Learning how to care for silk clothes is important to increase the life of the items. Silk garments are not only beautiful but expensive and delicate. This type of material requires special care in order to avoid damaging or even ruining the item. Not all silks are created equal, some can be wash in the gentle cycle, some require hand washing, and others need to be dry cleaned. Proper care can increase the life and preserve the beauty of silk clothing.
- First be sure to read the care label inside the garment to see if the silk is washable.
- Clean silk as soon as possible when it becomes soiled or dirty. Silk is so fragile that it can not withstand harsh scrubbing. The more time that a stain is allowed to set in, the harder it is to get out. It's best to clean stains before they dry into the fibers.
- If the garment is dry clean only, do not use a home dry cleaning kit on silk. Some dry cleaning fluids are very damaging to the silks. Take the item to a trusted cleaners. Be very detailed in what type of stains there might be and how long the stains have been there.
- If the garment is hand or gentle cycle washable, wash the item alone. Many silks colors will fad or run. Use only the most delicate of detergents, such as Woolite.
- If the item is stained very bad, it might be best to take the washable item to the dry cleaners. Scrubbing silk can damage the fibers and a dry cleaner will know exactly how to care for silk clothes.
- Be gentle when hand washing and never wring the item out. Simply place the item in a towel. Fold the towel around the item to soak up any water. Then hang the item up to dry away inside, away from any windows or doors. The sunlight can fade the dye.
- To press turn the item inside out. Place a white sheet or a press cloth between the silk and iron. Press on a low setting.
- Store silk clothes flat when possible. When storing for extended periods of times hanging, it's best to use a padded hanger. Cover it with muslin cloth and never inside plastic. Natural fibers should never be stored in plastic. Never store silk in an area that sunlight reaches.
Ironing silk is a very risky task. It can singe very easily. It's best to iron silk while it's still damp if possible. Most irons will have a setting just for silk. It's best to use the lowest setting along with steam. You should also turn the garment inside out so if any damage occurs, it will hopefully not been seen. The iron should never rest in one spot and should be moved gently, yet rapidly over the item. If a steamer is used, avoid placing it directly onto the item. Turn the item inside out and hold the steamer away from the item. My mother has also placed a damp cloth over delicate articles and ironed over the top of it to prevent damages.
- Never soak flame resistant silk, this could be found in some silk pajamas, especially children's sleepwear. Soaking the item can remove the flame retardant and void its function.
- Never leave silk in the direct sunlight. This is very important. The dyes in natural fabrics, like silk are more likely to sun fade.
- It is not recommended that you use liquid starch or any other type of stiffener on silk. It will most likely take the luster away.
Now that you know how to care for silk clothes, you can help preserve the life of your most cherished silk garments.