Can you wash silk?

by Courtney Hartford on Jul 11, 2021

Can you wash silk?
black silk cami top with cowl neck and spaghetti sraps

Avery Rose | Malissa Cami | $188 

Caring for silk can be an enigma at times. There are multiple types of silks including organza, chiffon, gauze silk, crepe, etc. Each type may need a slightly different washing technique so always read the tag first. If it says Dry Clean Only, your best bet is to get it dry cleaned. The traditional, most common silk is the charmeuse, a silk satin that has a slight shimmer to it. In this article, we will be primarily focused on this type of silk, but in general, all silk should be washed with more care than a typical jersey or polyester fabric since they are a type of protein (like your hair) and are extra susceptible to damage.
One of the biggest concerns is damage to the weaves or fabric itself and color fading.
woman wearing salmon/pink colored silk dress with short sleeves, empire waist, tie detail at neckline. Dress hits slightly above the knee

Leyt | Ready for Anything Dress | $408 

Hand Washing Silk

Rather than using a washing machine, hand washing your silk clothing is the preferred way outside of dry cleaning. You can control the temperature, length of time and “force” used to clean the garment.

  1. Fill your sink with cool or cold water.
  2. Add your garment (we suggest only washing one garment at a time).
  3. Add a few drops of detergent (use your judgment here—if your garment is not heavily stained, use less and vice versa).
    1. Use a gentle detergent (often they are labeled “Delicates”) and never use any detergent that contains chlorine bleach.
  4. Mix the detergent with the water so that it is absorbed into the garment.
  5. Soak the garment for a few minutes and similar to step #3, if your garment is otherwise pretty clean, 3-4 minutes of soaking time is probably enough. The longer it sits in detergent, the higher the risk of color fading.
  6. Drain the water and rinse your garment.
    1. I like to refill the sink 2-3 more times and let the garment sit in clean water, stirring it gently.
  7. To dry your garment, lay it between two dry, cotton towels (make sure they are white or have color but don’t bleed), and gently press/blot away excess water.
    1. Never wring it to dry as that will cause damage to the silk. Similarly, avoid the dryer.
  8. Transfer to a drying rack or use a padded hanger to hang dry the garment.
    1. Avoid direct sunlight as it can cause more color fading.

    woman in doorway holding metallic clutch and wearing a maxi silky slip dress with v-cut neckline, thin straps and a light blue with floral pattern.

    Meigms | Blue Floral Print Slip Dress | $170

    We think the extra steps to clean and care for silk is well worth it. Silk fabric is comfortable, lightweight, and looks great on all different sized people. Check out some of our favorite silk pieces here.