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How to take care of silk: ironing and washing silk at home

It’s no secret that silk is one of the most beautiful, elegant and delicate fabrics out there. So when it’s a best blouse or a smart tie, it’s no wonder we can be a bit hesitant when it comes to washing and ironing this special fabric. Whether you have large garments like a silk dress or smaller items, such as a scarf or pillowcase, there are specific washing and ironing methods to keep your garments in top shape. Get ready to find out the best techniques for washing silk and how to iron silk so that you don’t have to worry over scorched or wrinkled garments again.

How to wash silk

How to wash silk

First thing’s first: can you wash silk? The short answer is yes. And while washing silk does require a bit more care than other garments, with a few simple steps, your silk will look good as new after every wash. 


The first step when learning how to wash silk is to use a detergent specific for delicates. Also avoid tumble drying your silk and never leave it to dry in direct sunlight.

Machine washing silk

Here are the steps to wash silk in a washing machine:

Use a mesh bag for protection.

Load the machine, add the silk wash or delicates detergent, and select the delicate cycle.

After your laundry has finished, remove your items from the machine and use a towel to absorb any excess moisture.

You can then hang your silk items or lay them flat to dry.

Can you hand wash silk?

You can certainly wash your silks by hand. In fact, hand washing is the safest way to wash this delicate fabric at home. Here’s how to hand wash silk:

Place your garment in a bowl or a sink filled with cool water.

Add a few drops of delicate detergent and leave the silk item to soak for about three minutes.

You can then swirl the clothing around the water a little to get rid of any dirt.

Remove the garment from the bowl or sink and rinse it in cold water until all the soap is washed out.

You can then absorb any excess water with a towel and leave it to dry.

And there you have it: you’ve now mastered how to wash silk both by hand and machine.


The next time you’re wondering how to wash a silk pillowcase or how to wash a silk scarf, just remember to use these tips. Delicate fabrics, like silk or wool – another not-so-simple garment to wash – simply need a little extra attention.

How to iron silk

how to iron silk

Some people fear that taking a hot iron to such a delicate fabric will scorch it, so ‘can you iron silk?’ The good news is that ironing silk without damaging it is possible. The trick is to understand how to iron silk gently to avoid any damage.


Iron your silk while it’s still damp after washing and remember to turn the garment inside out first. As this fabric is particularly delicate and a high temperature might result in scorching or burning, try steaming your garment instead. The Philips handheld garment steamer, for example, is safe to use on all delicates and its powerful steam smooths out wrinkles and creases. It also gets rid of odours and bacteria, so there’s no need to wash your delicates too often.

How to iron silk: the steamer option

Place your silk vertically – you might hang it on a doorknob – and run the steamer over it until the creases disappear. That’s it! You could also consider using a standing garment steamer as this option has more fabric settings to give easy, wrinkle-free results – even for your tricky-to-iron delicate materials. Once your silk is completely cool from the steaming or ironing, you can then wear it or put it away. 


Now that you know the ins and outs of washing and ironing silk, you can enjoy fresh, crisp silk garments every time. It’s goodbye to wrinkled, burnt silk and hello to silk clothing that looks as good as new.

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