December 2, 2014 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Nylon jacket stained by mysterious paint/solvent. Can it be cleaned?

My lady friend was out walking and brushed her jacket sleeve against a utility pole covered in some kind of wet and evil-smelling substance, probably a combination of green paint and solvent. Despite attempts to wipe it off, it dried like this. Is it possible to clean this garment? It's an old MA-1 nylon bomber jacket.
posted by theodolite to Grab Bag (1 answer total)
Nylon is tough as many of the solvents you need to dissolve random paints and oils will also dissolve the nylon.

What is safe to use on nylon: hydrocarbons, acetone, some drycleaning fluids (perc, dcm/methylene chloride). Detergents and citrus based cleaners are also safe.

What you want to avoid: alcohols ("mineral spirits"), varsols/paint thinner, vinegar/acetic acid (as well as most other acids). All of those can damage the fabric.

I'd start with something like goo-gone, or one of the other heptane-based cleaners. A dilute solution of acetone/nail polish remover may also be effective.

Dry cleaning may work, but check first that nylon is compatible with the cleaner's process. Most services are, but it doesn't hurt to ask first.
posted by bonehead at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

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