Will calcium chloride crystals harm silk?

  • 2 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Paul Anderson

  • Guest
Will calcium chloride crystals harm silk?
« on: 27/07/2008 20:40:52 »
Paul Anderson  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi Chris and team,

Will calcium chloride damage a silk dress?

I came home last night after work to find that a container of moisture absorbing calcium chloride crystals had been knocked off a shelf in a wardrobe and the liquid had spilt over my wife's silk dress.

She had put it by the fireside to dry. I said she should have immediately tried to gently wash it in water to dilute or remove as much of the chemical as possible in case it damaged the dress, either the material or the dye.

Could you also comment on how the crystals work in absorbing moisture?

What do you think?


Offline Evie

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 200
  • "Back off man...I'm a Scientist."
    • View Profile
    • My Website
Will calcium chloride crystals harm silk?
« Reply #1 on: 07/08/2008 22:35:31 »
Calcium Chloride has a property known as deliquescence, meaning it has an unusually high affinity for water and will absorb it out of the atmsophere, forming a liquid solution.

As for the silk dress, did it leave a stain? Basic silk care says that you should never wet a stain on silk, since it may set. Calcium Chloride is fairly harmless, though, so should not damage the fibers themselves. If there is no stain and the dress is hand-washable (as opposed to dry clean only), then you should be able to launder it normally. It is best to wash it in cold water, since CaCl2 produces heat when in contact with water. Silk should be hadwashed with a mild soap, since detergents could damage it more than the chemical! If there is a stain, best to take it to a dry cleaners and tell them what you spilled on it.

FYI: Did you know that CaCl2 is sometimes used as a thinner in fabric softeners?
« Last Edit: 29/12/2015 04:56:51 by chiralSPO »
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Act I, scene 5


Offline rodneyjohnsonusa

  • First timers
  • *
  • 1
    • View Profile
Re: Will calcium chloride crystals harm silk?
« Reply #2 on: 24/12/2015 05:15:08 »
Silks are fibrous proteins with remarkable mechanical properties produced in fiber form by silkworms and spiders. Silk fibers in the form of sutures have been used for centuries. Recently regenerated silk solutions have been used to form a variety of biomaterials, such as gels, sponges and films, for medical applications. Silks can be chemically modified through amino acid side chains to alter surface properties or to immobilize cellular growth factors.

The degradability of silk biomaterials can be related to the mode of processing and the corresponding content of beta sheet crystallinity. Several primary cells and cell lines have been successfully grown on different silk biomaterials to demonstrate a range of biological outcomes.