Not many things feel as luxurious as silk clothing does. How can you wear your favorite silk items regularly without having to ship them off to the dry cleaners every week?
Learning how to hand wash silk garments is much easier than you think. This guide will show you how to test your silk items before washing, the best way to hand wash your silk, how to dry, and how to fight off wrinkles.
Most silk clothing items will state they are dry clean only. However, if you know the basics, you can easily hand wash your silk items without ruining them.
While you can hand wash silk, there can be a few exceptions to the rule. Before you start washing, test each of your silk items to make sure they are hand washing compatible.
First, spot test your silk items to make sure the color will not bleed out when it is wet. To do this, get a cotton swab or cotton ball and dampen it. Then, lightly blot, not rub, an inside seam area.
If you see any dye on the cotton, you should take this garment to a dry cleaner instead of washing it yourself, as the colors will run when it is wet.
You also want to wash only one silk item at a time, just in case the item passes the swab test but still runs a little in the hand wash. You don’t want colors to be transferred to lighter items.
Unlike carpet, you do not want to spot treat any stains. If you rub in one area of silk, that can cause the fabric to lighten in that one spot.
If you have stains that are light to moderate, they should come out in the wash. For darker stains, you will want to take the item to your dry cleaner.
If your silk garments pass the color test and don’t need a deep stain treatment, you should be fine to hand wash them. Know that not all silk clothes are the same.
To make sure you don’t ruin your clothes, do the previous tests to each garment before you wash.
It can be a little worry some learning how to hand wash silk items for the first time. If you follow these steps, you will be giving your silk items the delicate treatment they need.
If you don’t want to wash your clothes in the sink, you can purchase a wash basin like The Laundress Wash Tub Basin. This way you aren’t potentially mixing soap and chemicals from bathroom sinks into your fabrics.
Some silk garment labels may say they are machine wash safe. For these items you can wash them in your machine at home. Just make sure you use the gentle cycle.
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Washing small loads, while time consuming, is better overall for your clothes. It keeps a controlled washing environment and lessens the potential for damage to your delicate garments.
Also make sure that you use the cold-water option. To best avoid wrinkles, hang up your silk items to dry as soon as the washer is finished.
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Drying silk in the dryer is not an option. The delicate fabric would be ruined even with only a few minutes.
After you have as much moisture out as you can, hang up your silk items. If you don’t have a rack to hang them on, you can lay silk clothing flat on a dry towel.
If your need to iron your silk items, first check the label to make sure it is able to be ironed.
Set your iron to the lowest possible setting and make sure your garment is still damp from the wash. If your silk garment is dry, you may want to opt for steaming it.
You do not want to try to spray silk before ironing. This can give it water spots since a spray will not give it an even dampening. You can also try the tried and true shower steaming method.
Any present wrinkles should be steamed out by the time you are done. For stubborn wrinkles, you can leave it in the bathroom with the shower running for a few more minutes.
Hanging your item flat on the back of the bathroom door works best. It keeps the hanging item flat against a surface and doesn’t offer much room in the way of swaying.
Now you know how to hand wash silk items. You also know how to care for silk by stain treating, drying, and getting rid of wrinkles. Wear your silk clothes without worrying about running to the dry cleaners.
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Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.