picture

(post #27796, reply #6 of 21)

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Sarah, the last word in that message was "tried."
Something about this message posting system at
Threads has been cutting off the last word or tw

Ki_m's picture

(post #27796, reply #7 of 21)

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Try using Fabreeze! I work with a lot of older, vintage fabrics and it really works and smells fabulous!

Gail's picture

(post #27796, reply #8 of 21)

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I recently made a blouse of silk dupioni that has its own smell--I know you may think I'm crazy, but it actually reminds me of small children's hair when it's slightly sweaty! And since this is one of the most endearing things about little kids, I don't mind it.

cherylc_'s picture

(post #27796, reply #9 of 21)

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This may be an urban myth, but I've heard that Febreze can be toxic, even fatal to pets, if sprayed on their bedding, etc. (I think it theoretically caused liver damage.) If this is true, it can't be all that good for humans either! If anyone knows of a reputable source supporting or debunking this rumor, I'd love to hear about it. I won't be using Febreze until I know more about how it works and the risks.

Nancy_in_NM's picture

(post #27796, reply #10 of 21)

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I've heard this too. However, I later heard this was not the case. The Febreze Web site has a whole section regarding the rumor and their response. The site is www.febreze.com. It also has links to the ASPCA which has issued a statement concerning this product and other sources of information. Lest you think I'm a flack for them, I'm not and I've never even used this product. Just trying to slow the rumor mill down some.

Bill_Stewart's picture

(post #27796, reply #11 of 21)

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Sarah, the problem you describe is the natural sizing in the silk, serecin. You find the odor is stronger the less processed the silk is. The only way to get rid of it is to repeatedly have it washed or drycleaned until it is muted to an acceptable "aroma" or gone. The off-set to doing this is the loss of crispness or body in the fabric, and then you have to augment it by having it "sized" by a drycleaner or if you are washing it yourself you make up diluted starch and use it to put the body back. The downside is that it must be resized with each cleaning or washing. I have made raw silk suits and have this recur when the get wet even years later. It just goes with the territory. The only way to avoid it is to stay with the processed silks. The Chinese origin silks seem to have much less order than Thai or Indian silks. BS

Bill_Stewart's picture

(post #27796, reply #12 of 21)

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Sarah, the problem you describe is the natural sizing in the silk, serecin. You find the odor is stronger the less processed the silk is. The only way to get rid of it is to repeatedly have it washed or drycleaned until it is muted to an acceptable "aroma" or gone. The off-set to doing this is the loss of crispness or body in the fabric, and then you have to augment it by having it "sized" by a drycleaner or if you are washing it yourself, you make up diluted starch and use it to put the body back. The downside is that it must be resized with each cleaning or washing. I have made raw silk suits and have this recur when the get wet, even years later. It just goes with the territory. The only way to avoid it is to stay with the processed silks. The Chinese origin silks seem to have much less ordor than Thai or Indian silks. BS

TJ's picture

(post #27796, reply #13 of 21)

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Elona: Just a thought -- have you tried pressing the "return" key a couple of times at the end of your message? Maybe it [the software] needs that to know you are done with your paragraph. ??? Good luck!

Elona_Masson's picture

(post #27796, reply #14 of 21)

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Thanks, TJ. I will give it a try. I use Explorer
a lot and the webmaster here told me that folks
using Explorer to get to this site seem to have
this trouble most often.

Elona_Masson's picture

(post #27796, reply #15 of 21)

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Hey, it looks as though it works!

Kelley_Dean-Crolwey's picture

(post #27796, reply #16 of 21)

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This may sound wierd but....

In some countries they do not wash clothes, but simply burn incense near them....It might be worth trying in your favorite incense scent for the noiles

I have to say that I do not mind the smell as it helps me shop for silk! I can walk into a store and smell the silk. I do find that the smell softens in the noiles after washing....I tend to handwash my silks....the silk thread is
stronger than a similar steel thread, therefore pretty strong and durable, and I find that handwashing makes the silk character better to me. I also hate taking things to the cleaners as I find that they don't do a great job as a rule.

elaine_phillips's picture

(post #27796, reply #17 of 21)

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I recently bought an Ann Taylor knit silk/lycra sweater that had that "fishy" odor. I didn't notice it in the store or the first time I wore it, but the second time I thought I had been pelted with cod liver oil pills by angry Norwegians. I sent it out to be dry cleaned so I'll see what happens. But this thread has been helpful; the next time I go clothes or fabric shopping, I will sniff the silk.

Pattiann42's picture

Febreze and Pets (post #27796, reply #19 of 21)

It is a myth.  I've been using it for years and it has not had any negative effect on my dogs or family.  

Febreze for the laundry removes odors.  If the silk is washable, I would at least try a swatch to see the results before subjecting the entire yardage to a bath.

Third world countries do many things I would not do, or recommend anyone else do.

robinhartel's picture

clothing (post #27796, reply #18 of 21)

Silk clothes are very smooth in touch and look ver attracting. There are different types of silk cliothings avaible in the market. You can know about the benefits of using the original clothes at https://citronclothing.com/.

You can meke your own personal styles when it comes to clothing. You can wear latest trends clothes with beutiful designs and patterns. Every individual have theor taste of choice. Fashion trends keep on changing with time. 

You should cater your style to your body, environment and your own personal tastes. Like the clothes that you put on your body and how they make you look and you will find that wearing those pieces will give you a more positive and confident attitude when you go out into the world.

ananyawadhwa's picture

Hello, One of the reasons (post #27796, reply #20 of 21)

Hello,

One of the reasons for such strong smell would be silkworms or the way it must have been woven. So, you should go for dry cleaning or washing it with mild detergent to avoid that strong smell. 

Thanks

 

silkfabric1999's picture

silk fabric smell (post #27796, reply #21 of 21)

 silk fabric dry cleaning is recommended. can be washed, but the need to use a neutral soap and synthetic detergent or soap flakes, first with hot water to melt the soap to be cooled after dipping into all the clothes, then gently scrub, washed with water drift net.when cleaning, if they can add a little vinegar in the water, silk clothing color guangyan bright.