You need to start taking proper care of your silk clothing items to ensure that they look and feel just like the day you bought them. Being a delicate fabric with a unique texture and rich lustre, they require special care. It's a common assumption that silk fabric is tough to care for but following these simple tips and tricks will make the process easier and allow you to treat your treasured silk clothes the way they deserve.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU WASH SILK: THE BASICS
- Always make sure to read the item's care label before washing it. The care label contains instructions and other specifications on how to wash and take care of the garment. This will save you a lot of time and diminish the chances of ruining your silk cloth.
- Never wash your silk fabric with chlorine bleach because it can ruin the natural fibres of your clothing item.
- Do a colour fastness check of your garment before washing since the rich colours of silk often bleed. Dab a wet light coloured piece of cloth or cotton swab on a hidden seam; if any colour leaks onto it, then it's best to get them professionally dry cleaned.
- Use detergents made especially for silk or other delicates instead of using a generic detergent which might be a little harsh on your silks.
- Separate your laundry. Wash silk items separately from your regular clothing items to avoid any damage.
HOW TO WASH SILK IN A WASHING MACHINE
It is a general misconception that silk can't be washed in washing machines. Maybe the old washing machines made it difficult, but with the invention of new advanced washing machines, the whole process has become much easier and safer. But your silk can still be damaged if proper steps are not followed, and precautions are not taken. For example, the silk fabric will shrink if washed in hot water or kept in water for too long. So keep these pointers in mind while washing silk fabric to make sure there is no damage done and to forever maintain the exquisite quality of your garment.
- Once you have carefully checked the care label, done a colourfastness check and separated your laundry, your next step would be to place all your silk items in a mesh bag. Invest in a mesh bag to protect your silk garments from tangling, snagging, or other abrasive damages.
- Now load the machine but do not overload it; leave enough empty space.
- Pour the required amount of silk detergent based on the dosing instructions on the bottle. Heavy-duty detergents used for cotton fabrics or other dress material fabrics might do more harm than good.
- Adjust the setting and choose the correct washing mode, temperature and spin cycle based on the instructions on the care label. Typically, you need to set your machine to a cold, delicate cycle for no longer than 30 minutes.
HOW TO HAND WASH SILK CLOTHES
If the care label reads "Do not machine wash" or "Dry clean only", your safest bet will be to hand wash the silk items. Because getting them dry cleaned every time they need to be washed can be quite expensive. Follow these steps to perfectly hand wash your silk garments.
- Fill the basin, sink or tub with lukewarm to cold water.
- Add the required amount of silk detergent and stir well the solution in the water with your hand.
- Submerge your silk garments in the water and leave them to soak for approximately 3 to 7 minutes. Gently agitate, stir, and move your garment up and down to remove any dirt.
- Now drain the dirty water and rinse the clothing item in cold water until it runs clear and the detergent is washed away. Repeat this process as many times as needed.
HOW TO DRY SILK AFTER WASHING
Whether you hand wash or machine wash your silk garments, knowing how to properly dry your items is going to make all the difference. Silk has fragile fibres, and to protect them, you have to be extremely gentle while washing, cleaning, drying, storing, and removing wrinkles or stains.
Things to avoid when drying silk fabric:
- Never wring your silks because it might permanently damage the natural silk fibres. The same goes for the spin mode setting in washing machines.
- Do not tumble dry the silk garments because the high temperature of the machine can overheat the silk and shrink it.
- It is recommended not to dry your silk items in direct sunlight because long bursts of sunlight exposure can damage the silk fibres or might lead to fading of colours.
Things to do when drying silk fabric:
- Place the wet silk item between two white towels or use just one towel, fold it over the garment, and then gently blot or press the towel to get rid of the excess water. A white cotton towel should be used to ensure that colour won't be transmitted on your clothing item.
- Now hang the silk garment on the clotheslines or drying rack in a cool, dry, dark and well-ventilated room, away from direct sunlight.
GENERAL TIPS AND TRICKS ON HOW TO CARE FOR SILKS AFTER WASH
- Silks stain very easily; that's why it's important to know how to get stains out of your silk items. Old stains are much harder to remove, so treat the stain quickly and get rid of the excess using a cotton ball or towel. Use a gentle stain remover and do a spot test to ensure that it won't ruin your fabric in any way. After gently blotting out the stain, follow the washing instructions mentioned above.
- Put your silk inside out and smoothen it out to reach all the places. Slightly dampen the fabric with water and put a white cotton towel over it to protect it from the heat. Start ironing on the silk, delicate or the lowest setting to get rid of any wrinkles.
- If you're going to store your silk away for a long time, put it in a breathable plastic bag and use a moth repellent to avoid harming your silks.