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.
Care of Silk Fabric: General Precautions
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
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
Machine Washing Silk
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
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
Silk Care: Drying Tips
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
Silk Care: Green Organic Dry Cleaning
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
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
Silk Care: Ironing Silk
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!
Cleaning Silk: Wrinkle Removal Tips
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
Cleaning Silk: Silk Stain Removal
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)
Silk Care: Travel Tips
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.