washing silk with shampoo

Can You Wash Silk with Shampoo?

Delicate fabrics, such as silk, can sometimes be stressful to wash. There are labels with warning signs and buckets of information out there instructing us to be careful not to cause any damage. So, what do we do?! 

Luckily, most modern washing machines now have ‘hand wash’ settings, which are perfect for most delicates (read the care label first!). 

However, when it comes to silk, if you’d rather take things into your own hands, shampoo is the way to go! 

It might not seem like the obvious option, but works really well. Here is how!

Silk is a natural fibre, consisting of amino acids, meaning it is structured in a similar way to our hair. Therefore, using shampoo is really effective. 

However, ensure that your shampoo of choice is designed to be gentle, for example baby shampoo. That way, the silk won’t become damaged.

handwashing silk with shampoo

Here are some simple steps to washing silk with shampoo:

  1. Test a small area of the material. If the silk dyes don’t bleed then you’re good to go. If they do then stop where you are and head straight to the dry cleaners!
  2. Fill a tub or basin with cold water. If the water is soft in your area, then move onto step 3. If you live in an area with hard water then add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda
  3. Add a dollop of shampoo into the water and swill it around.
  4. Place your silk items into the tub and gently swish them around for a couple of minutes.
  5. Remove the items and empty the tub. 
  6. Refill the tub with cold water but don’t add shampoo this time (still add bicarbonate of soda if you have hard water).
  7. Place the items back into the tub and swish them around again to rinse off any shampoo.
  8. Remove and place your silk garments onto a clean towel to soak up any water (make sure not to twist or ring out the silk – let it drip dry).
  9. Hang your items to air dry.

air drying silk

Easy-peasy! Washing silk is hopefully no longer as much of a risk as you thought! 

However, if you’re not confident to do it yourself then adding a silk friendly detergent to a hand wash machine cycle (care label permitting), or a trip to the dry cleaners will also do the job. Enjoy!