Ironing silk

Silk Is Stiff After Washing – Causes and Solutions

Are you struggling to wash your silk garments? Even if you follow the instructions perfectly, are your silks coming out stiff?

Well, don’t worry. Stiff silks are a common problem. No matter what you do, it feels like silk can always be stiff after washing. Well, there’s something that you can do to soften up your silks.

Here are some common reasons that silk can be stiff after washing and the solutions to these problems.


Detergent Can Stiffen Silk

Even if you are hand washing your silks are per the instructions, if you are using a detergent, they can become stiff. Using a castile soap like Dr Bronner’s instead can help a lot.

Even after air drying, though, your silk may still be a bit stiff. However, using castile soap will make the silk soften up a lot quicker.


Choose the Right Detergent

laundry detergent types

On the topic of detergent, choosing the right one to wash silks in is important. Silk reacts to alkaline detergents. These can cause the silk to become rough and even cause the fabric to break down.

So, when washing silk, even by hand, ensure that you use a mild detergent. Some people even make their own detergents just for silk.

You can use shampoo, a dash of vinegar and water. This creates an excellent solution to wash silk in and pretty much eliminates stiffness after washing.


Air Drying

air drying silk

Air drying silk often makes it stiff. One solution to this is to shake it a few times while it’s drying. Most silk garments will become a lot softer once they have been worked and exercised.

So, shaking it a few times while it’s drying can help to speed this process up a bit. Also, you can pop it in the tumble dryer for a few minutes on a low temp. Give it a shake after this, and you’ll notice a difference.


Hard Water Area?

hard water and limescale build up

If you live in a hard water area, where the water has a high calcium carbonate content, this can remain in the silk.

Don’t worry, you can remove it with some water with a dash of vinegar added. You can then use an iron on a low heat to loosen the fabric. Lots of people prefer to use an iron on silk rather than a dryer. This is simply because of how delicate silk is.

Using an iron with any of these methods will help to loosen up your silks.


Beat Your Silk

Once your silk is completely dry, you can give it a good beating. Find a rounded corner in your home, you can use your kitchen countertop or corner of your bath, for example.

Run the silk over the corner and give it a good smack. The silk must be completely dry, though. When silk is wet, it is extremely delicate!

We hope this look at stiff silk and some common solutions to getting it back to wonderfully soft and smooth has been helpful. Please check out the rest of our laundry articles for more solutions to common washing problems.

Check out our video for even more silk care tips: