How to wash silk and how to care for it
Silk! It’s gorgeous, it’s luxurious, it feels great to the touch, and you can ruin it forever if you throw it in the wash without pausing to think first. Here’s how to clean silk without causing damage.
Can you wash silk at home?
As with all clothes, you should check the care label on your silks before you try to clean them. Sometimes your only option is to dry clean silk. If the label insists on dry cleaning, follow its advice.
If the care label permits washing silk by hand or in the washing machine, just check our guide on how to wash silk below!
A note on how to get stains out of silk
If there’s a small stain on your favourite silk tie, you might be tempted to spot treat it. Resist the urge. Spot treatment can cause lightning in the treated area, which will stand out very clearly against the surrounding silk. When you’re cleaning a silk item, wash the entire thing.
How to wash silk in the washing machine
Occasionally, you’ll find a silk item that allows you to use the washing machine. You might encounter this when washing silk pillowcase or bedsheets, for example, as silk bedding can be a little more resilient than silk clothes.
- If you’re washing silk in the washing machine:
- Wash similar colours together. This is particularly important with silk, as the dyes can often run.
- If you want to avoid snags, wash your silks in a mesh laundry bag.
- Use the delicate cycle, or, if your machine has one, the silk cycle, with as short a spin cycle as possible.
- Check that the wash temperature is not above the temperature recommended on the care label. If the label suggests a cool wash without specifying, try 30°C.
- Use a detergent for delicates, such as Persil Silk & Wool.
- Don’t leave your silks wet in the machine. Take them out as soon as the wash has finished.
- Don’t rub or wring the silk. Instead, roll it up in a towel and gently press the excess water out.
- Hang the silk and let it dry, unless the care label recommends drying flat, in which case you can lay it out and leave it to dry on a fresh towel. Keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid fading.