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How to take care of your silk garments

Silk is a luxurious fabric with many impressive qualities, but it requires some special care to last a long time. Here is everything you need to know about caring for your silk clothes.

With a rich trading history across the world, silk is a timeless textile made from natural protein fibers produced by silkworms. Its insulating qualities keep you warm in cooler climates. Silk also transports moisture, which is why a silk dress feels pleasant to wear on a hot summer day. Silk garments are a dream to use, but they require some special care.

Storing silk garments

A mindful care routine begins with proper storage. Silk is a fragile textile that is easily stretched and worn down. It is therefore important to avoid overcrowding your closet. Blouses and dresses made of silk are best stored hanging on sturdy, wooden hangers and not on thin wire hangers that can cause garments to lose their natural shape.

Read the care label

Some silk fabrics will stain from water, so you should always read the care label before washing your silk garments. If the care instructions say not to wash with water or if the garment is labeled 'dry clean only', the safest thing is to drop it off at your nearest environmentally friendly dry cleaner.

How to wash silk garments

In general, you want to wash your silk garment as little as possible, and when you do need to wash them, we strongly recommend washing by hand. Silk garments can also be washed on the wool cycle in your washing machine but remember that machine washing can make your silk garments lose their shape and color. Read more about when how to hand wash.

  • Air often, wash less. Make a habit of airing your silk garments after use. This will make them feel and smell fresh again. Also try our Fabric Spray to refresh your clothes. Since silk is naturally resistant to dirt and dust, silk garments rarely need to be washed more than a few times per year, depending on your frequency of use, but be quick to remove spills before they become stains.

  • Use a gentle detergent. Silk fabrics consist of animal protein, and a regular detergent will dissolve the fabric and make it brittle. Instead, you should use a gentle laundry detergent made specifically for delicate natural fibers, like our Delicate Laundry Detergent.

  • Wash on the wool or delicate cycle, if you can’t stand the idea of hand washing. If you are machine washing, always use a mesh bag and never fill up the machine to more than half. You can wash silk together with wool garments, but keep in mind to never mix colors since silk can bleed color.

  • Wash at 30ºC or lower. Never wash silk at higher temperatures than 30ºC. Most silk garments can be washed on a single instance at 40ºC on a regular cycle, if you want to remove a grease stain. But we recommend you to be careful and stick to cool water temperatures if you want to maintain the luster and color of the fabric.

Hang to dry in the shade

Silk dries fast thanks to its ability to transport moisture. Avoid hanging your silk garments in direct sunlight, since this can bleach the fabric. Also, remember to never tumble dry your silk garments. Read more about sustainable drying methods here.

Stain treatment

Be quick to remove spills before they stain your garment. Rinse with cold water and rub the stain gently from the inside with laundry detergent or bile soap if needed. Acetone or chemically pure petrol can be used on grease stains, but be careful and try it on a discrete spot before treating the stain. The most important thing is to act at once and not wait until your next laundry day to treat the stain.

Can silk be steamed?

Always steam silk garments if you can. The steam will gently remove any visible creases and wrinkles and add luster to the fabric. The hot steam from a steamer also removes odors and kills bacteria, while nourishing the textile fibers and allowing them to regain their natural shape. It's also a much easier method that requires no ironing board.

Can you iron silk?

When ironing, you are at risk of leaving scorch marks on the fabric. Most traditional irons will have a lower heat setting for silk or similar materials, but steaming is still a much gentler way to make your silk garments wrinkle-free. The scorching hot surface of the iron will also flatten the delicate protein fibers rather than letting them swell and regain their luster and natural shape.

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