How To Care for Silk Clothes

Nothing compares to the feel of lustrous, smooth and light silk fabric gliding over your skin. Natural silk is such a beautiful fabric, and clothes made from it look very elegant and luxurious. 

Producing silk is expensive and laborious, thus silk clothes command a high price. This very delicate fabric needs special care and attention to make it long-lasting. Below are some of the ways to take care of your silk clothes.

General Care

  • Silk is prone to water-spotting so you should test it by wetting the inside seam and letting it dry before washing the whole garment. You may have to have it dry-cleaned.
  • Test also for colorfastness by wetting a white colored cloth and running it over a concealed area of your silk garment to see if the color will bleed.
  • Perspiration and prolonged exposure to sunlight yellows and weakens the fabric. Wash your silk clothes immediately after wearing it.
  • Since silk is a natural protein fiber chlorine is not to be used on white silk to avoid damage to the fabric.
  • Alcohol can also damage silk fabrics. Hairspray and perfume should be allowed to completely dry before putting on a silk garment.

Hand Washing

  • •    Hand washing is recommended for most silk clothes.
  • •    Avoid soaking silk clothes. Wash them immediately.
  • •    Add a tablespoon of borax to the water if you have hard water.
  • •    Lukewarm water and mild, non-alkaline soap or baby shampoo is best when washing silks. Do not use harsh detergents that contain brighteners and bleaches.
  • •    Remove traces of alkali and soap residue by adding a few tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to the rinse water.
  • •    Do not twist or wring your silk clothes. Lay it flat on a towel and roll it to squeeze the water out.

Machine Washing

  • It is recommended that silk be hand washed even if the label says it can be machine washed.
  • If machine washing is unavoidable, use the delicate cycle and the mildest detergent without brighteners and enzymes.
  • Place your silk clothes in a laundry mesh bag before washing it in a top loading machine.
  • Wash colored silks separately.


  • Hang silk garments on padded hangers to air dry away from heat and direct sunlight to protect the silk fibers and avoid fading. Direct sunlight may yellow wet silk garments.
  • Do not dry silk clothes in a clothes dryer as excessive heat may shrink your silk clothes and remove the natural sheen from the fabric. Likewise, friction against the dryer drum may cause white streaks and yarn breakage.


  • Iron your silk garments inside out while it is still damp using “Silk” or cool setting. Too much heat will dull the fabric. It may also cause the fabric to pucker or even burn.
  • Avoid wetting parts of your garment to remove to avoid rings on it.
  • Remove wrinkles in a silk garment without ironing by hanging it inside the bathroom while taking a shower. The humidity inside will work wonders in removing the wrinkles.
  • Minor wrinkles can be removed when you hang the clothes overnight.

Dry Cleaning

  • If you really want your silk clothes dry-cleaned, look for a dry cleaner that use silicone based solvents and liquid CO2 which are safer and non-toxic.
  • Check if your silk clothes are pre-shrunk. Some of the solvents used by dry cleaners will shrink silk fabrics.

Always read and follow the manufacturer’s label to care for your silk clothes. Silk fabrics are very delicate but with some extra effort your silk clothes will look like new for many years.


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