How to Wash Silk: Step-by-Step Guide

Fill a basin with lukewarm water and mix in a few drops of silk detergent. Submerge the silk fabric and let it soak for 3 minutes. Use your hands to gently agitate and wash the silk in the water until all the dirt and stains have been removed. Rinse the silk under cold water and roll in an absorbent towel to remove excess water. Hang or lay flat on a drying rack to air dry. 

This is How to Wash Silk: Step-by-Step Guide.

how to wash silk banner image with a picture of a man hand washing a silk shirt in a bucket full of lukewarm soapy water

In this article we will provide detailed guidance on how to wash silk. 

Use our step-by-step guide on how to wash silk to properly care for your silk pajamas, silk shirts, silk blouses, silk dresses, silk bedding, and silk pillowcases


When caring for your silk belongings, refer to our step-by-step guides to ensure that you are applying the correct kind of care methods. 

How to Wash Silk

Before washing your silk laundry be absolutely sure to first check the garment’s care instructions and care label. There may be special care instructions or the garment may be for dry clean only.

1. Fill a Basin With Lukewarm Water

Fill a basin with water that is no hotter than 25°C/77°F. At this temperature the water should feel "slightly warmer room temperature," since room temperature is typically 20°C to 23°C (68°F to 73.5°F)

a water basin sitting in a bathtub being filled with lukewarm water from the tap

2. Add Silk Laundry Detergent

Add silk laundry detergent, or detergent for delicates. Do not use regular/general detergent. Refer to the instructions on the detergent's label to add the correct amount; do not over pour.

picture of a hand pouring some silk laundry detergent out of a cap and into a basin of water

3. Submerge the Silk in the Water

Submerge the silk garment in the water and let soak for 3 minutes.

picture of a man submerging a blue silk garment in a basin of water

4. Agitate the Silk

Use your hands to gently agitate the silk in the water to remove any dirt or stains. You may wear gloves if you wish to do so.

a picture of a man washing and agitating a silk garment in a basin of water using both hands

5. Rinse Under Cold Water

Rinse the silk under cold water until the water runs clear and the soap has been completely washed out.

a picture of a man rinsing a blue silk shirt under a tap running cold water

6. Towel Roll

Roll the silk in an absorbent towel to remove excess water. Do not twist, pull, wring, squeeze or rub the garment. Simply lay the garment evenly on a soft towel, and roll it up like a sushi roll. Apply pressure to the top of the roll to remove moisture. Continue until the garment is slightly damp and not soaking wet

a picture of a man rolling a blue silk shirt in a soft towel on a flat surface

7. Air Dry

Air dry silk in a cool, dry place out of contact with direct sunlight. Do not put the garment in direct sunlight and do not use the dryer. Either hang the garment or lay flat on an indoor drying rack. 

a picture of a blue silk shirt hanging outside in the shade to air dry

Tips and Things to Avoid

  • DO NOT wash silk with chlorine bleach, as it can damage the silk fibers. Use only silk laundry detergent or detergent for delicates.
  • DO NOT dry silk in direct sunlight. This can cause damage to the silk fibers and can also cause the color to fade. Store and dry your silk in a cool dry place.
  • DO NOT tumble dry your silk in a dryer. This will damage your garment in several different ways. Stay away from the dryer when washing silk.

How to Iron Silk

To iron silk, first turn your silk garment inside out so that you can iron from the dull backside of the garment. You must also use a spray bottle to add moisture to the garment. 

Set the iron to the lowest heat setting and use a cotton pressing cloth such as a bandana to cover the area you wish to iron. 

Proceed to press the iron down on the area you wish to flatten. Do not slide the iron across the fabric as you may do for clothing made from other fabrics such as cotton or polyester.

Learn the complete step-by-step process by reading How to Iron Silk

Related: How to Get Wrinkles Out of Silk

How to Wash Silk FAQ

Can silk be washed at home?

Silk can be washed at home if your care label allows for it. Some silk garments need dry clean only, however if your care label specifies that you may machine or hand wash your silk garment, then you will be able to wash your silk at home.

What happens to silk when you wash it?

When you wash silk properly the garment will come out looking shiny and feeling soft. Washing silk will also remove dirt, scents, and stains, if done properly.

Does silk shrink?

Silk can shrink when washed only if you mistakenly use a hot water setting. Silk should only be washed in cool or lukewarm water at a temperature not exceeding 77°F/25°C, which will not cause a shrinking effect. nor 

Can silk be washed with water?

Yes, silk can be washed with water. When washing silk be sure to use water with a temperature not exceeding 77°F or 25°C.

Can you iron silk?

Yes, you can iron silk. To iron silk first turn your garment inside out, and then use a spray bottle to add moisture. Turn the iron on to the lowest heat setting and place a cotton bandana or pillowcase over top of the silk cloth. Press the iron down atop the bandana and adjust the placement as necessary.

Can you hand wash silk?

Yes, you can hand wash silk. Fill a basin with lukewarm water no hotter than 77°F/25°C and submerge the garment for 3 minutes. Add a silk laundry detergent and use your hands to gently move the garment around in the water. Once finished, use an absorbent towel to remove excess water for the silk fabric. 

Can you put silk in the dryer