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How to Wash Silk Garments

Silk is one of the world's most luxurious fabrics and has been sought after for centuries. But dry cleaning is expensive! Use these steps to wash silk thoroughly and without having to take it to the dry cleaners.

Note: CHECK WARNINGS (in box below) BEFORE STARTING. Follow all cautions to avoid damaging your silk garments.


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    Check color fastness of silk first by treating hidden part of clothing. If color transfers dry-clean only.
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    Soak the fabric in lukewarm water with a mild soap for about 5 minutes or less. Make sure the water is not too cold or too hot as this will stretch or shrink the garment.
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    Rub stains very lightly under the soap-water, careful not to rub too hard as this can damage the fabric irreparably.
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    Rinse with water containing 1/4 cup vinegar. This will remove the soap and help restore shine.
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    Final rinse with cold water alone.
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    Take out of the water and wring excess water out by spreading the garment out on a towel and rolling it up. The towel will absorb the water, and the garment will get an effective, yet mild wringing.
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    Leave the garment on the towel and let it dry somewhat.
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    While still damp, place in a plastic bag and place the bag in the refrigerator for half an hour.
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    Take the bag out and the garment out of the bag and use an iron on low heat to lightly press the fabric. Do not iron the outside of the material, but on the inside that is not seen.


  • If you clean the garment in the kitchen or bathroom, make sure the countertops are clear and clean so as to avoid snags, rips, or harmful chemicals to touch the garment.
  • If you find a stain on your garment that needs to be removed as fast as possible, try makeup remover or baby wipes (preferably baby since it's gentler) and rub it against the stain. After the garment is dry, the stain should be faint to gone.


  • Use a very lightly-heated iron. Excessive heat will damage any silk garment.
  • Do not use detergents. These are too abrasive and will cause damage.
  • Do not allow perfume, cologne, or alcoholic beverages to touch the garment during the washing process. These liquids can disturb the dye and cause the garment to bleed.
  • Iron only on the inside of the garment. Silk garments are treated a special way and the inside will not usually damage under heat.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mild soap (no detergents!)
  • Tub or basin large enough to hold water and garment
  • Plastic bag
  • Towel
  • Vinegar

Article Info

Categories: Washing Delicates