How to Wash and Care For Silk Clothes

Few fabrics feel as luxurious as silk and you may be surprised to find out that dry cleaning may not be your only option for washing them.

The following is a guide on how to wash silk clothes.

1. Read the care label

When a fabric care label says "Dry Clean", this is the cleaning method recommended by the manufacturer, but it may not be the only method available.

Washing silk clothing by hand is often an acceptable alternative.

However, the "Dry Clean Only" should be strictly adhered to.

2. Test for color fastness

The rich colors of silk can often bleed. So test before washing: Dip a cotton swab into mild laundry detergent and water, and dab it on a hidden seam to see if any dye comes off on the swab. Bright prints or bleeding colors should be dry-cleaned.

3. Never Spot-treat Silk

Rubbing one area of silk can cause lightening in just that spot. To remove stains moderately, especially in the middle of a pattern, wash the entire garment. Dark or unsightly stains should be taken to a dry cleaner.

4. Wash silk clothes by hand in cold water

Fill a clean sink or small tub with cold water and some liquid detergent. Gently stir for three to five minutes and rinse thoroughly.

If the care label advises machine washing, choose a gentle cycle with cold water.

5. Handle with care

After rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water. Never twist or wring out silk garments, as this may damage the fabric.

6. Avoid the dryer

Lay wet silk clothing flat onto a clean, absorbent towel and roll it up in the towel to rid excess moisture. Unroll and repeat the process with a second dry towel. Lay flat on a drying rack or dry towel.

7. Use a low setting on your iron

If the care label indicates that the garment can be ironed, use a low setting on your iron. Iron while garments are still slightly damp. Hang on a padded hanger to dry. If the care label indicates otherwise, do not iron the item.

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