Days Gone By - stories from the past

FiF: Fix it Friday – Coffee to clean silk? A Recipe from the past

This is a recipe from an vintage 1890s book. for cleaning black silk dresses. I haven’t tried this methods. If you attempt it, proceed with caution and not on a valuable piece of silk.

To Clean Black Dress Silks

One of the things “not generally known,” at least in this country, is the Parisian method of cleaning black silk; the modus operandi is very simple, and the result infinitely superior to that achieved in any other manner.

Black silk Dress

The silk must be thoroughly brushed and wiped with a cloth, then laid flat on a board or table, and well sponged with hot coffee, thoroughly freed from sediment by being strained through muslin. The silk is sponged on the side intended to show; it is allowed to become partially dry, and then ironed on the wrong side. The coffee removes every particle of grease, and restores the brilliancy of silk, without imparting to it either the shiny appearance or crackly and papery stiffness obtained by beer, or indeed, any other liquid. The silk really appears thickened by the process, and this good effect is permanent.

Discover many more household tips and recipes from the past in VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past.  Now in paperback, makes a great gift!

Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey


One comment

  1. I would not use coffee on silk. As a fiber artist, when silk is cleaned, it is recommended that you use a very gentle product as you would use with a baby’s hair and thoroughly but carefully rinse. Silk is protein based, as hair is. Coffee is acidic. On dark silk it may make the stain less noticeable, but there is a danger of ruining it in the long run. Coffee and tea are often used to age cotton etc for a vintage look or to soften bright whites, but one should never assume the piece to be durable.

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