One of the first questions that confronts the woman who is going to make a dress is how to cleanse the material. Many think that they must send everything of that nature to a cleaner, for they have not sufficient confidence in their own ability to cleanse it properly. Of course there are some colors as well as materials which is is much better to cleanse by the dry process, but in many cases the material can be washed at home and be made to look like new, which is all that a professional cleaner can do, and considerable expense is saved. As for the labor involved, it is really easier to wash the material than it is to pack it up and carry it down-town.
If it is an all-wool material, it may be thoroughly washed in the tub in lukewarm water in which has been placed a bag containing soap-bark. Ten cents’ worth of this bark may be purchased and put in a thin salt-bag and thrown into a pan of water on the stove. Let it boil until the water is very soapy, then empty into a tub and add cold water until it is the right temperature to be comfortable for the hands. Wash the goods thoroughly and rinse quickly in water of the same temperature, iron on the wrong side before the goods is entirely dry.
Some have had but meager success in cleansing spots with gasoline, for there was sure to be a rim which showed just how far the gasoline had spread, but when the whole garment, whether waist or skirt, was dipped, the result was entirely satisfactory. A blue foulard which received this treatment not long ago seemed at first sight to be almost hopeless. There were numerous spots of grease on the front breadth and the entire appearance showed that the dress had received hard usage. Two quarts of gasoline were purchased at the nearest garage and kept tightly covered. When the skirt was ripped apart and brushed the silk was put into the pail containing the gasoline, the cover put on and left for five minutes. If material is left in gasoline too long it will have a tendency to rot it. The work was done on the pack porch and a clean cloth was placed on a long table, then one gore at a time was taken out of the pail and the spots thoroughly rubbed with a piece of the goods. By this time the gasoline was evaporated from the gore and it was dipped again and rubbed on both sides of the silk. If it is not thoroughly cleaned with the first treatment, the process may be repeated until the spots are entirely removed.
In using gasoline it is always much pleasanter to do the work out-of-doors on a windy day, for the odor is so lasting that it requires several house in a good breeze to get it absolutely free, and it also avoids any danger from fire.