Q: With all of the snowstorms this year, we’ve been getting a lot of garments with salt stains. What’s the best way to remove them?
A: Rock salt (sodium chloride) and calcium chloride are both used to melt ice and snow. While it’s fairly easy to remove these salts when they’re fresh, they may damage dyes and disintegrate fabrics, especially silk and wool, when left in garments for a period of time.
Because salt is soluble in water, launder or wetclean salt-stained garments whenever possible. Treat the stain with a neutral detergent or lubricant prior to processing.
For garments that need to be drycleaned, it’s best to prespot the garment. The following procedure should be used on the board:
1. Apply a light mist of water to the salt-stained area.
2. Flush the stain with steam until the salt dissolves.
3. Feather the area with the air gun.
4. If the stain remains, apply a neutral lubricant.
5. Tamp the stain.
6. Flush the area with steam.
7. Feather it with the air gun.
8. Apply a leveling agent on water-sensitive fabrics and air-dry as needed.
9. Dryclean the garment.
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