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How To Clean Silk

Bella in her silk scarf

Silk has got to be the ultimate luxurious fabric - and if you’ve ever had a pair of silk pyjamas or a silk robe you’ll know the sheer joy that can be found in wearing it. I’ve always had a thing for silk scarves too, they just bring a little extra to your outfit and always make me feel that bit more put together. There are also some really lovely silk lingerie pieces on the market too.

Silk itself is quite the precious commodity. The cost of raw silk is twenty times as much as the price of cotton. As a natural fabric, it’s perfect for those who suffer from skin irritation and the softest on the skin is really quite special. In fact, it’s known as ‘queen of the fabrics’.

Being the delicate material that it is, unsurprisingly, it requires a little extra aftercare when it comes to laundering them. But you don’t have to dry clean every piece, you can just as easily wash them yourself at home with the right tools. I thought it might be useful to write a little about how to wash your silk at home without compromising the look or feel of your silk clothes. 

I would always recommend hand washing silk if you can, just because you’re much more in control.

Always hand wash your silk

However if you really must machine wash, please make sure your washing machine is on a the gentlest cold water cycle and on the slowest spin setting. Also, consider purchasing a laundry bag for extra protection from snagging. But please keep your silks away from the tumble dryer - I’m speaking from experience on that one!

However you choose to wash your silks, cold water is your friend. It helps to protect the delicate fabric fibres from damage and shrinkage. If handwashing, I wouldn’t recommend soaking silk for any longer than thirty minutes to avoid watermarks.

If your item is particularly expensive or special to you, and you’re worried about washing it for the first time, test on an inconspicuous area first. Use a little detergent and water and see how it looks when dry. Be careful to ensure the place you do this really is somewhere hidden, as it could end up leaving an uneven watermark.

Wash silk items in the sink if you can

Start by filling your sink or a basin with cold water, and a few caps of Wool & Silk Wash.

Silk Wash for hand washing

If you’re just washing one or two pieces, a couple of capfuls is plenty. Once you’ve added the detergent, give it a good mix with your hands.  Soak your garments for no more than thirty minutes before gently rinsing through with more cold water.

Never wring silk after washing

Gently press out the excess water (never wring or squeeze) and allow to dry flat in its natural shape, or on a wooden hanger.

Hang on a wooden hanger or dry flat when washing silk

Hopefully you’ll now feel confident enough to wash your silks at home - it just take a little care and practice. Take your time and you’ll soon be spending less time picking up dry cleaning.

Bella x