Care of Silk

Silk garments are no longer limited to high-end designer labels or neckties. Everyday silk casual wear for men and women is very popular. It drapes, looks and feels great. But, like other fabrics, silk is susceptible to conditions of wear, stains, and colour loss.

Should I dryclean or wash my silk garment?

Silk responds well to drycleaning. Washing silk at home may result in shrinkage, limpness, and considerable fading. We recommend following the manufacturer’s care label instructions with a reminder that, in most instances, a garment with a washable label can also be safely drycleaned.

I did wash it at home and now look at it. Can you help me?

Regrettably, some ‘washable’ silk dyes do not react well to water. Oftentimes vibrant colours fade in washing, resulting in fading or multi-coloured dyes will run into one another. We see it especially when light and darker dyed fabrics are combined.

Professional cleaners routinely double check colourfastness before they begin any cleaning process.

You should too when washing at home. From time to time, professional cleaners can brighten faded colours with a special professional process. However, it is only a temporary fix.

Can you get the underarm stains out?

Well, yes and no. Professional cleaners know how to address this problem and they do. But, sometimes perspiration and other conditions of wear result in a permanent colour change.

Also, contact with chloride salts weaken silk. In addition to perspiration, chloride salts are present in many types of beverages, food, medicines, and yes, salt water. The most common type of chloride damage is the result from perspiration or contact with an antiperspirant.

If you perspire in it, clean the garment as soon as possible. This may help avoid permanent staining, irreversible fabric damage, colour loss, or colour changes. Use of underarm shields may minimize some of these conditions.

It looks like the colour is gone in certain areas. What happened?

Loss of colour in localized areas usually occurs because the fabric came in contact with a substance during consumer use. Contact with any of the following can cause discoloration:

  • Hand cleaners
  • Body sprays
  • Deodorants and other consumer and household products
  • Moisturizers and other skin care products
  • Alcohol
  • Perfume or cologne
  • Hair spray
  • Shampoo
  • Home detergents and dishwashing liquids
  • Toothpaste
  • Facial cleansers
  • Products containing chlorine
  • Mouthwash and other astringents

My sueded silk looks lighter in some areas and darker in others. What’s going on?

Sueded silk refers to a slightly brushed fabric finish which makes the fabric feel and look like velvet suede. Areas that are repeatedly rubbed during wear may lose this finish, creating lighter areas or a shaded appearance. We typically see this occurrence in the seat, waist, inner thigh, elbows, or other areas of wear. The edges or folds at the lapels, hems, collar, and cuff may show loss of the sueded finish as well.

In an emergency, should I use club soda to treat the stain?

First, there is nothing special about club soda as a stain remover agent. If you are attempting any do-it-yourself stain treatment just remember this: BLOT, DON’T RUB. Silk will chafe easily or develop light areas if rubbed while wet. Get the garment to a professional drycleaner as soon as possible.

Care Suggestions

  • Apply perfume, cologne, deodorant, and hair spray before dressing to prevent colour loss and staining.
  • Exercise great caution with household products. It’s almost a sure-fire way to ruin a terrific garment if left untreated.
  • Never use chlorine bleach or products containing chlorine on silk. It will permanently change the colour.
  • Store garments in a dark area. Long exposure to sunlight or even strong lights can cause streaks and fading.
  • Blot, don’t rub silk when wet