Don’t let care tag instructions scare you. There are a number of fast, easy, and environmentally friendly ways to clean your silk that don’t include dry cleaning. Cleaning silk is as easy as washing your hair, in fact, you should treat them similarly. Because like your hair, silk is a protein fiber. But don’t worry – you don’t have to worry about split ends on your silk!

Follow these simple hacks for clean, soft, long-lasting silk. We’re also willing to bet you can get the following done in the time it takes you to drive to the dry cleaner’s.

how to care for silk

Separate, Soak, Swirl, & Steam

First, separate your colors. Always wash like colors together, never mix. Mixing may compromise the color and luster of your pieces.

Soak the items you’re washing in cold water with a detergent suitable for silks or delicates for up to 5 minutes.

Slowly and gently, swirl the items around in the cold water and detergent. Rinse in cold water.

Optionally, you can add a fabric softener or even hair conditioner to cold water for a quick final swirl before rinsing thoroughly again. This can help your silk stay moisturized.

White distilled vinegar can be an effective and ecofriendly addition to your rinse. Half a cup of white distilled vinegar in the rinse water will help silk keep its sheen as well as kill odor causing bacterias.

Lay your silk on a towel and roll the towel up, almost like you’re making a silk-towel-sushi roll. This will remove excess water before you lay the items flat to air dry. Air dry in a place that does not receive direct sunlight or source of heat.

Wrinkles happen. The best way to remove wrinkles from silk is steam. If you don’t own a steamer (or if you’re a multi-tasker), hang your items in the bathroom while you’re taking a shower. The wrinkles will drop right out. If you’re in a pinch and need to iron, turn your item inside out, put a piece of cloth (a t-shirt without any detailing or a clean towel work well) over the item, and use an iron on a low heat level. But if using an iron, forgo the steam.

how to wash silk sustainably infographic

A Few Quick Silk Don’ts

Do not use bleach.

Do not spot clean. If you have a stain on your silk item, you can gently work some detergent into the spot before washing, but then do wash the entire piece. Spot cleaning may cause discoloration of the area you focused on.

Do not wring your silk items – this damages the fibers.

Do not spray silk with water before or while ironing – this can produce water stains.

Smooth Moves

With silk, less is more. Just like your hair, hot water, harsh soaps, and hot irons can be damaging to the structure and color of silk. But good silk care can be quick and easy. Oh – and you’ll be saving your wallet and the world from the effects of dry cleaning.

Or – if this is still too much, you can try Cupro as an easier to care for (and vegan!) silk alternative.

Unraveling Threads


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