Caring and cleaning of silk is a common concern for those with many styles of fine garments and materials in their wardrobe. Silk has long been one of the most sought-after and prized materials on the planet. Its combination of moisture-wicking properties, its soft and lightweight feel, and its unique composition makes silk a luxurious fabric that is also a pleasure to wear all year round. On the other hand, because of silk’s delicate nature, it can be very difficult to care for and maintain. Dependable Cleaners has decades of experience dealing with silk and other fine fabrics, but we want to empower you to take your clothing care into your own hands, even those hands end up dropping off said clothing at one of our many Colorado locations.
Here are some basics of silk fabric care and maintenance, along with tips and tricks for keeping silk clean and free of stains.
How to Care for Silk
Silk is made up of thin, natural fibers spun by moth caterpillars. There are four main types of silk, but the most common silk type is mulberry silk, which can be made into almost three dozen different kinds of silk fabric. Thanks to silk’s diaphanous physical makeup, it is very prone to damage and discoloration, particularly when exposed to harsh cleaners or chemicals (or even cleaning solutions which would normally be considered delicate, such as soda water!). Silk should be stored hanging, in a breathable garment bag—not plastic—and should never be left folded or stuffed into a bin for long periods of time. Silk is very delicate, and too much moisture, excessive pressure on the garment, or any number of other irritants can damage it permanently. When washing silk, only the most delicate methods should be used, and of course, any kind of pre-treated silk will fare better in a home wash than untreated silk will. Never dry silk in a dryer—you should always hang silk garments to dry, otherwise the material may shrink or warp.
“When washing silk, only the most delicate methods should be used, and of course, any kind of pre-treated silk will fare better in a home-wash than untreated silk will.”
Should Silk Be Taken to a Dry Cleaner?
While silk can be washed by hand, it can be a tricky process. Use soap that is too harsh or too gritty, and it can degrade the material of the silk. On the other hand, if you leave stains or spots for too long in silk without spot cleaning, they can set permanently or otherwise damage the material in other ways. Reading this, you’re probably thinking that the automatic answer is that silk should be taken to a dry cleaner, but as with most questions of silk, the solution is not that straightforward.
When it comes to dealing with silk clothing, delicacy is key. That’s why, if you should choose to dry clean your silk garments, you should be sure that you take them to a cleaning service that has experience working with silk. Each of our Dependable Cleaners locations is fully prepared to handle silk and other extremely delicate fabrics, from designer gowns to wedding dresses and more. Our seven point inspection guarantees that no matter what kind of laundry you entrust to us, we will be sure to take the utmost care.
Silk and Stains: What to Do
Now that you know how tough stains are on silk, you might be wondering how best to tackle stains on silk. Many resources will suggest gentle, homemade stain lifting tonics like a solution of lemon juice, white vinegar, and tap water, but you should always check the tags on your silk clothing before applying any kind of stain remover to such a delicate fabric. If the tags on your silk clothing say “Dry Clean Only,” you should not attempt to remove the stain yourself, but instead should take the garment directly to a professional dry cleaning company. If you do choose to try to lift a stain from silk yourself, be sure not to rub the silk with any abrasive materials like a rag or otherwise. Instead, rub the silk against itself and use the friction to lift the stain gently.
If you are unsure of how to clean and dry your silk clothing, you can always trust our friendly, knowledgeable laundry professionals at any Dependable Cleaners location in Colorado.