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How to Care for Silk 5 Top Tips

Written by Bianca Elgar


Posted on November 02 2018

Silk Care: my five top tips

I am a huge supporter of the slow fashion trend – disposable style is anathema to me.  We should buy clothes to wear more than once and it’s important to learn how to maintain them so they continue to look good, especially natural fibres such as silk.

Ironing Silk

Here are my five golden rules:

1. Find a good dry cleaner

The good news is, because silk naturally repels mites, dust and other particles, it doesn't need to be cleaned as often as other fabrics so it is worth searching out a good dry cleaner. Most modern dry cleaning is streets away from the chemical-heavy processes used in the '80s and '90s. I recommend finding a Green Earth dry cleaner as they don’t use hazardous chemicals - better for delicate fabrics and, better for the environment.  The process is perfectly safe and depending on the item, a Green Earth dry cleaner won't even necessarily "dry clean" the garment! They are restoration artists, restoring your garments to be as good as new so you can wear them again and again. They help prolong the life of silk (but do remember to empty all pockets before dropping it off – a forgotten pen can be ruinous.)  Also, make sure you’re aware of any tears or small holes so that there’s no confusion should you discover something amiss on collection. And, once you’ve picked up your clothes, remember the plastic covering is only designed for transport – don’t be tempted to hang them up in their casings, they need to air.

2. Spritz scent before dressing

Take care of your silk by avoiding exposure to alcohol-based products (such as hairspray and perfume) or direct sunlight, which can cause colour to fade.

3. Avoiding stains on silk 

If you do get a stain, resist the impulse to douse it with water as this can also cause the colour to fade or leave a distinctive ring around the affected area – try using a knife to lift any food spills and if you must dab, make sure to use dry cotton fabric rather than tissue which will pill and could even damage the texture.  Food stains can attract moths, so you do need to make sure any residue is completely gone before returning garments to the wardrobe.As for wine spills, please don’t try and ‘neutralise’ red wine with white.  I’m sorry to say that’s something of a myth and will only result in two stains for a cleaner to treat and there are only so many chemical treatments that silk can take.

4. Always read the label! 

Remember, aftercare labels are added to garments for a reason – whenever possible, try to leave them there.  Not only will you thank yourself when it comes to caring for your fabric yourself, but when you drop off at the dry cleaner’s they’ll be able to treat your clothes as needed.

5. Familiarise Yourself with Your Iron (or invest in a Steamer)

It can be enough to freshen your silk by steaming or ironing, both of which will help kill off any bacteria and remove creases caused by wear or bad storage.  Check the label, but it is usually fine to iron silk. I recommend using high heat and steam, and I always make sure to insert a cotton towel between the silk and the surface of the iron. When possible, try to iron on the inside of the garment. However, if the seams don´t need to be pressed, I use a steamer to remove creases and get a smooth surface. They are a great investment, easy to use, plus there’s the added bonus of being able to steam both the inside and the outside of your silk.  For best results, I recommend steaming the garment whilst it’s on a hanger. Just pull the garment lightly and apply steam until there is a smooth surface. As you may have guessed, silk is one of my favourite fabrics to work with. Warm in winter, cool in summer and the lustre of pure silk adds real luxury to any look. My latest collection is now online, here.

I hope you’ve found this useful. For regular updates, news and offers make sure you’ve subscribed to my newsletter (scroll to the bottom of the page for the sign-up box), and for tips on packing silk for travel have a look here. 

Finally, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions! 



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