How to Wash Silk?
We all want to take the best care possible when it comes to our clothing. This is especially true of those particular garment articles that are so important to us that we remember exactly where they came from- whether a gift from a friend or family member or during an unforgettable shopping spree in Milan.
Or those treasured silk pieces of sleepwear that mean so much that they become a statement piece — one that instantly transports us from the mundane to someplace elegant as soon as we adorn this luxurious, seemingly magical fabric.
First of all, it’s important to understand that silk and ‘washable silk’ are not the same things. If you’re not sure what type of silk your garment in question is, it’s best to err on the side of caution, and either hand wash it or take it to a dry cleaner.
If it is a washable silk, it should say so on the tag. This is because, at Eberjey, we've developed a process that allows us to produce luxurious washable silk garments capable of withstanding delicate cycles in the washing machine.
Smaller, or boutique manufacturers may not have a tag attached to their items, so you should assume that they are either a hand-wash or dry-cleaner article that needs to be handled as gently as possible.
Never wash silk or other delicate fabrics with heavy pieces of clothing like jeans. Always use the delicates cycle, as well as a delicates wash bag that will protect your silks and other intimate items from any abrasive damage that might occur in the washing machine, or from other articles of clothing.
Silk is a protein, just like our hair, so it doesn’t take much to clean it. Meaning: use a very gentle soap (or even shampoo), and gentle movements in cold water, and the fibers will let go of any dirt or oils. It’s that simple.
After you’ve rinsed the item, you can blot dry the piece on a flat, clean towel and hang it to dry on a padded hanger (out of the direct sunlight) and your garment should be fine for many years to come.
How do I Know if my Silk is Colorfast?
Some silk items may lose color or even be ruined if put in a machine. This is especially true if it was made without using ‘color-fast’ dyes.
One way you can test for colorfast dyes is by getting a white cloth and on an inside seam dab a bit of water and lightly rub it with the white cloth. If any color transfers to the white cloth, the item is NOT colorfast. This, of course, would work best with a new piece of silk.
Now that you know whether your piece is colorfast or not, you know how to approach it if you’re going to hand, or machine wash it yourself. Or, if you choose, what to tell your dry-cleaner if you’re going to take it in for a cleaning.
What Temperature do you Wash Silk?
If you do decide to handwash a silk item of yours, cold water is always your best and most safe option. If the piece of clothing shows signs of not being colorfast, wash it separately so it doesn’t ‘bleed’ into your other delicates especially if they’re white.
It’s also important to never dry a silk item in the sun, as this will cause (a sometimes serious) fading of the color that attracted you to the piece in the first place.
Can you Machine Wash Raw Silk?
Generally, no. You cannot machine wash raw silk. It’s entirely possible that the machine will damage the fabric, or lose all of its colors. Especially, if you don’t know if the piece is colorfast or not.
What is The Difference Between Raw Silk and Pure Silk?
Raw silk is woven from untreated yarns which contain layers of proteins called sericin. These threads, sometimes called yarns, come with a particular texture, though they’re still quite smooth to the touch and always show their luxurious nature with a particular sheen.
Pure silk is woven after treating the thread with a chemical process to remove the layers of attached proteins. Finished, pure silk has a quite smooth surface.
Can you Hand Wash Silk?
If you’d rather not take the time and money to get your silk garment to the dry cleaners’, you can certainly wash your items by hand. If your pieces are machine washable silk, just follow the instructions.
Make sure you use cold water with a very mild, gentle, preferably all-natural soap. Even using a shampoo to wash your silk is not unheard of, especially since silk is a protein similar to our hair.
Then if you like, you can lay the garment out on a white towel to blot dry it if you’re in a hurry. You’ll find that silk does not wick, or hold water, therefore will dry much quicker than you might’ve originally thought.
If you prefer to hang dry the item, just keep it out of direct sunlight and use padded hangers, this way the colors will last longer and your piece won’t show ‘points’ from hard hangers that can misshape the drape of your piece.
By treating your silk and machine-washable silk well, even if it’s not ‘colorfast’, it should serve to look great, drape well and be a valuable, treasured part of your collected wardrobe for years to come.
Eberjey is here for your soulful comfort through long-lasting quality sleep and loungewear. We offer luxurious collections for women, men, and children. Here are our other links for more information about us, our fabrics, our journal, corporate gifting, and of course, how to contact us. #eberjey