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How to Wash a Silk Scarf? A Comprehensive Guide for Washing & Caring for

Nowadays, the silk scarf is recognized as a type of wearable art. It not only possesses great functionality but also assumes unparalleled aesthetics and incomparable texture. Though once limited to the noble, a silk scarf can now be in everyone’s closet. However, many customers roast it for the hardship of cleaning and caring for it. Some people may spend a fortune on the dry cleaning fee for it. Do not sweat it. The following guide walks you through the handwashing of silk scarves.  You can clean your silk scarf at home and keep it like a new one without a steep fee.

Can you Wash a 100% Silk Scarf?

The answer is “Yes”, of course. But here is the premise – you are well versed in its know-how and can pay extra attention to it. You can start this tricky work from 3 things.

  • Check the care label. Most pure silk scarves are labeled “dry clean recommended” while others “dry clean only”. You can hand wash the former ones. But you should follow the advice to send the latter to a trustworthy dry cleaner.
  • Pick proper detergent and stain remover. Silk fabrics are delicate and can not withstand harsh cleansers. You had better prepare a detergent and a stain remover specialized in silk cleaning. Cleaning products marked “delicate” are also acceptable, for they are safe for most natural fibers. Pay attention, normal brighteners, softeners and chlorine bleach products are never your choice. They break down the protein structure and dissolve fibers. Your silk scarf may lose luster and shape, and fade dye and pattern after touching these products.
  • Do spot tests. To further ensure your cleaning is safe for your silk scarf,  you can do spot tests for dye bleed and detergent safety. First, dip a cotton swab or cotton ball with a little water. Then dab it at a corner of your silk scarf. If it does not ooze any dye, it is colorfast and safe for washing. Second, dab your silk scarf with a little detergent, at an unnoticeable place. Make sure that it can accept the detergent you choose.  

How to Wash the Silk Scarf by Hand?

Pretreat Stains

A silk scarf is liable to stains. To begin your cleaning, check the stains and pretreat them first. Dab droplets of stain remover at the stained area for 10 to 15 minutes. Then wipe it with a clean cloth. If the stains remain, repeat this process several times.

Prepare a Soapy Water

Prepare a clean sink or basin. Fill it with cool water (or lukewarm water under 30 ℃) and add a proper amount of detergent. Remember, less is better than more. Your silk scarf is vulnerable to chemical exposure of high concentration. Swirl the water to distribute the detergent evenly.

Submerge and Agitate the Silk Scarf

You had better wash your silk scarf alone. If with other items, wash it with silk items in similar colors. Put it into the soapy water. Massage your silk scarf, and manipulate it in feather-light motions. Do not submerge it for too long. Keep it to about 5 minutes. Oversoaking harms silk fibers.

Rinse the Silk Scarf, Again and Again

Rinse the silk scarf in running water. Or keep changing the water in the sink for more than 3 times. Try your best to get rid of detergents, since a smidgeon of chemical residue on the cards undermines the fibers.

Remove Excess Water

Lay flat your silk scarf on a clean and big towel. Cover it with another towel. Then impose pressure on every corner tooth and nail. You should remove excess moisture as much as you can. Avoid wringing and wrinkling during this process.

Dry the Silk Scarf

After moping up the water, set about drying immediately. You can air-dry it with a cool airflow from a hair dryer or a fan. It reduces the chance of leaving a watermark and restores its luxury texture to the maximum.  Afterward, hang-dry your silk scarf on a hanger. Do not use a perishable wooden hanger or a rustable metal one. Or your scarf may get stained. Most importantly, hang it in a shady place and avoid blazing sunshine. It fades and yellows under direct sun.

How Often to Wash Silk Scarves

A silk scarf has an intimate touch with your neck. It is likely to adhere to skin care products, dead skin cells, dust and bacteria in the air, etc. The accumulation of these substances may result in skin problems, such as acne. Therefore, you should clean your silk scarf frequently if you always wear it, about once a week.

Dry cleaning is a requisite when your silk scarf gets stubborn stains. You may try every method but cope with a stain in vain. At this point, you should make an appointment with a professional dry cleaner.

Ironage and Storage

Ironing smoothens the creases and wrinkles of your silk scarf. Moreover, it helps to restore the texture and sheen when you do it after washing. Here are some tips for ironing.

  • Iron a silk scarf when it is damp.
  • Add a pressing cloth(or a clean cotton ) between the iron and the item.
  • Iron it in a methodical motion. Do not iron the same area repeatedly.
  • If your scarf differs on two sides. Iron the reversed side.
  • Do not iron the hand-rolled hems. It causes crumples.

Proper storage extends the use life of your silk scarf. Store it in an airy closet, with soft tissue to pads where your silk scarf folds. You can also put some cedar balls and lavender sachets against mold and bad smell.

Tips for Maintenance of Silk Scarves

  • Avoid contact with substances harmful to silk fabrics, such as perfume spray and smoke.
  • You can submerge your silk scarf in water with ¼ cup of distilled vinegar to soften and whiten it.
  • Do not tie a tight knot. The power of stretching destroys the fibers of your silk scarf.


Will the Color Fade on My Silk Scarf while Washing?

For a pure silk scarf, color fades more or less during wash. Silk is so delicate that dying in high temperatures is impossible. Thus it is bad at fixing its dye. However, Proper washing and maintenance can lessen the fade to a low level. So follow the rules and protect your silk scarf.

Can I Wash Silk Scarves in a Washing Machine?

No, you can’t. Never wash your silk scarves with a washer. Because your expensive, beloved scarf is doomed to lose its sheen and fade its color if you do that.

Can I Put a Silk Scarf in a Dryer?

No, you can’t. Silk scarf can not withstand high temperatures. It may become yellow and even break down in a dryer.

How to Bleach Or Whiten a Silk Scarf?

Prepare a mild oxygen bleach. Blend it with cool water. Then saturate your silk scarf with the bleaching solution for about 1 hour. If it whitens to the degree that matches your expectations, rinse it up. If not, repeat the process.

What Happens if You Wash Silk Scarf with Normal Detergent?

Its inner protein gets hurt. And then color may fade and its lifespan shortens. What will happen if someone washes hair with normal detergent?  Silk has a similar fiber structure to human hair. Normal detergents are formulated to have a strong decontamination power. So they are too harsh for silk scarves. 


A silk scarf is a superior choice for both beauty and function. However, for cleaning and caring it, it is better to err on the side of caution. You are investing to last its best condition and usage life with a bit more meticulous attention. At Sinosilk, silk scarves are among the essentials of our collection. We can provide you with various professional custom services. If you are looking for custom-made silk scarves, you will not go wrong with us.

More Resource:

How to Wash Silk BonnetsSource: Sinosilk

How to Wash Silk SheetsSource: Sinosilk

How to Wash Silk Pillowcases Source: Sinosilk

How to Clean Silk TiesSource: Sinosilk

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