Few fabrics feel more luxurious on the skin than silk – a natural and precious fibre. Caring for your silk items properly will ensure their enduring place in your wardrobe, season after season.
There are a few things you can do at home to ensure your silks are washed safely and effectively. “Hand-washing 100% silk garments in ‘just warm’ water, around the same temperature as your skin or slightly cooler, with a high quality and gentle eco-detergent,” is the recommendation of Julian Hanson of the Daniel Hanson team. According to Julian: “You can also add a small capful of distilled white vinegar to the sink while you hand-wash – this will help to re-condition the silk fibres and ensure the lustrous finish lasts longer.” When time is of the essence, machine washing is permitted – with care. Olivia von Halle product director Felicity Henderson suggests that “a gentle hand-wash cycle on a cool setting can offer good results, providing a specialist detergent is used in conjunction”. Whether you hand- or machine-wash your silks, Felicity recommends exercising caution. Avoid over-washing your garments – this, she says, “will help to preserve their colour and quality”.
After washing, the most important thing to remember is that silk should never be tumble-dried. “Not only is this process likely to change the way the fabric looks and feels,” says Felicity Henderson, product director at Olivia von Halle, “it’s possible that the fit and shape of the garment could be altered too.” The solution? According to Daniel Hanson’s Julian Hanson: “Wring out excess water gently and air-dry silks on a good quality, broad-shouldered wooden hanger.” Gently steaming or ironing to remove creases can, says Julian, “help to remove residue caused by washing and restore lustre”. What of storage? “Silk is relatively low maintenance,” offers Felicity, “but we do recommend keeping it away from direct sunlight and in a dry environment to prevent premature fading or colour change.”
Extra delicate silks should be treated as such – apply according care and attention to intimate garments such as lingerie. Specifically, advises Leila Habibi, Myla product and supply chain director: “wired bras should be hand-washed to prevent the wire breaking through the casing”. Temperature is also key when caring for more delicate items. “With silk, the colour can fade easily, therefore water should be 20-degrees,” says Leila.
Luxury is for life – if cared for properly. Knowing how to store investment pieces such as cashmere and silk, or understanding how to wash denim to preserve its shape, are valuable lessons to learn as you grow your wardrobe.Discover