How to Avoid Watermarks on Fabric

watermarkonfabric

Karin asked: How do I remove stains without leaving watermarks on a prom dress? We bought a used prom dress. This dress is aqua tulle with aqua lining. The store said the dress was dry cleaned. However, because of all the beads, they missed the bottom of the dress (lining) which is a little muddy/water stained. The lady at the second hand store said to use Woolite and water with a toothbrush to try to get the stain out. We tested an area and removed much of the stain, but now we have a watermark. How do we tackle the stain without leaving a watermark?

What Causes Watermarks?

Watermarks develop when the water is left on the fabric too long before drying. The best way to keep these from occurring is to speed up the drying time before they have time to develop. Here are some tips for cleaning fabrics so that watermarks leave with the dirt.

Cleaning Tips and Ideas

  • Use minimal amounts of water while cleaning.
  • Rinse the item thoroughly to ensure all of the soap is removed as this can leave marks as well.
  • When the cleaning is finished, speed up the drying process with a fan or hairdryer set on a cool setting.
  • If watermarks are already in place, you can remove/lessen them by moistening the area again with a soft cloth. Blot at the area and work from the center out. As you blot, the mark should begin to blend in. Once it is blended, dry quickly with a fan or hairdryer.

Comments

  1. Jmedelman says:

    This dress is probably polyester. Make mild solution of detergent. Scrub the stains till removed. Rinse the entire dress in lukewarm water with several oz. of white vinegar added. Hang dress till almost dry, then tumble dry warm, till dry. A minor touch-up should complete the job.

  2. Htre says:

    Thanks for this article! It just saved a dress! I had a ballgown-type dress I had tried to clean a stain out of, and watermarks were left afterwards. I was considering rinsing the whole thing, but terrified of ruining it. I followed your instructions, and re-dampened the water marks, followed by using a hair dryer to dry them completely. None of the other things I read in books or online were any use! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  3. Suzy Q says:

    Wonderful article! Thank you so much!
    I was altering a prom dress for a friend’s daughter, and attempted to spot clean a small area on the dress…leaving behind a hideous watermark on the bodice! Yikes! Your tips worked like magic (used the blow dryer method); the dress is perfect… thanks to you! :)

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