Washing silk and protecting the fabric at the same time
Few fabrics are as luxurious as silk. The lightly flowing, delicately shimmering fabric looks particularly good with tops and shawls. But silk is not only very noble: in summer it cools and in winter it also warms. One disadvantage of the delicate natural fiber is that it is somewhat more difficult to clean than cotton or synthetic fibers. In this guide, you'll learn all about the correct, gentle cleaning of silk, so that the fibers shine nobly for a long time.
Things to know about silk fabrics
The label reveals whether a garment is made of pure silk or a fiber blend with silk content. Typical silk fabrics are chiffon, organza, satin, taffeta and bourette silk. However, some of these fabrics can be made of artificial silk. Therefore, it is advisable to pay close attention to the composition of the fabric of a garment. The following applies to all fabrics made of silk or with a silk content: do not treat them too hot. Silk fiber is obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm; similar to hair, it is made of protein, and excessive heat will damage it. Furthermore, the delicate natural fiber does not tolerate perfume, deodorant, sweat and direct sunlight well.
Preparing for cleaning
A glance at the care label of silk fabric reveals whether the garment may be washed or needs to be sent to the dry cleaner’s. In addition, it is worth doing the color test. To do this, dip a cotton ball in water with a little delicate detergent. Then, carefully dab the damp cotton ball onto a hidden seam. If color sticks to the cotton ball, it is better to take the garment to the dry cleaner instead of washing it at home.
Washing silk: in the washing machine or by hand wash
You can wash silk in the washing machine, as long as it is provided with a delicate cycle. The care label of the garment indicates the permissible washing temperature. Under no circumstances should it be more than a maximum of 30°C. It is also important to use a mild detergent specifically suitable for silk, such as Perwoll Wolle & Feines. It does not only clean the fibers, but also provides care, so that the silk fabric stays beautiful for a longer period of time.
The following applies to the hand wash: light silk is washed in lukewarm water, dark or elaborately printed silk in cold water. And of course, a suitable detergent is also essential for this purpose. During soaking, you should move the garment permanently but carefully, because wet silk is particularly sensitive. After a maximum of five minutes, take the silk out of the bath again and rinse it with cold, clear water.
Stain removal from silk
When removing stains from a silk fabric, the most important thing is that you always wash the entire garment, otherwise water marks may form on the fabric. Under no circumstances let bleach or any other stain remover that might attack the fabric get in touch with silk fabric. Also, avoid rubbing the stain, as this will damage the silk and may cause the fabric to lighten in this area. In case of very large or dark stains, it is advisable to take the garment to the dry cleaner.
The temperatures in a dryer are too high for silk, so be sure to air dry it. After washing, you should place the garment on a dry towel, roll it up carefully and squeeze it gently. Never twist or even wring out the towel and silk. After this predrying, roll up the towel again, remove the garment and let it dry on a second towel. Make sure that the garment is not exposed to direct sunlight.
The care label also provides information, whether a silk garment may be ironed and at which temperature level of the iron. In general: always iron silk fabrics on the inside not spraying them with water as you would do with cotton and linen fabrics.