We clean a lot of silk garments year round but especially in summer.  Silk fabric drapes, looks great, and feels cool.  But, just like other fabrics, silk is susceptible to conditions of wear, stains and color loss.

We don’t want to scare you into avoiding purchasing silk garments, but read the care label and make note of these 5 things you must know about wearing and washing silk.

Sometimes perspiration and other conditions of wear result in permanent color change.  Chloride salts which are present in many types of beverages, food and medicines, can weaken silk.  If you perspire or spill anything on your silk item, clean the garment as soon as possible.  Also, apply perfume, cologne, deodorant and hair spray before dressing to prevent color loss and staining.

Areas of your silk garment that are repeatedly rubbed during wear may lose its finish creating lighter areas or a shaded appearance.  The edges or folds of lapels, hems, collars, and cuffs may show loss of the finish as well as the seat, waist, inner thigh and elbows.

Washing silk at home may result in shrinkage, limpness, and considerable fading.  Follow the manufacturer’s care label instructions.  Never use chlorine bleach or products containing chlorine on silk.  It will permanently change the color.  And if you get a spill, don’t rub silk when it’s wet.  Silk will chafe easily or develop light areas if rubble while wet.  Only blot if you get a spill.

Some “washable” silk dyes do not react well to water.  Oftentimes vibrant colors fade in washing or multi-colored dyes will run into each other.  We routinely double check colorfastness before we begin any cleaning process.  Be sure you do the same when you wash at home.

Silk responds well to dry cleaning.  In most instances, a garment with a washable label can also be safely dry cleaned.

Bonus tip:  Store garments in a dark area.  Long exposure to sunlight or even strong lights can cause streaks and fading.

What do you like best about silk garments?  Have you questions about cleaning them or caring for them?  Our experts are standing by to answer.