Cleaning and washing silk is very easy and convenient if certain precautions are observed
26 Jul 2011
What is Silk?
Silk is made from the fibres of the cocoon of the Chinese silkworm. It is spun into a smooth, shiny and sleek fabric. Silk absorbs moisture, which makes it cool in the summer and warm in the winter – and its this high level of absorbency that means it can be dyed many different colors. It feels luxurious! Silk retains its shape, drapes well and caresses the figure.
Cleaning and washing silk is very easy and convenient if certain precautions are observed.
Here are some guidelines to help care for your silk garments.
Care of Silk Fabric: General Precautions
- Silk is a natural protein fiber. Do not use chlorine bleach to clean silk; chlorine will damage the silk fabric
- Avoid drying silk in direct sunlight as sunlight for a prolonged period will damage the silk fabric
- Substances containing alcohol will damage silk fabric. So let your perfume and hairspray dry before dressing
Hand Washing Silk
- Hand washing silk is our recommended mode of cleaning silk. Almost all silk can be hand washed (and would not shrink if the silk fabric were pre-shrunk before sewing)
- Use lukewarm water and mild, non-alkaline soap (such as Ivory Liquid) or baby shampoo
While rinsing, you can add a few tablespoonfuls of distilled white vinegar to the rinse water to neutralize alkali traces and to dissolve soap residue
Or, add a few drops of hair conditioner to the final rinse water for extra silky feel
- Soaking silk for any more than a few minutes should be avoided
- Do not use harsh detergents that contain bleaches or brighteners
- Do not wring or twist; roll in towel to extract water
Machine Washing Silk
- We recommend hand washing silk, even those garments labeled safe for machine washing
- If, however, you do wish to machine wash silk, use Delicate Cycle and mild detergent
- Do not use detergents that contain enzymes and brighteners
- Use the shortest spin cycle
- In a top-loading machine, we strongly recommend using a mesh bag for extra protection (this step would not be necessary in a front-loading machine)
- Always separate your colors
Silk Care: Drying Tips
- Hang silk garments to dry. The silk garment will hold its shape
- As with any fine fabric, never use direct sunlight to dry silk clothing. Doing so can damage the silk fiber and fade the color. Wet silk may yellow in direct sunlight or on a radiator
- Don’t use a wooden drying rack, as the dyes & finishes can leave stains
- We do not recommend drying silk in a clothes dryer since it can damage silk in two ways: (1) excessive temperature and heat dulls the silk fabric and may also shrink it; (2) friction with the dryer drum might cause yarn breaks or white streaks
- If you do wish to use a dryer, use the heatless AIR FLUFF setting
Silk Care: Dry Cleaning
- We recommend that you look into green dry cleaners or organic dry cleaning services that use safer and non-toxic methods such as liquid CO2 or silicone based solvents
Silk Care: Ironing Silk
- If necessary, press the silk garment inside out while damp using cool iron setting (“Silk” setting on the iron)
- Do not wet locally as this may cause rings
- Too much heat can dull, pucker, or burn silk fabric
- Most wrinkles in silk can be removed by hanging the garment in the bathroom during a shower. Let humidity do the ironing for you!
Cleaning Silk: Wrinkle Removal Tips
- Minor silk wrinkles should disappear if the garment is hung overnight
- Stubborn wrinkles can be removed with a cool iron set on "silk"
- Better yet, hang your silk garment in the bathroom during a shower. Humidity will remove the wrinkles for you
Cleaning Silk: Silk Stain Removal
- Please consult with your dry cleaner
- As with all fine fabrics, never use chlorine bleach on silk, as it will erode the fiber (not to mention the fabric discoloration)
Silk Care: Travel Tips
- Pack your silk garments as you would any other clothing. Simply hang the garment after unpacking. Minor wrinkles should disappear overnight
- Better yet, hang your garment in the bathroom during a shower. The humidity will remove the wrinkles for you.