Cleaning Vintage Silk Scarves

Gerard LY Paris Silk Scarf

Gerard LY Paris Silk Scarf

Silk is made from silk worms and is both a very strong fabric and a very delicate one. Most silk clothing items are best dry cleaned, but silk scarves are small enough and easy to handle so that they can safely be hand washed. I found several sites with detailed directions that I’ll list later for you. But first, here are some points to consider.

  • The most important thing is that you need to handle the wet fabric very carefully because if it is old and frail the weight of the water can cause rips in it. This means machine washing even at the gentlest cycle is out.
  • Never use chlorine bleach. It will dissolve the fabric.
  • Do not use biological detergents.
  • Do not leave the fabric in water to soak.
  • Use a gentle detergent and cool or cold water.
  • The older vintage scarves sometimes have very unstable dyes. The vintage (pre-1970’s) burgundy, black and greens can run very easily and should not be washed. Earlier yellow dye is also very mobile. Do not attempt to wash plisse scarves.
  • Do not let two layers of wet silk stay in contact as you may well get dye transfer between them.
  • Do not hang or drape wet scarves to dry

baarscarfAnd now the promised list of directions:

The two I trust most in rank order:

  1. The Secret of How to Clean Silk
  2. How to Wash Silk Scarves

Other opinions:

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