Should You Hang or Fold Silk? Tips for Storing Silk Garments

Silk is a luxurious and delicate fabric that requires special care when it comes to storage.

As a silk garment owner myself, I know the struggles of preventing wrinkles and keeping these precious items in good condition between wears.

In this article, I’ll share my top tips on the best practices for hanging versus folding silk clothes.

We’ll look at the unique pros and cons of both storage methods and factors to consider when deciding whether to hang or fold specific silk pieces.

My goal is to help you maintain the integrity and extend the lifespan of your favorite silk blouses, dresses, scarves, and more. Let’s dive in!

silk hung on padded hangers

Hanging Silk Garments: Pros and Cons

Let’s start with the pros and cons of hanging silk clothing in your closet:

Benefits of Hanging Silk

  • Allows air circulation around the fabric to prevent moisture buildup
  • Minimizes wrinkles and creases compared to folding
  • Maintains the garment’s shape over time

For Example:

  • I hang my silk cocktail dresses in breathable cotton garment bags. This prevents wrinkles while still allowing airflow.
  • My silk blouses keep their shape nicely when hung neatly on padded hangers. The shoulders don’t get misshapen like with wire hangers.

Drawbacks of Hanging Silk

  • Can potentially stretch out delicate fabrics
  • Risk of hanger marks along the shoulders
  • Scarves and lightweight fabrics may slide off plastic hangers

For Instance:

  • I noticed my silk camisole started stretching from the weight of gravity after hanging multiple wears.
  • The slippy satin blouse keeps sliding off cheap hangers, risking damage.
hanging silk garments in a suitcase

How to Hang Silk Garments Properly

To enjoy the benefits of hanging while avoiding drawbacks, use these best practices:

Choose Quality Hangers

  • Padded hangers prevent imprints on silk shoulders
  • Non-slip hangers keep slippery fabrics in place
  • Wide, horizontal hangers evenly distribute the weight

Hang Certain Pieces with Extra Care

  • Use multiple hangers for long dresses to reduce stretch risk
  • Hang camisoles and lightweight fabrics for a limited time only
  • Consider specialized hangers for strapless or asymmetric garments

Technique Tips by Garment Type

  • Dresses: Use two shoulder hangers for thin straps to prevent tear. For floor-length gowns, add a bottom hanger.
  • Blouses: Face any delicate embellishments inward toward the garment to avoid snags.
  • Pants: Clip onto cuffs instead of hanging by the waistband to minimize creasing.
  • Scarves: Never use wire or plastic hangers! The rough edges risk damaging delicate silk. Use a specialty scarf hanger or roll around an acid-free cardboard tube for storage instead.

I’ve found the best way to store old silk to prevent it from deteriorating over time.

silk on padded hangers

Folding Silk Garments: Pros and Cons

Now let’s explore the pros and cons of folding those delicate silk items:

Benefits of Folding Silk

  • Avoids risk of hanger damage to shoulders
  • Saves closet space with compact storage
  • Allows gentle machine washing for wrinkle removal

For Example:

  • I fold my silk shirts neatly in a drawer to prevent imprints from hangers.
  • Folding scarves inside acid-free tissue saves me space and keeps the fabrics protected.

Drawbacks of Folding Silk

  • Higher risk of wrinkles and creases forming
  • Folding and unfolding continuously can weaken fibers
  • Items can slide around unprotected in drawers

For Instance:

  • My lightweight silk blouses developed stubborn creases from folding.
  • The constant folding and unfolding of my silk dress at the waist weakened the threads noticeably.
silk items carefully folded and stored in a textile box

Best Practices for Folding Silk

Use these methods to keep folded silks wrinkle-free and damage-free:

Fold Garments Minimally

  • Fold items just enough to fit neatly into acid-free storage boxes or archival tissue paper
  • Refold along different creases each time to distribute wear
  • Unfold fully and allow the silk to relax before rehanging or re-wearing

Fold Certain Pieces with Added Caution

  • Avoid frequent folding of lightweight fabrics like camisoles and slips
  • Use tissue/acid-free paper between crease folds on blouses, dresses
  • Never tightly pack or overstuff storage containers

Technique Tips by Garment Type

  • Blouses: Fold with the front facing up to prevent interior snags on buttons, embellishments, etc. Smooth tissue against delicate fabrics.
  • Dresses: Hang on a padded hanger after each wear; only fold for transport. For fold creases, use archival paper and avoid re-creasing the same spot.
  • Pants: Fold with waistband and side seams aligned neatly; line cuffs with tissue paper to minimize imprint marks.
  • Scarves: Never tightly roll/fold! Wrap loosely around acid-free cardboard tubes or gently place in archival boxes with tissue layers.
packing silk in luggage bag

Deciding Which Silk Garments to Hang vs. Fold

So how do you choose? Here are my top criteria for deciding whether to hang or fold specific silk items:

Garment TypeRecommended Storage Method
Frequent wears (blouses, shirts)Hang to maintain shape
Special occasion items (gowns, cocktail dresses)Hang to prevent creases
Sheer and lightweight fabrics (camisoles, slips)Hang minimally or fold in tissue
Intricate embellishments and beadworkFold to protect decorations
Scarves, cravats, and necktiesFold in archival tissue or specialty boxes

I also take into account factors like:

  • Garment weight: Hang heavier silk pieces, fold lighter items
  • Fabric type: Hang crease-resistant fabrics like shantung or charmeuse; fold crease-prone fabrics like georgette
  • Frequency of use: Hang frequently worn pieces, fold specialty occasion garments
  • Available storage space: Hang when closet space allows; fold to save room

Examples Best Suited for Hanging

Items like blouses, shirts, day dresses, and cocktail garments are ideal candidates for hanging storage.

The airflow minimizes wrinkles in essential everyday pieces, while hanging special occasion silks keeps them crease-free and ready for your next event!

Examples Best Suited for Folding

More delicate fabrics like silk camisoles, slips, scarves, and wraps are often better off gently folded in acid-free archival tissue or specialty storage boxes.

This protects fragile embellishments from snags while taking up little space.

folded silk sheets next to a muslin storage bag

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When storing your precious silks, be sure to avoid these damaging mistakes:

  • Wire or plastic hangers – These create imprints and risk snagging delicate fabrics.
  • Direct sunlight exposure – This fades colors and weakens silk fibers over time.
  • Tight rolling or folding – Over-compressing silk results in stubborn creases and cracks.
  • Improper storage containers – Non-archival boxes and tissues can damage fabric.
  • Leaving silk wet – Allow all garments to fully air dry before storing to prevent mildew.
  • Hanging camisoles long-term – The extra weight stretches out delicate straps.

Special Considerations for Silk Scarves

As accessories, silk scarves require unique storage considerations:

Should You Hang or Fold Scarves?

Folding is best to minimize wrinkles and prevent fraying ends or lost shape from gravity.

Best Practices for Storing Scarves

  • Wrap loosely around acid-free cardboard tubes
  • Place in archival boxes between tissue paper sheets
  • Fold into acid-free gift boxes or specialty scarf cases
  • Never use wire or plastic hangers, or hang them for extended periods
rolled silk scarves

By keeping these fabric care tips in mind and avoiding damage-causing storage methods, your beloved silk pieces can maintain their integrity and remain timeless wardrobe staples for decades to come!

Can you steam silk clothing while hanging to remove wrinkles between wears?

Light steaming is safe for some silks, but test an inconspicuous area first.

Tightly woven fabrics like shantung and dupioni can handle high heat, while more delicate chiffons and georgettes require a cooler steam setting.

When steaming hanging items, keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away to prevent water damage.

silk shirts steaming treatment

What is the best way to store silk if you have limited closet and drawer space?

For those short on storage space, vacuum storage bags are a great solution for delicates like silk.

Carefully fold items in archival tissue paper first before gently compressing the air out of the bag.

Just be cautious not to overpack bags to the point of crushing the fabrics inside. Lay bags flat instead of hanging to maximize storage.

If you’re considering storing silks in a drawer, here are my top tips to ensure they stay perfect.

How often should you rearrange folded silk items to avoid permanent creases?

To minimize permanent creases on folded silk garments, it’s best practice to refold items along different creases every 2-3 months.

Gently smooth out any stubborn wrinkles and allow the fabric to relax before returning to folded storage. More delicate silks prone to wrinkling may need re-folding monthly.

folding silk garment along natural creases

Conclusions: Follow These Silk Storage Tips

I hope these suggestions for hanging versus folding silk garments have given you ample ideas to implement at home!

The key takeaways include:

  • Hang frequently worn silk pieces on quality padded or non-slip hangers
  • Fold special occasion items loosely using archival tissue paper
  • Choose storage methods based on garment type, weight and use
  • Always allow the silk to fully air dry before storing
  • Prevent sunlight damage, moisture, and permanent creases

By keeping these tips in mind and handling precious silks with care, you can preserve the integrity and extend the lifespan of these delicate fabrics.

Give your wardrobe some TLC with proper storage techniques!

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