This chair is covered in a material you can find all over Istanbul called Suzani, which actually means "embroidery" in Uzbekistan where they come from. They can also be very pricey.
I've always really liked the fine silk pieces like this....
....and when I arrived home from Canada I saw that Bulent had bought me a red one not unlike the one on the chair up top.
It only had 2 problems:
1. It had some crazy hot pink and lime green on it. Not my first choice of colours, and...
2. It really stank like mildew. (He bought it off a guy who was trying to sell a few items for money on the street - I can see why he got such a good deal.)
So, I hung it off my washing line for 3 days, but the smell did not budge. I had no choice but to wash it, knowing full well the colours were going to do crazy things - but it was unusable the way it was!
So I got out bucket and filled it with a generous amount of salt and vinegar to try to set the dyes. I soaked the whole thing overnight. In the morning I found that despite my efforts, the colours ran anyway.
Nothing to lose, I put it in the washing machine. I always wash everything on cold. Halfway through the wash cycle, I decided to check it and found that during my time in Canada, someone re-set our washing cycle to use hot water! The whole Suzani was really dark. Almost black. I looked it over, and actually didn't mind it. I set it to cold and let the wash cycle finish.
End result? Most of that black came out in the rinse cycle. It's still red, but darker. The hot pink and lime green are gone, replaced with a deeper purple pink and the lime became pale sage green. Much better. And the best part, it doesn't smell like a barn anymore.
I wish I had a "before" picture. Here is the "after".
The colours are slightly off in this pic, the pink should be a bit more purple, and the the big white flowers have a bit of green to them. But it's miles better than it was!