Do you love the luxe feeling of silk pieces, but cringe thinking about dry cleaning costs? This was my debate, until I realized just how easy it is to wash them myself! After hearing your feedback in this post on silk blouses, I wanted to share some do’s & don’ts when it comes to cleaning silk at home. And if hand washing clothes in the sink isn’t your idea of weekend fun, the good news is I usually machine wash my delicates. The garment tags may say dry clean only, but I haven’t had any issues yet washing solid colored silk myself (just use your judgement, though)!
Hand wash your silk item by itself the first time to see if the color bleeds. If the color doesn’t run, then it should be safe to machine wash on the delicates cycle next time. If the color does run, you’d need to machine wash with very similar colors or continue hand washing in the future.
Use cool water to prevent the fabric from fading in color, and to reduce wrinkling.
Instead of regular detergent, use just a little bit of gentle cleanser formulated for delicates. I love:
- Nordstrom Delicate Wash (32 fl oz) – In unscented or lavender scent
- The Laundress Delicate Wash (16 fl oz) – Available on Amazon or Shopbop
Hand wash your silk item then rinse in a sink or basin with cold water to remove any excess detergent. Avoid soaking colored fabrics too long in order to maintain color.
If you’ve already done a test run previously (see above), place your silk item in a mesh laundry bag prior to putting it in the machine. I own several of these mesh wash bags and love the durability and generous size! As an extra precaution, I also turn my items inside out. Wash in cold water on the delicates cycle with other lightweight pieces (avoid washing with heavy items like jeans, towels etc.)
Do NOT machine dry. If hand washing, gently wring the item then roll it up in a towel and lightly squeeze to remove excess water. For both hand and machine washed silk, you can:
- Lay flat on a towel to dry.
- Lay flat on a mesh rack to dry. I’ve been using this mesh sweater drying rack for years and love that it’s foldable for a small space, and sits right over my bathtub!
- Hang dry. See all 3 options pictured below!
Things to avoid:
- No bleach! Even detergent with traces of bleach can destroy natural fibers and harm silk materials.
- Never put silk in the dryer. The machine dryer can be super damaging in general for delicate fabrics.
Hopefully this post was useful and helps reducing your dry cleaning bills! I’m still learning about garment care so would love to hear any tips or recommendations you guys have for cleaning delicates. Also, stay tuned for an upcoming post comparing some of my favorite silk pillowcases!