The big day arrives for your luncheon meeting, and you get into your best suit, dress shirt, and favorite silk tie. During the meet, the feared inevitable happens. A spot of gravy hits that beautiful tie.

This is indeed a catastrophe for two reasons:

(1) Silk ties are expensive, and

(2) it is a really hard to clean fabric.

Chances are that sooner or later you will have a stain on one of your favorite silk ties. With the few tips below, chances are that you will be able to remove even the toughest stains without damaging the delicate silk fabric of the tie.

Most people’s first reaction would be to use water and wash out the stain on the tie. Keep in mind though that water in itself can leave a stain in form of a ring that is near impossible to get out once dried. Soda water works well on other fabrics, but it is a silk tie’s worst enemy. Dry cleaning also isn’t such a good idea, as most dry cleaners use chemicals that will damage the delicate silk yarns.

In addition dry cleaners often times try to press the ties, which will further damage the fabric and tie tie’s lining. For this reason, dry-cleaning should be your last option. Choose a cleaner that you know or that has been recommended to you. Ask how they are going to remove the stain. In addition, leave specific instructions not to press the tie.

Best practice for removing stains on silk neckties is spot cleaning them as necessary, and if they get wrinkled during travel, ironing them with a low heat steam iron. Never have the iron touch the silk directly. Instead place the tie between two white pieces of cotton and gently run the iron over the wrapped tie. To prevent wrinkles during travel, roll the ties up starting at the narrow end with the “good side” on the outside.

Back to that gravy stain on your silk tie: Place a loose fold in your tie right at the stain so the spot is where the fold is. Take a dry napkin, and with a loose pinch lift the glob off as straight as possible. Repeat this with a clean area of the same napkin, taking care not to rub the stain in. The best way to avoid stains in first place is by the right preparation. Try to always keep a couple of wet naps handy in your inside suit pocket. They have alcohol in them, and it is the best thing for cleaning a silk tie. With a dabbing motion, saturate the stain but don’t rub. That’ll grind the soil deeper. After the alcohol has had a chance to get to the stain, dab dry and blow slightly to cause faster evaporation. This will aid in not leaving a ring. When you return home, you can get regular isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, and paper towels to repeat the procedure if necessary.

If you are in a slightly less formal environment, it is acceptable to tug your tie inside your dress shirt. To do this, open one of your shirt’s buttons. The tie will lie underneath your shirt, and chances of having your necktie dangling in your soup are almost none. For formal business meetings this is unacceptable unless your superiors are doing the same.

write by Elmer