Can Silk Be Washed? – A Little Silk

Can Silk Be Washed?

Mulberry Silk

How To Wash And Care For Silk

If you've been wondering what's the best way to care for your silk, then read on.

Many people mistakenly believe that silk is a very delicate fabric that can only be gently hand-washed. Wrong.

Silk is in fact a strong, durable fabric made from long, lustrous fibres. A natural, chemical-free material, silk can easily be machine-washed (as well as hand-washed or dry-cleaned).

Did you know that Mulberry silk is one of the strongest natural fibres there is? It has excellent tencile strength - the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before breaking. And that's why silk is  used for parachutes.

How To Care For Silk

There are some simple rules to preserve the quality of your silk item, as follows.

  • Use the gentle setting on your washing machine, at 30 degrees centigrade or cold. 
  • Use a mild detergent that won't scratch or chafe the silk. 
  • If hand-washing, avoid heavy-duty wringing or twisting. Use no more than one teaspoon of detergent per item (such as a silk pillowcase).
  • For an extra smooth finish to your silk, add a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar at the rinse cycle (or hand rinse). This will also help remove any sudsy residue and give it an extra oomph to the lustrous finish. 
  • Never use chlorine bleach on silk as it can cause yellowing, or worse, disintegration.
  • If your silk has a stain - such as make-up or perspiration - simply dab a little mild detergent onto the affected area with your fingers and leave for 15 minutes before washing. This will give it time to break apart the stain molecules. Then wash as usual.
  • For extra precaution, wash your silk item in a laundry mesh bag. 

How To Dry + Iron Silk

  • The best way to dry silk is air-drying - preferably on a flat surface, or briefly on a washing line (but remember to avoid long exposure to the harsh effects of the sun).
  • Silk does not like extreme heat. Avoid direct heat sources - such as a heated towel rail.
  • Never tumble a dry silk item and avoid leaving it out on the washing line to dry for too long in direct sunlight. Both can damage the natural silk fibers, and cause shrinkage and fading. 
  • When ironing silk, always use the cool setting. Excessive heat can warp the natural silk threads. Ideally, use a light cotton cloth - such as a clean handkerchief - on top of your silk item to prevent scorching. 

How To Store Silk 

  • Silk is best stored out of direct sunlight and loosely rolled up.
  • Avoid storing silk with harsh fold lines or creases, as this can create weak spots in the fibre. 

Silk is a beautiful, long-lasting fabric that can provide years of service. No wonder so many people choose to sleep wearing silk or lay their head down on a silk pillowcase night after night. 

How to wash and care for silk

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