How can I get a stain out of a silk taffeta dress?

Updated February 21, 2017

The exemplary fabric of wedding dresses and other formal affair, silk taffeta is very delicate and easily stained. Perfumes, deodorant, make-up and hairspray threaten the fabric with permanent damage. Once set, it's very difficult to remove. That's why it's critical to clean the stain as soon as possible. Even a day's delay is too long to let a stain remain on a taffeta dress.

Take the taffeta dress to a dry cleaner's immediately after discovering the stain. Do not hand wash. Hand washing can permanently damage the silk by changing its look and feel.

Tell the dry cleaner about the stain and what the stain is, such as make-up, coffee, or another substance. Knowing the nature of the stain makes it easier to clean.

Inform the dry cleaner that the dress is silk. Not doing so may result in the dry cleaner placing the taffeta in with other materials like cotton that can damage your fabric.

Consider paying extra to have the dress cleaned at once if you are in a hurry or left the dress awhile before taking it to the dry cleaners. If a dry cleaner isn't available, follow the instructions in Section 2 to remove the stain yourself.

Moisten a towelette and dab the stain gently immediately upon discovering the stain.

Bathe the stain in warm water so long as the instructions on the dress's label permits hand washing.

Use a portable steamer to clean the stain out. Hold the steamer about 6 inches away or more for a few minutes. Dab the stain with a cloth.


Silk taffeta can discolour without being stained. Leaving it in sunlight will dull or blanch the fabric. Store the dress in a dark closet for best preservation.


Do not rub the stain. Rubbing damages the fibres of the fabric. Over-steaming the taffeta may leave iron or watermarks, which are expensive to get out.

Things You'll Need

  • Towelette
  • Portable steam cleaner
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About the Author

Matt Scheer began writing professionally in 2005. His work has appeared in "The Daily Texan" and "The New York Tribune." Scheer holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in history, both from the University of Texas. He is also a certified Yoga teacher and Web designer.