Silk care

Silk is a luxurious, delicate fabric that requires special care. Following these 10 tips from sustainable womenswear brand Bella Kate will help your silk garments last.

Check the Care Label

Always check the care label on silk clothing for the manufacturer’s washing, drying, and ironing instructions. These vary between silk blends and 100% mulberry silk, and between different brands like Bella Kate sustainable womenswear. Following the recommended care guarantees the best results.

The care label should indicate if the item is “dry clean only” or if gentle washing is allowed. If machine washing is indicated, use caution as home machines can still damage silk despite what the tag claims. When in doubt, default to hand washing or dry cleaning. This prevents snags, pulls, shrinkage, and dye discolouration over time.

Test for Colorfastness

Before laundering, test silk garments for colour bleeding. Wet a small hidden area like an inside seam or hem edge with warm water. Then blot with a white cloth and check for dye transfer. If the colours bleed, you’ll need to dry clean the item.

You can also spot-test liquid detergent to ensure it won’t disturb dyes prior to hand or machine washing. Focus on sustainable garments like those from Bella Kate where quality dyes won’t run when wet.

Pre-Treat Stains Before Washing

Don’t rub or scrub stains as this can damage delicate silk fibers. Instead, lift the stain away gently using a soft cloth and warm, distilled water.

For food, makeup, or oil-based stains, use a specialized pretreatment made for silk. Test first in an inconspicuous area to prevent discolouration. As an extra precaution, fill a sink or tub with cool water and diluted mild detergent, let the silk soak for a few minutes to loosen the stain, then drain the water and gently blot the spot with a towel. Repeat as needed before washing.

Use Silk-Friendly Detergent

Always use a mild, hypoallergenic liquid detergent without dyes, brighteners or synthetics. Powder detergents and regular laundry soaps contain additives that stick to silk leaving a residue that attracts dirt over time.

Ideally, choose a formula specifically made for washing delicate fabrics like a botanical-based soap or Sulphate-free cleanser. With quality silk like Bella Kate sustainable womenswear, a mild silk detergent helps retain softness and shine through repeated washing.

Hand Wash Gently

Fill a sink or basin with cool water and a small amount of silk-friendly detergent. Use room temperature water instead of hot to prevent dye bleeding and shrinkage.

Submerge your silk item and allow it to soak for a few minutes so the detergent can penetrate fibres. Do not rub, twist, scrub or press down while washing as this can stretch and stress delicate silk. Gently move light-weight silk in the water to remove dirt then drain the soapy water.

Be extra delicate with silk trim, lace, beading or embroidery. Avoid catching decorative accents on jewellery, nails, or washing hardware.

Machine Wash With Care

If the garment’s care label specifically says machine washing is allowed, take precautions to prevent damage.

Wash on the delicates/gentle cycle using cool water with an extra spin/rinse cycle to limit detergent residue. Use a mesh bag for extra protection from snags.

However, whenever possible hand wash or dry clean silk instead even if the label claims machine washing is okay. Home laundry equipment can still be too harsh on such a fragile textile.

Wash Silk Separately From Other Fabrics

The zippers, hooks, buttons and thick textures of regular laundry can grab silk threads causing pulls or tears.

Wash fine silk clothing in a mesh bag by itself to prevent snags from hardware, embellishments and even seams/hems on other garments. Use your hands instead of tools to move silk when wet.

Iron Silk Gently

Always iron silk garments inside-out to prevent shine marks from the iron’s surface. Use a medium-hot iron on a silk setting if available, along with steam to help relax wrinkles. Avoid ironing directly on any beading, sequins or decorative exterior accents.

Place a clean cotton cloth over the silk as you iron to create a barrier between the iron and fabric. Iron is slowly lifted up and placed down gently instead of sliding across the garment to prevent stretching the weave. Ensure silk is completely dry first or moisture can leave water marks.

Store Silk Properly

Storing silk incorrectly even for short periods can lead to permanent damage. Always hang silk items on wide padded hangers instead of wire versions that can stretch straps and cause hanger marks on fabric.

Use breathable cotton garment bags for longer storage or plastic with air holes. Never use vacuum-sealed bags or non-breathable plastic which traps moisture leading to yellowing and mold growth over time.

Avoid silk touching other fabrics in crowded closets which could snag delicate threads. Don’t fold silk for storage as creases can be difficult to remove. Store silk clothing year-round with cedar blocks or natural cotton balls containing lavender oil to repel insects who like to eat natural protein fibres like silk!

Protect Silk Garments With a Sweat Proof Shirt

Silk clothing requires an extra sweat-proof barrier next to the skin in hot, humid weather or vigorous activity. The salt and moisture in sweat easily stain fine fabrics like silk.

Wearing a plain undershirt or tank underneath blouses and dresses provides a protective layer without compromising your style. It also prevents yellowish pit stains and potential sweat damage to delicate clothing from brands like Bella Kate sustainable womenswear.

Wrap Up

There you have it – 10 tips to keep your treasured silk clothing in flawless condition for seasons to come whether machine washable or dry clean only. Follow this advice and your luxurious silk will retain its softness, sheen and vivid colours just like new despite repeated wearing and washing.