Ironing Fake Silk: Essential Tips for Synthetic Garments

Welcome to my guide on properly ironing fake silk!

As someone who loves wearing silky fabrics but wants to avoid dry cleaning bills, I’ve learned a lot over the years about caring for my delicate synthetic pieces.

In this article, I’ll share my top tips for ironing fake silk without causing any damage. We’ll cover everything from prep work to step-by-step ironing instructions.

I’ll also provide plenty of warnings about common mistakes to avoid with your silky garments.

Let’s start by clarifying exactly what we mean by “fake silk” and why it requires special care when ironing.

silk luster maintenance using cotton cloth

What Is Fake Silk?

Fake silk refers to synthetic fabric types designed to mimic the look and feel of genuine silk. Some common examples include:

  • Rayon
  • Polyester crepe
  • Viscose
  • Acetate
  • Microfiber

The main differences between real and synthetic silk are:

AspectSynthetic SilkReal Silk
FeelFeels smoother and somewhat plastic-like, lacking the natural warmth of real silk.Softer and warmer to the touch, with a more natural, luxurious feel.
LusterThe shine is often overly bright or reflective, lacking the subtle sheen of real silk.Has a more subtle and natural sheen, reflecting light softly.
Burn TestBurns with a smell of plastic and leaves hard, black beads as residue.Burns with the smell of burnt hair and leaves fine, powdery ash.
PriceGenerally cheaper due to the lower cost of synthetic fibers and manufacturing processes.More expensive, reflecting the labor-intensive process of silk production and its natural origin.
Water TestMay not absorb water quickly, often causing water to bead up on the surface.Absorbs water quickly, spreading it out without beading.
Wrinkle RecoveryTends to recover from wrinkles more easily, often bouncing back with minimal creasing.Shows wrinkles more prominently and may require gentle ironing to smooth out.
organizing silk buttons pre ironing

Unlike resilient natural silk fibers, these manmade fabrics can easily become heat-damaged. That’s why ironing requires extra caution and lower temperatures.

However, armed with the right techniques, you can unwrinkle your synthetics without issue! 

By following proper methods, your fabrics will look freshly pressed and maintain their beautiful drape.

Risks of Ironing Fake Silk

Before we get into the how-to, let’s review the unique risks of ironing delicates like fake silk:

  • Melting – Synthetic fibers like rayon and polyester can melt if the iron’s too hot, causing irreversible damage.
  • Shine marks – Glossy fabrics show water spots and iron imprints more noticeably.
  • Heat damage – When overheated, fake silk becomes stiff, cracked, discolored, and misshapen.
  • Catching fire – Applying high, sustained heat can potentially ignite some synthetics.

Luckily, it’s easy to avoid these hazards with good prep and the right approach. The keys are regulating temperature, using a press cloth, and taking care not to linger too long.

authentic fine silk weave

Getting Set Up Properly

To start, make sure your ironing setup is tailored to delicates:

The Iron

Choose a quality household iron with good temperature controls, ideally one with a range between synthetics and wool settings.

I use the Electrolux Professional Steam Iron (link to Amazon) which works beautifully.

using cotton press cloth for ironing

The Ironing Board

You’ll need a firm, heat-safe surface to iron on. I prefer ones with a silicone cover to prevent fabric catching.

damp cloth prep for silk ironing

The Press Cloth

The most important item for ironing fake silk is a press cloth. These sheer towels or cotton cloths protect the fabric from direct heat.

Choose a smooth, tightly woven one (muslin works great). Avoid textured cloths that could imprint patterns.

silk ironing prep supply collection

Other Handy Items

Here are a few other supplies I always have on hand when ironing silky clothes:

  • Spray bottle of water to mist fabric
  • Tweezers or clips to handle delicate areas
  • Tailor’s ham for contours like sleeves
  • Embroidery hoop to keep details flat

Step-By-Step Guide to Ironing Fake Silk

Once your prep is done, it’s go time! Follow these steps for wrinkle-free results:

1. Check Garment Care Labels

Labels often specify exact heat settings, so it’s worth double checking. For example, one top might say “cool iron” while another allows “warm.”

silk fabric care label

2. Prep the Fabric Properly

  • Smooth everything out – Shake loose any wrinkles and ensure the item lies flat.
  • Mist lightly – Use water to help relax fibers, but don’t oversaturate delicate fabric.
hand technique for silk wrinkles

3. Adjust Iron Temperature

Referencing care labels, select the coolest setting appropriate for the fabric. Common ones include:

  • Synthetics: 275° to 300°F
  • Polyester Silk: 300° to 320°F
  • Rayon Silk: 280° to 320°F

I set my iron right in the middle around 285° to 300°F.

iron adjusted for silk fabric

Tip: When in doubt, always opt for lower heat. You can gradually increase it if needed.

Here’s a table summarizing the recommended temperature range depending on your synthetic silk type:

Fabric TypeRecommended Temp Range
Acetate230° to 250°F
Microfiber275° to 300°F
Polyester300° to 320°F
Rayon250° to 280°F
Viscose275° to 280°F

4. Wait for the Iron to Heat Up Completely

Preheating allows the iron to maintain an even temperature when applied to fabric. Never start ironing immediately after turning it on!

cotton press cloth for smooth ironing

5. Iron in Sections Through a Press Cloth

Here’s where things get tricky. You’ll want to:

  • Only press small sections at a time, repositioning the cloth as you go
  • Keep the iron moving slowly but steadily
  • Lift and lower gently; don’t drag across fabric
  • Apply light pressure, allowing the heat to do the work
cotton press cloth silk ironing strategy

These precautions prevent damaging direct contact.

Note: If there’s a stubborn crease or detail, you can hover carefully over it very briefly without the cloth.

6. Work Methodically From Top to Bottom

I slowly iron my way down from collars, shoulders, sleeves, etc., to hemlines and edges. This helps natural drape re-form.

7. Inspect and Allow to Cool

Once finished, check for any missed spots before the piece cools and refolds. Then let it sit before wearing or storing it so fibers can stabilize.

silk cooling post iron process

And that’s it – your fake silks are now wrinkle-free with their beauty restored!

Alternatives If You Can’t Iron

While ironing is ideal for dressier synthetic fabrics, there may be times you can’t iron or need a quicker fix, like for travel creases. Here are some handy options:

  • Steaming – A garment steamer is gentler than ironing for wrinkle release. Great for delicate fabrics!
  • Tissue/paper method – Lay tissue paper or paper towels over wrinkled areas and apply a warm (not hot!) iron atop them. The heat transfers through to the smooth fabric underneath.
  • The shower method – Simply hang wrinkled items in a steamy bathroom while showering for about 15 minutes. The moisture relaxes fibers.
silk draping in steam shower

I find these quick tricks work well for minor touch-ups when I’m in a rush. But for true crispness, ironing with a press cloth is best.

What Not to Do When Ironing Fake Silk!

Now that you know the proper technique, let’s talk about common mistakes to avoid:

  • No direct contact between iron and fabric
  • No ironing clothing inside-out – Care labels must be visible
  • No leaving iron sitting in one spot too long
  • No pulling, over-stretching or dragging fabric across board
  • No ironing at highest “Cotton” heat setting

Stick to the steps above and you’ll keep your beloved silky garments looking fab for ages. The last thing we want is melted acrylics or discolored rayon!

Caring For Fake Silk Beyond Ironing

To reduce wrinkling over time and cut back on ironing:

  • Follow garment washing instructions carefully
  • Line dry instead of machine drying
  • Fold or hang delicates gently to avoid new creases
  • Consider using clothing bags/garment covers during storage

With some weekly upkeep to nip wrinkles in the bud, you shouldn’t need to fully iron fake silk too often.

prepping silk buttons before iron

What’s the Benefit of Using Spray Starch When Ironing Fake Silk?

Applying a light spray starch is an optional extra step that can help set creases and add crispness to garments like silk blouses or dresses.

Just mist it lightly onto the fabric through a press cloth before ironing. It works great!

Can I Iron Clothing Details Like Rhinestones, Beads, or Sequins?

It’s best to avoid directly ironing embellishments. The extreme heat can damage coatings and glues.

Carefully press surrounding fabric only, using a tailor’s ham inside garments to avoid flattening decorative pieces.

Let me walk you through the steps to iron silk clothes effectively, based on my personal experience.

soft real silk material

Is It Safe to Iron Clothing with Fake Silk Trims or Accents?

Yes, just exercise care around those decorative synthetics.

Target the base fabric first, then cautiously iron near (but not directly on) faux silk trims using lower temperatures. It just takes more focus and patience!

The fear of shrinking silk with my iron led me to some valuable insights that I’m eager to pass on.

How Can I Add Extra Moisture if My Iron or Steamer Doesn’t Release Enough?

Fill a clean spray bottle with distilled water to lightly mist hard-to-unwrinkle spots as needed. The moisture helps relax fibers.

Apply through a cloth, wait 5 seconds for penetration, then press with a preheated iron. The combo does the trick!

silk stain cleaning with spritz method


I hope these insider tips give you the confidence to keep your synthetics wrinkle-free! Just remember: always check labels, regulate heat, and use a press cloth for protection.

With a gentle approach, you can avoid damage and make your fake silks look beautiful. So unwind your scarves, drape your dresses, and flaunt your fabulous fabrics!

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