Caring For Your Beautiful Silk Scarves

Caring For Your Beautiful Silk Scarves

A Silk scarf is an investment - you must properly care for it to get many years of good use from it. Keeping your scarf clean is one way to prolong its life. If your scarf has special washing instructions on the label, be sure to always follow them. Proper care is very important. If scarves are not taken care of properly they can be ruined. The best cleaning method by far is hand washing in a delicate soap. It is much gentler on silk than some of the other cleaning methods. Dry cleaning is comprised of harsh chemicals, and this could affect or damage your scarf.



  1. Fill a sink or large bowl with tepid water. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the water and create suds. (Adding a small amount of table salt will help prevent dye from running.)
  2. Submerge your scarf fully in the water. Swish the scarf around for about five minutes. Gently knead and rub the scarf in the water.
  3. Gently squeeze out the excess water...DO NOT WRING IT!
  4. Tumble the scarf loosely in your cupped hands while running water from the cold tap over it.  Squeeze and run it under the tap until the water runs clear through the scarf and there are no suds left.
  5. Fill the sink or container with cool water and add a small amount of distilled white vinegar. Submerge the scarf. This will remove soap residue and keep the silk shiny.
  6. Rinse the scarf under cool, clean water until all soap and vinegar is removed.
  7. Squeeze water out of your scarf – be gentle! Don’t wring the fabric too hard.
  8. Lay your scarf on a towel and roll the towel; this will eliminate a good amount of dampness so it can dry.
  9. Remove wrinkles while the scarf is still wet by using an iron on a low setting. It is easiest to do the ironing straight onto the scarf lying on the the towel. You do not need to press hard, just let the heat and steam do all the work. Start ironing the water out from the centre and towards the edges and up to the hems, making sure not to go over them.  You will find as an added bonus, the washing process will plump up the hems.
  10. You can apply a small amount of spray starch to the back of the scarf before the final ironing on the front side. Doing it this way prevents the starch sticking to the iron base plate.  Try not to pull out the corners otherwise you will pucker the hem stitching...iron straight up to the hem, not along it
  11. Leave the scarf open flat or folded once over an airer overnight to ensure that the hem is quite dry before storage.

Useful Tips

  • Never hang a scarf to dry – this could damage its fibres!
  • Before you use any type of cleaner on your scarf, you should do a spot test to see if the dyes within the scarf have a potential to bleed or run
  • There are stain removers that are specifically designed for silks. These removers are bleach-free in most cases. You should still use this type of stain remover carefully and with great caution. Use a cotton bud to apply the remover to the area, and then wash away with a damp cloth. Some stains can be removed with water alone.
  • Silk is a delicate material that needs proper care and handling. After every use, hang your silk scarf over a hanger with a pants bar or on a skirt hanger. This prevents the scarf from getting wrinkles and creases. Pegging will damage the hem.
  • Some silk scarves are Dry Clean Only – please check the care instructions carefully!
  • A small quantity of white vinegar in the final rinse brightens the light colours and dull vintage whites.
  • There are a lot of proprietary fabric cleaners and stain removers.  These should be used with caution as many contain bleaches which will remove the dye as well.  They are particularly risky to use on large single coloured areas of the scarf as small amounts of dye loss with the stain will show.
  • Never EVER even think about using biological detergents or soaking your scarves!
  • Don’t put your silk scarf in the washing machine
  • Never put your scarf in the dryer
  • Never expose your scarves to direct sunlight - Intense heat can damage the silk fibres and direct sunlight can make a fabric lose its colour.
  • Harsh chemicals can compromise silk fibres and can even cause stains or unwanted spots. That’s why it’s always best to keep the bleach away from your scarf when washing it. And always remember not to spray perfume onto it too.
  • Never iron your scarf while it is dry. Iron while damp. Don’t spot damp, as this will create marks.
  • Never use high heat when ironing silk. Make sure iron is set on ‘cool’. 
  • Don’t wash with other colours