How to Wash a Silk Scarf

How to Wash a Silk Scarf

A silk scarf is an elegant piece of clothing that can be used for special occasions as well as everyday wear. 

Although silk can be difficult to maintain, it would be a shame to store such a beautiful item and never wear it.

Wearing your silk scarf regularly will mean washing it to keep it fresh, and that’s when things can get difficult. No need to panic though, this guide will walk you through how to wash your silk scarf and some dos and don’ts to keep it looking its best for as long as possible. 

Can You Put a Silk Scarf in the Washing Machine?

Can You Put a Silk Scarf in the Washing Machine

It’s generally not recommended to put any garments made of silk in the washing machine. However, check the care label as you may find that the instructions do allow machine washing.

If this is the case, be sure to put your scarf in a mesh bag so that other items don’t snag on the silk. You should wash your silk scarf with other delicate items and avoid heavy clothes such as trousers or hoodies. 

Make sure to wash your silk on a low temperature, using a silk-safe or delicate detergent, and wash it on a delicates wash. If your machine doesn’t have this option, it’s best to avoid machine washing altogether. 

That said, even if your silk item can be washed in a machine, it’s always better to avoid this method as doing so will keep the silk in better condition. 

Silk is a delicate fibre and as such, it doesn’t do well bumping around in the washing machine. Not to mention, it can get snagged on other items of clothing and even lose its colour.  


Can You Hand Wash Silk when it Says “Dry Clean Only”?

If the care label on your silk scarf indicates “Dry clean only”, you are taking a risk if you wash it yourself. If this is an item that you are particularly attached to, you should only take it to the dry cleaners.

However, sometimes you can’t make it to the dry cleaners and you need your silk scarf right away. The good news is, it’s generally considered safe to wash dry-clean only items by hand. 


How to Hand Wash and Dry a Silk Scarf

Hand Wash and Dry a Silk Scarf

By following the steps below, your silk scarf will be clean and fresh in no time, but more importantly, will remain vibrant and in great condition. 

  1. Firstly, be sure to remove any jewellery from your hands and make sure your nails are not too long. If this isn’t possible, wear gloves when washing. 
  2. Wash your hands, or make sure the gloves are clean, as you don’t want to soil the scarf while handling it. 
  3. Wipe down the bucket or basin you’ll be washing the scarf in as, again, you don’t want any dirt to transfer to it. 
  4. Fill the basin with cool to lukewarm water.
  5. Add a few drops of delicate detergent or special silk detergent and mix it into the water. Follow the instructions on the packaging for the amount of product to use. 
  6. Let the scarf soak for around 5 minutes.
  7. Then wash the scarf in the water by swirling it around gently.
  8. Remove the scarf from the basin and run it under a cold tap to get rid of any excess detergent.
  9. Ball it up to remove excess water, don’t wring it out as this could damage the silk.
  10. Lay the scarf flat on a towel and roll the towel around the scarf to absorb any excess moisture. 
  11. Hang it to dry outside (out of direct sunlight) or on a drying rack indoors. 


Care Tips for your Silk Scarf

Care Tips for Silk Scarf

To keep your silk scarf in the best condition for as long as possible, there are some further care tips that you can follow:

  • Don’t dry your silk scarf in the sun as this can bleach the item and fade the colour
  • Don’t use bleach as, again, this will fade the vibrant colouring and at worst, can cause discolouration.
  • Don’t tumble dry your scarf as the high heat and vigorous movement will damage the delicate fibres.
  • If you need to iron your silk scarf, choose the lowest setting on your iron and place another item, such as a cloth, between the iron and the scarf. 
  • When not wearing your scarf, store it in a sealed bag or box as moths are attracted to natural materials and may cause holes in it if left to hang in a wardrobe.