Well-made silk garments should last you a lifetime if you take proper care of them. Silk generally keeps better if you hand wash it, but sometimes you don’t have the time or may not be confident that you’ll handle it correctly.
How to Wash SilkSome silks are washable in the machine but if your silk becomes badly stained, it should be dry-cleaned. It’s best not to attempt to remove stains with a stain remover yourself – let your dry-cleaner know what caused the stains and ensure they know how to clean silk before handing over your garments.
Some silk items that should always be dry-cleaned include silk robes, scarves, chiffons, ties, taffetas, brocades and silk clothing with several multi-coloured designs and prints.
If you plan to use your washing machine to clean your silk, consider investing in a delicates bag which will protect your silk while you wash it. Always wash silk on a cold wash or use a delicates setting at 30° - 40°.
How to Dry SilkSilk tends to dry quickly, so you won’t need to use a tumble dryer. Using a tumble drier is usually not a good idea anyway, as it can damage the fabric’s fibres.
When hanging silk garments out to dry, it’s best not to leave them in direct sunlight as this can cause the colour to fade. Instead, dry your silk garments on a clothes hanger rather than clothes pegs, as these sometimes leave a mark on the silk. You’ll also want to position the garment straight on the hanger so it doesn’t stretch.
If your garment’s label says you can iron it, set it at a low temperature and iron the garment while it’s still a little damp. If your garment’s label doesn’t say it can be ironed, do not iron it.
Hanging and Storing SilkAlways make sure your silk is thoroughly clean and dry before you store it. You wouldn’t hang up a dirty garment of any other material, so make sure your silk is clean. Silk that is dirty, stained, or carrying natural oils can degrade over time and won’t last as long, so try to clean your silk garments as soon as you notice they’re dirty.
Silk garments generally do best when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place with some air circulation. Silk is a natural fibre, so it keeps best when it can “breathe.” For this reason, it’s best not to pack your silk garments in tightly sealed bags if possible. Silk maintains its shape best when hung inside breathable cotton bags as this reduces the risk of any unwanted folds and wrinkles.