Cleaning & Washing Silk
Cleaning and washing silk is surprisingly easy if certain precautions are observed.
Our silk hand painting techniques produce garments whose colors will not run or fade under normal circumstances. Cleaning and washing silk fabric, in case of our garments, is definitely simple and convenient. So relax and enjoy your silk art!
All garments are appropriately labeled to include silk washing instructions. We recommend hand washing silk, unless the garment carries an explicitly Dry Clean Only instruction – in which case the dry cleaning section below has information about green and organic dry cleaners. (Dupioni silk is about the only silk fabric construction requiring dry cleaning since washing this silk fabric changes its texture and sheen.)
Optimal silk care will ensure longer and lustrous life of the garment. We, therefore, recommend hand washing silk even for items that are labeled for machine washing.
Please use the following guidelines to care for your silk.
[For general silk information, please visit the About Silk section, which covers various related subjects, such as History of Silk, Benefits of Silk, Silk Production, Silk Dictionary, and Silk Interesting Facts.]
- 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 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)
- If you have hard water, you may wish to first add a spoonful of borax to the washing water
- 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
- We recommend hand washing silk, even those garments labeled safe for machine washing
- If, however, you do wish to machine wash silk, please use Delicate Cycle and mild detergent (such as Woolite®)
- Do not use detergents that contain enzymes and br ighteners
- 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
- 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
- Most of the silk marketed by our company can be hand washed, and does not need dry cleaning
- Perchloroethylene (commonly known in the trade as “perc”) is the most commonly used solvent in the dry cleaning business. It is highly toxic and carcinogenic. Any garments dry cleaned from such chemicals should be left in an outdoor airy environment for some time so the fumes fully leave the garment
- Better yet, we recommend that our customers 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
- In a test conducted by the Consumers Union, researchers found that liquid CO2 and silicone based solvents (used by organic and green dry cleaning establishments) were not only safer but also much more effective dry cleaning agents compared to the conventional toxic solvents
- To locate organic / green dry cleaners in your area that use silicone based solvents, please refer to the website of Green Earth Cleaning (organic / green dry cleaners):
- For more information on liquid CO2 cleaning (a green / organic dry cleaning system), please refer to the website of Cool Clean Technologies:
- Some Dry Clean Only fabrics (rayon, lace etc. etc.) are delicate and cannot withstand the agitation of a washing machine. Other Dry Clean Only fabrics (wool, for example) would shrink drastically if washed in water.
- Occasionally, however, the Dry Clean Only label may mean that the manufacturer was cutting corners and did not bother to preshrink the fabric, or chose dyed fabrics that were not colorfast.
- The silk fabric used in our garments is guaranteed to be pre-shrunk. After hand painting, every garment goes through an elaborate process to ensure color fastness
- 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!
- 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
- 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)
- 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.