Cleaning silk without damaging it

Silk is a luxurious and beautiful fabric that can be used for many fancy garments. You may be surprised to learn that you can remove stains and wash silk apparel using common household items. The idea is to utilise gentle approaches and avoid using heat. While hand cleaning is always advised, some silk items can be machine washed on a mild cycle if placed in a protective mesh bag. Before you begin, check the label of your item to ensure it is washable silk, and never use a powerful stain remover or bleach on any type of this delicate fabric.

Something to keep in mind before attempting to clean anything silk:
If the clothing label states “dry clean,” this is the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning method; nevertheless, even if this label is present, you may be able to hand wash the silk. However, if the label states “dry clean only,” take it seriously. Hand-washing may damage the garment’s inner structure components, such as interfacings. Before washing silk, perform two fast tests to see if the garment can be washed at home:

  • Squeeze the dried silk garment in your hand, then release it. If the fabric smoothes out immediately, it is high-quality silk that will withstand hand-washing. Otherwise, take it to a dry cleaner. Otherwise, you are risking causing damage to it.
  • After that, check the colour fastness of your silk outfit. dampen the fabric on an inside seam. Wait a few moments before wiping the area with a white towel or a cotton swab. If the colour runs during washing, take the clothing to a dry cleaner instead.

Here is how to wash silk clothes without damaging them

  1. Pre-treat the stain with a gentle detergent – If there is a particular spot you need to get rid of, grab a laundry detergent that is labelled as ‘’gentle’’ and rub it into the stained area with your fingers. Allow it to work for 15-30 minutes before washing the whole garment by hand.
  2. Hand-wash in cold water – It is best to avoid heat when treating silk. Mix cold water and a tiny bit of the gentle laundry detergent in a sink or a bucker. When washing the garment, do not scrub – use a light touch.
  3. Do a vinegar rinse – Add 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar to the rinse water. It will help with the preservation (or restoration) of the garment’s shine. Rinse thoroughly, being careful not to wring the garment (silk fibres are weaker while wet).
  4. Dry – Never place the garment in the dryer. Lay the clothing flat on a dry towel and roll it to absorb excess water. Allow to air dry on a clothesline. This can take anything from two to 24 hours, depending on the clothing and the ambient humidity.

Machine washing silk clothing

  1. Use a mesh bag – Silk is a delicate fabric that can be easily harmed in the washing machine, so always start with a mesh bag or a pillowcase that is securely fastened on the open end. Before washing, turn your garment inside out and place it inside the bag. Never wring or twist silk cloth during washing since delicate silk strands can break.
  2. Load your silk into the washing machine along with the mesh bag. Select the delicate cycle and use cold water. Use baby shampoo or gentle detergents designed specifically for silk or delicate garments. Never use bleach (either oxygen or chlorine-based). Chlorine bleach will degrade silk strands. Even diluted chlorine bleach solutions will cause irreversible bleaching, colour loss, and fibre weakening.
  3. Dry – After the wash cycle is completed, remove the clothing and towel-dry it before air drying. Never dry silk garments in a tumble dryer (even on low heat) or in direct sunlight. To avoid stretching, dry the clothing flat or well-supported on a drying rack if it does not fit tightly on a hanger. If ironing is required (see below), make sure the item is completely dry before ironing at a low (gentle) setting.

Ironing silk garments

Extremely high ironing temperatures can scorch silk, wool, and other protein fibres. As the fibres begin to burn, they may scorch or yellow. Such fibres cannot be resurrected.
The majority of creases in silk can be removed using steam iron or by hanging the garment in a steamy bathroom. If you want to iron the garment, flip it inside out and iron it while it’s still moist. To avoid water spots or heat damage to the silk, use the lowest heat setting on your iron and a pressing towel. If you dampen the silk while ironing, water stains may form.

Maintenance, care, and repair

The seams of silk clothes may fray or rip. Hand-stitch the rip, then finish with an anti-fraying agent or a no-sew fabric glue solution available at fabric stores if you wish to repair such seams yourself. Apply it to the repaired stitching. Unfortunately, because of the delicate quality of the fabric, most silk repairs are noticeable. To repair a snag in silk, use a needle and thread in the same colour as the fabric. Pull the snag back to the other side of the fabric to fix it.