As beautiful as that one silk blouse is, it is so difficult to clean it. Washing silk is not a piece of cake. There are quite a few ifs, ands and buts about it.
But before you lose your courage, read this blog! You don't have to banish your silk garments to a dark corner of your closet as soon as the first stains appear.
We give you all the answers about washing and drying silk.
The washing instructions for silk: Be careful
You have to be patient and careful with silk. It is a delicate fabric that requires just a little bit extra attention than other fabrics.
Because silk is a natural material, it consists of protein. This means that no chlorine or bleach may be used. It is also better to avoid alcoholic liquids such as perfume and hairspray. So let it dry well before getting dressed.
Can silk be washed in the washing machine?
Chances are that your washing machine is provided with a washing program for hand wash or delicate laundry. This program is – technically - suitable for fabrics such as wool and silk. Nevertheless, we do not recommend using the washing machine for your favorite silk blouse or dress. Even when the care label indicates that it is possible. Machine wash is often too rough for this delicate fabric.
That’s why you always wash silk by hand. You will enjoy it much longer. Use lukewarm water (not warmer than 30 degrees) and make sure that the fabric does not remain in the water for more than a few minutes.
Which laundry detergent do I use for silk?
Forget about chemicals like alkaline that are often added to common detergents. Fragrances and dyes, even the mild varieties, are also unsuitable for silk. Almost all detergents are fine for your cotton shirts, but you will not please your elegant silk dress.
Choose for a detergent made especially for silk. Preferably with an (almost) neutral PH value. You do your clothes a favor with that.
Do you have an item of clothing that tends to give off color? Then use natural vinegar (not cleaning vinegar!) to wash it. Vinegar stabilizes colors and keeps them from bleeding. It also neutralizes odors. Be aware: Do not use vinegar if you have slipped with, for example, paprika. Then those colors will also get stabilized. Then it will make things worse.
How can I dry silk?
A good question, with a – relatively – easy answer. Relatively, since there is also a manual for this. Silk fabrics can’t be tumble-dried and require a little bit more care than hanging up like your cotton shirts.
Did everything work out with the hand wash? Then don't wring out your silk garment! This will damage the fibers. Gently squeeze the fabric, then roll it in a dry towel to get most of the water out. Then hang the garment to keep its shape. Avoid direct sunlight, as silk can turn yellow when wet and hanging in direct sunlight.
Get rid of wrinkles! This is how you "iron" your silk
What an adventure, washing your silk garments. Fortunately, we are almost ready, and they are almost ready to be worn again.
When the fabric comes out wrinkled from the previous process, you can hang your silk garments in the bathroom while you shower. The warm steam removes wrinkles like snow in the sun.
Not satisfied yet? Then turn your garment inside out and iron it - while the fabric is still moist - with a lukewarm iron. Have you waited too long and is your garment already dry? Then use a wet cloth to cover it.
Designed by Tessa van de Meerendonk
So, washing silk in short:
Always wash silk with by hand – also when the label says something else. Use lukewarm water that does not get warmer than 30 degrees. Avoid bleach and other alcoholic liquids and use a mild detergent especially for silk. Preferably do not iron your silk garment, otherwise wet or damp at a low temperature.
Would you like to take care of your entire wardrobe? Read our blog for more tips and tricks! You will also find, for example, a washing instruction for polyester.
Have silk printed?
Would you like to have silk printed and use it as a dress or scarf? You no longer have to worry about ruining your new addition. You now know everything about washing silk!