Can You Steam Silk? (Answer and How to)


Yes, you can steam silk! Start by turning your silk garment inside out so you are able to steam from the matte backside. Turn the steamer on and wait until the steamer head stops spitting hot water. Start at the top of the garment and use long, slow downward strokes as you work your way towards the bottom. Keep the steamer head 3cm to 6cm (1-2in) away from the surface of the silk fabric. 


This is Can You Steam Silk? (Answer & How To)

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This article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to steam silk. We also compare a steamer with an iron, and take a look at which is the better option when trying to get wrinkles out of silk.  


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Can You Steam Silk?

Yes, you can use a steamer to get wrinkles out of silk. Steamers are easy to use, and are very effective when it comes to removing wrinkles from silk garments.


To steam silk effectively you want to first turn your silk garment inside out. Fill the steamer's water tank and power on the unit. Once ready, start at the top of the garment and move down slowly using long downward strokes. While steaming silk use your free hand to stretch the garment lightly to create some tension to make the fabric flatter; this will help the steamer do its job. 


Related: Can You Steam Satin?


How to Steam Silk

Follow these 5 simple steps in order to properly steam silk garments, bedding, and upholstery. 


1. Fill the Water Tank

Fill the steamer's water tank. Be sure to fill the water tank with fresh, clean, new water. Do not use old, stale water to steam with.


If your steamer has a brush on it, remove the brush. Silk is a very delicate fabric and any sharp or coarse objects on the steamer could damage the silk fibers. 


2. Heat the Steamer

Next, turn on the steamer and wait for it to fully heat, which should take somewhere between 30 to 90 seconds depending on the model of steamer you are using.  


When the steamer is ready to go, engage the start button and make sure that the unit is steaming properly


Keep a cloth nearby to wipe water droplets from the steamer. Continue to wipe accumulated water droplets off of the steamer throughout the steaming process. 


If your steamer is spitting water try to put more distance between the steamer and the garment to avoid getting hot water droplets on the silk. 


3. Turn the Silk Garment Inside Out 

Find a good place to hang your silk garment and turn it inside out. Silk's shiny outer layer is ultra sensitive, so turn the garment inside out and steam from the dull backside. Steaming silk from the backside removes wrinkles just as well and you will be a better job of protecting the glossy front surface of the fabric. 


Make sure your silk garment is hung in an open spot that will allow you to move and adjust as necessary. 


4. Begin Steaming

Start from the top of the garment and slowly work your way down using long and steady downward strokes. Use your free hand to gently add tension to the garment while you are steaming to make sure you are able to reach those wrinkle prone areas. The mouth of the steamer should be held 1 to 2in. (3 to 6cm) from the surface of the silk fabric.


5. Use Long Downward Strokes

Continue steaming your garment with long, slow, downward strokes and continue until you have achieved your desired results.  


If your silk garment is a little thicker, perhaps 22 or 25 momme, you can use the steamer to stroke up and down (instead of just downwards) to add a little more power to get out those heavy creases and wrinkles. Feel free to experiment with it so you can get the best results possible.


Steamer vs. Iron

If you want to get wrinkles out of your silk shirt, silk pajamas, silk blouse, or silk dress, the two most effective methods to do so will be by using either an iron or a steamer. Let's take a look at the differences between steamer vs. iron


Pros of Using a Steamer

The pros of using a steamer to get wrinkles out of silk are:

  • Fast and easy
  • Once finished you can wear the garment immediatly 
  • Gentle on the silk fabric 
  • Requires only a steamer 


Cons of Using a Steamer

The cons of using a steamer to get wrinkles out of silk are:

  • A steamer may not be able to remove deep creases and stubborn wrinkles 
  • Not everyone has easy access to a steamer
  • The steamer may spit hot water droplets


Pros of Using an Iron

The pros of using an iron to get wrinkles out of silk are:

  • Effective at removing deep creases and stubborn wrinkles from silk clothing
  • The best way to flatten your silk garment 


Cons of Using an Iron

The cons of using an iron to get wrinkles out of silk are:

  • Ironing silk requires extra supplies such as a spray bottle, a thin protective fabric such as a bandana, and an ironing board 
  • To iron a silk garment, you must first add moisture to make the fabric slightly damp. This means after you finish ironing you may need to wait 1-2 hours for the fabric to dry. Never use the dryer to dry your silk
  • If you iron silk improperly it may damage the silk fabric 


Which is better? Steamer or an Iron?

Both the steamer and iron are great for removing wrinkles from silk. The option you choose will depend on mainly two things:

  • How deep the wrinkles and creases are
  • When you need to wear the shirt

If the wrinkles on your silk shirt or silk pajamas are deep and stubborn then you would likely prefer to use an iron. If you need to wear your silk garment immediatly then you may prefer to use a steamer to get the wrinkles out.


How to Get Winkles Out of Silk Without an Iron

If you do not have access to an iron and ironing board you can use one of these 4 methods to get wrinkles out of silk without an iron.

  1. Use a steamer
  2. Hang your silk garment in a cool dry place for 2-3 days 
  3. Hang your silk garment in the bathroom while you take a shower
  4. Take your silk garment to the dry cleaners 

To learn how to use these methods read our article on How to Get Wrinkles Out of Silk Without an Iron


Can You Steam Silk FAQ

Can you steam a silk shirt?

Yes, you can steam a silk shirt. First fill the steamer's water tank and then turn the shirt inside out. Use long downward strokes to remove wrinkles from the garment while using your off hand to pull the shirt so that the process is as effective as possible.  

How do you get wrinkles out of silk?

The 2 most effective ways to get wrinkles out of silk is by using an iron or a steamer. If you do not have access to an iron or steamer you can either try hanging the garment, hanging the garment in the bathroom while you shower, or taking the silk garment to the dry cleaner. 

Can you use a steamer on silk clothing?

Yes, you can use a steamer to get wrinkles out of silk clothing. Steaming silk is a very effective and gentle way to remove wrinkles from silk.