Silk requires special care to remove oil stains. Oil-based stains can result from foods such as salad dressings or gravy, or from products such as make-up or lotions. Both can ruin the beautiful look of your silk clothing. Treating oil stains on silk requires immediate cleaning to prevent damaging the fabric and to ease the removal of the stain. Silk cannot be scrubbed due to the delicate nature of the fabric. You have a number of options to remove oil stains from silk in your own home. Test all methods on inconspicuous areas of the fabric before treating the stain.
Place the soiled silk on a flat surface, such as an ironing board. Sprinkle talcum powder on the stain, and allow to sit untouched for at least 20 minutes. Use a soft brush to brush the powder off the silk fabric. Repeat if necessary.
Apply cornstarch to the oil stains on the silk as an alternative to talcum powder. The cornstarch will absorb the oil as it sits on the stain. Allow the cornstarch to remain on the fabric for at least 20 minutes, and brush off with a soft brush. Repeat until the stain is removed completely.
Lay the soiled silk material on an ironing board. Place a paper towel under the garment and another paper towel on top of the fabric. Set the iron to a light setting (or a silk setting). Place the iron gently on the paper towel on top of the silk. Lift up and check the status of the stain. Change paper towels frequently to prevent restaining the fabric.
Use a small amount of Dawn dish detergent on a washcloth with cool water. Work the detergent into a lather, and gently scrub the oil stain on the silk. Dawn has grease-cutting properties that will usually break down the grease to remove the stain. Don't scrub too hard, and make sure to rinse the detergent completely from the fabric.
Take your garment or silk material to the cleaners. Dry cleaners have a variety of techniques to help remove even the most stubborn stains from every kind of material.