To Remove Paint from Clothes.

The Scientific American 31, 19.4.1851

Many persons by misfortune get paint on their clothes, and from the want of proper knowledge to remove it, their clothes are spoiled for all decent purposes. This is a great loss especially when fine clothes are spotted or daubed with paint. Many fine and excellent coats have, to our knowledge, been laid aside for common purposes, because of a few spots of paint. Paint can be very easily removed from woolen clothes, although it may be quite hardened. The way to do this is to pour some alcohol on the cloth, saturating the paint, and after it has remained on it for about ten minutes, pour on a little more, and then rub the cloth with the paint spots between the fingers. This cracks up and breaks the paint from the surface, after which a piece of clean sponge dipped in the alcohol, should be rubbed on the cloth, with the grain. Paint can be taken out of silk in the same way, only it is best to steep the part of the silk with the paint on it, in a cup containing the alcohol; and it will not do to rub the silk between the fingers, for fear of breaking and creasing its surface. This is true, as it respects lute string or any hard surfaced silk, but figured soft silk, may be gently rubbed. The way to treat the painted silk, is this, after it has been steeped for about 15 minutes, then it should be spread out on a board, and rubbed along the grain with the selvage, by a sponge dipped in the alcohol. This seldom fails to remove all paint. Some use camphene for removing paint, but alcohol is more cleanly. Black paint on a white surface, or even on any delicately colored surface, always leaves a stain, although the paint, itself, strictly speaking, may be removed. It is much easier to clean a white surface, than one of a light color, like French grey, lilac, pink, &c. For cleaning light colored cloths from paint, use only a clean sponge, or if a sponge is not handy, use a piece of clean white flannel.

All the ethers are very effective, in removing paint, also grease spots, but fish oil always leaves a stain, and is exceedingly difficult to remove. There are some who use colored oils for the hair, these always make a bad stain, especially those of a red color. The reason of this is that madder is used to color them, and this is a very permanent dye drug. The best substance for removing paint, grease, &c., from all kinds of clothes, those of the darkest and lightest colors, is that beautiful ether discovered by Prof. Simpson, in Scotland, a few years ago, and by Mr. Guthrie, of America, a few years before, unknown to the Doctor, — we mean chloroform. It is employed in the same manner as the alcohol, only care must be taken to work it more rapidly, as it is more volatile, and care must also be exercised so as not to inhale it. No one should use it but careful persons of mature years it is of too high a price to be used in general, and young people, in no case, should be allowed to tamper with it.

After what has been said about the removal of paint and grease, no person need be much frightened at a paint stain on a fine cloth coat, but, at best, let us be candid and say, that upon silk it is not possible to remove the paint and leave the silk as it was before being injured. Prevention, in all cases, is better than cure, but misfortunes will take place and seldom come singly, therefore the above will be found useful and of great benefit to many.

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