Washing silk may seem intimidating, but it's actually fairly easy. Read on to learn everything you need to know about washing and drying silk!
Unless the care label specifies dry clean only, machine wash silk on cold or lukewarm water. For small items, try using a lingerie bag to avoid tangling. Never wring silk out; this will damage it.
Before a Washed Silk Fabric
can be sold, must test it for colorfastness. This helps in ensuring that the dyes used will not run when the fabric is washed. For a retailer or wholesaler, this is important because it prevents the company from losing customers who would otherwise be dissatisfied with a garment that faded after washing.
Silk is delicate and should be handled with kid gloves. It is not recommended for putting in the laundry machine, but can be hand washed. For this, mix cold or lukewarm water with a small amount of gentle liquid detergent that is marked for delicates.
Add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to the wash, to help keep the silk's color and increase its durability. Rinse thoroughly and gently. When the silk is dry, it can be ironed with a warm iron on the wrong side without steam. Avoid tumble drying your silk as it can cause it to shrink or lose its luster.
Silk is not as stain resistant as cotton t-shirts, so care is needed to keep your silk looking good. Most silk garments can be hand washed, but you must follow the care instructions on the label to avoid damaging your clothes.
It is a good idea to test your silk for color fastness in an inconspicuous place before you wash it for the first time. If you find that your silk is colorfast, then washing it should not be a problem.
Always use a mild detergent, preferably one made specifically for silk or other delicate fabrics. Never use chlorine bleach or fabric softener, as they may cause the colors to fade on your silk clothing.
Start by filling a sink or large washing bowl with lukewarm water. Add 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar to the water and soak your silk clothing. After soaking, remove the garment and rinse it several times with lukewarm clean water, being careful not to wring the silk clothing.
Silk is luxurious and has a lustrous sheen that adds to its beauty. However, it is very delicate and needs to be treated with care. It can fray easily, so it's best to hand sew seams. Silk also tends to wrinkle and stretch out, so it's important to store it properly.
Lightweight silks such as chiffon and georgette should be washed by hand rather than in the washing machine. Crepe de chine is a more versatile silk fabric that can be washed in the machine but needs gentle handling. Dupion and shantung are heavier fabrics, but they can be washed in the machine on a delicate cycle.
When washing silk, use only a small amount of silk-safe laundry solution. Protein-based fibers, such as silk, are sensitive to alkaline detergents. Use mild soaps and avoid abrasive scrubbers or brushes. Never wring or twist silk when it's wet; this can break the fragile fibers. Dry silk flat to minimize wrinkling and stretching.
A silk’s weight, known as momme, is an important factor. The higher the momme, the thicker and more durable a silk. It’s the fabric equivalent of a thread count, but silk is a bit different.
Mood’s selection includes silks with lightweight momme ratings as well as heavyweight. We recommend choosing a heavier momme for garments that will be worn frequently. Lightweight silks will lose their shape and become limp over time. They work well for linings, lingerie and other delicate garments.
Silks like the sandwashed satin and silk crepe de chine that we carry have a lovely, matte surface and are incredibly soft in feel. They are ideal for bridal gowns and other luxurious, special occasion clothing. Hand-washing is recommended with these types of silks. Find a large, clean basin and mix in a bit of silk-safe laundry detergent. Add your garment and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Rinse well and gently press the silk to remove excess water.