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How to wash silk clothes correctly

wash silk clothes correctly

Genuine silk is a sensitive natural product that should not be easily thrown into the washing machine. When you wash silk clothes incorrectly, the fabric reacts very sensitively and eventually will lose its signature sheen and beauty. Since you want to keep your wonderfully light fabric safe, we have prepared a guide to wash silk clothes correctly. This keeps your delicate textiles in perfect condition for a long time!

Avoid this to wash silk clothes correctly

First of all, we want to list the things you should never expect from your silk. Because then there can be ugly spots or the fabric can completely warp and lose its shape.

  • Never wash silk with a bleach.
  • Never wring out your silk.
  • Do not remove single stains with water.
  • Do not sprinkle the silk with water for ironing.
  • Never leave your silk in the sun any longer.
  • Do not expose the silk to a deo or hairspray.

In short, never treat silk fabrics as if they were man-made fibres or easy-care cotton! Silk will always resent such treatment and eventually be ruined.

How to wash silk properly

wash silk clothes correctly

First of all, look at the care label: Many silk fabrics can only be chemically cleaned, but often hand washing is also allowed. Then it’s your turn to proceed as follows:

  • Use a silk detergent specially designed for silk.
  • First, soak the fabric in hand-warm water for up to five minutes.
  • Always move the silk a bit, but don’t wring.
  • Then remove silk and rinse with water and some wine vinegar.
  • Roll the fabric into a towel and remove the water with light pressure.
  • Smooth the silk and place on the ironing board.
  • Iron the slightly damp fabric from the back.
  • Use the “silk” setting on the iron.


If you don’t have a silk detergent at hand, even a mild neutral soap without any perfumery is enough to perform the hand wash. Regular detergents, on the other hand, are too alkaline for the silk, they roughen the fibers and ultimately destroy them. 

See more clever tips in our cleaning section.

Author: Genevieve Dumas is a food, fashion, health and beauty writer from New York, who has worked for a range of major magazines.