Silk is a soft, lustrous fiber taken from the cocoon of the silkworm. Silk garments are delicate and can be easily damaged. Read the care label in your garments. Some lightweight silks are hand washable in cool water with a mild detergent. Rinse several times to remove suds and never wring to remove water. Wringing can break the fibers. Dry flat.
If you have mishandled washable silk, it can lose its sheen and become dull. You can restore some of the shine by following these steps. The fabric will improve but will never be quite the same.
In a large sink or bucket, add one-fourth cup of white distilled vinegar to each gallon of lukewarm water. Mix well. Completely submerge the garment and swish around to completely soak the dress. Remove from the vinegar water and rinse several times in clean water. Do not wring!
Spread the garment on a heavy clean white towel and roll up to absorb the water. Repeat with clean towels until much of the water is absorbed. Hang to air dry using a plastic hanger - no wood that can stain. Do not hang over direct heat or in the sun.
Iron the garment on the wrong side while still damp using a very low heat.
Professional cleaning is recommended for heavier and structured silk garments.
Extremely high temperatures when ironing can scorch silk. The scorching or yellowing occurs as the fibers begin to burn. Burned fibers cannot be revived.
Since silk is made of protein, it will dissolve in chlorine bleach. Even dilute solutions of chlorine bleach will cause permanent yellowing, color loss and weakening of silk. All stain removal products should be tested in an inconspicuous spot. For best results, take a stained silk garment to a professional dry cleaner.
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