OxiClean and Silk: Best Practices and Impact

Silk is one of the most luxurious and delicate fabrics around. But it also requires special care and handling, especially when it comes to cleaning and stain removal.

As a lover of silk myself, I often get asked if OxiClean is safe to use on silk fabrics. It’s a great question since OxiClean is such a popular and powerful stain-fighting product.

In this article, I’ll provide a thorough overview of OxiClean, the unique properties of silk fabric, and give my best recommendations for keeping your silk items looking their absolute best.

My goal is to help you understand the impact OxiClean can have on silk, so you can make informed decisions about washing your delicate silks.

washing silk with oxiclean

What is OxiClean?

OxiClean is a leading fabric cleaner and stain-fighting product. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:

  • Made by Church & Dwight Co., a major consumer goods company
  • Available in powder, liquid spray, gel stick, and other forms
  • The main active ingredients are sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate – oxygen-based bleaching agents
  • Works by releasing oxygen bubbles that lift and dissolve stains
  • Safe for most colorfast washable fabrics
  • Commonly used for clothes, carpets, upholstery, and other items

So in a nutshell, OxiClean is a powerful oxidizing cleaner designed to remove tough stains and brighten fabrics.

But is it suitable for delicate silks? Let’s look at silk’s unique properties next.

Understanding Silk Fabric

Silk has been cherished for thousands of years as a luxurious, sensual fabric. Here’s a quick primer:

  • Made from natural protein fibers produced by silkworms
  • Very fine, smooth texture with beautiful drape and sheen
  • Common types include mulberry, tussah, eri, and spider silk
  • Used for clothing, bedding, upholstery, and decor items
  • More delicate and prone to damage than cotton, linen, or synthetic fabrics
elegant beige silk fabric on wooden table

The delicate nature of silk means it requires gentle care and cleaning.

Harsh chemicals, heat, friction, and other abrasive treatments can weaken silk fibers and cause irreparable damage.

So how does a powerful cleaner like OxiClean fit into the silk care equation? Let’s dig into that next.

Is OxiClean Safe for Silk?

OxiClean is an effective stain remover for many fabrics, but silk is too fragile for its intense cleaning power.

The general consensus among fabric experts is that OxiClean and other bleach-based cleaners are too harsh for silk.

The main concerns about using OxiClean on silk include:

  • Can damage silk fibers and cause tears or holes
  • May remove fabric dyes, resulting in discoloration or faded spots
  • Over time can weaken silk and destroy its delicate texture
washing silk with baking soda mix

OxiClean’s manufacturer, Church & Dwight, states that OxiClean should only be used on colorfast washable fabrics.

Silk is neither colorfast when washed, nor is it washable in the traditional sense.

So in summary, it’s best to avoid OxiClean and other oxygen bleaches when cleaning silk fabrics to prevent permanent damage.

Let’s look at some better options for tackling stains on silk next.

How to Remove Stains from Silk: Alternatives to OxiClean

Accidents happen, and silk will inevitably get stained from time to time. Here are some effective stain removal methods that are gentler than OxiClean on delicate silk:

  • Club soda: The carbonation can help lift stains without harsh rubbing. Apply enough club soda to cover the stain and gently blot for a few minutes.
  • White vinegar: For oil-based stains, vinegar can break down grease and oils. Test first. Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water, apply to the stain, and let it sit for up to 10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Mild soap: Hand wash with a gentle soap like Woolite or unscented Castile soap. Use a small amount of soap diluted in water, gently work into the stain, and rinse thoroughly.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Diluted peroxide can bubble away some stains. Mix 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with 10 parts water, apply to the stain, and allow to sit for up to 5 minutes before rinsing.
  • Salt: For red wine or berry stains, salt can help absorb and draw out the color. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the stain, let it sit for a few hours, then gently brush away and rinse.
  • Lemon: The acidity cuts through oily stains. Use lemon juice or rub with a cut lemon wedge. Apply directly to the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.

Check my article for a comprehensive overview of gentle and effective soaps and detergents for silk.

silk cloth stain mark
silk fabric with stain
baking soda for silk stain cleaning
silk fabric stain removed

Take care to blot, not rub, the fabric when stain removing. And always test products on a hidden part of the garment first to check for any discoloration or damage to the silk.

Restoring Silk After Using OxiClean

If OxiClean has already been used on a silk item, don’t panic. Here are a few tips that may help restore the fabric:

  • Hand wash with a mild detergent like Eucalan or Soak to remove any residual OxiClean.
  • Rinse thoroughly in cool water to prevent damage from remaining oxidizers.
  • Air dry the item flat to prevent stretching the fibers while wet.
  • Use a silk fabric revitalizer like Downy Wrinkle Releaser (link to Amazon) to condition the fibers after washing.
  • For clothing, apply silk-safe fabric renewer sprays to replace lost dyes or oils in the fabric weave.
  • Bad discoloration may require professional wet cleaning to treat affected areas and evenly redye.

With extra TLC, silk can recover from minor OxiClean exposure. But it’s still ideal to avoid it altogether.

beige silk textile displayed on table

What Not to Use on Silk

To recap, here are the types of cleaners and products to avoid using on silk fabric:

  • Bleach and oxygen cleaners, including OxiClean, Clorox 2, and peroxide bleaches
  • Harsh chemical stain removers with color-stripping agents
  • Alkaline cleaners like ammonia or baking soda
  • Heat from dryers, irons, or steamers
  • Aggressive scrubbing or rubbing that can damage delicate fibers
  • Petroleum-based solvents like acetone that can discolor
  • Fabric softeners and dryer sheets with additives that leave residue

When in doubt, take a gentler approach and use only silk-friendly products to clean and care for your fabrics.

Learn why bleach may or may not be suitable for silk in my guide on bleach and silk care.

Best Practices for Washing Silk

Caring properly for your silk items will keep them looking their best for years. Here are my top tips:


  • Hand wash only in cool or lukewarm water
  • Use a mild detergent like Woolite Silk, Eucalan, or Soak Sensitive
  • Add a capful of white vinegar to rinse water for brightness
  • Roll (don’t wring!) in a towel to absorb excess moisture

I’m really impressed with Heritage Park Laundry Detergent (link to Amazon) for silk care. It maintains the integrity of the silk while keeping it fresh and clean.

heritage park detergent wash for silk fabrics


  • Lay flat on a drying rack or towel away from direct sunlight
  • Reshape while damp to prevent stretching as it dries
  • For clothing, use a mesh garment bag in the dryer on air-fluff setting
gently patting silk with towel to dry
silk garment drying with absorbent towel
towel wrap for drying silk material
laying wet silk out for air drying


  • Use lowest heat setting and steam iron vertically never horizontally
  • Place a press cloth between the iron and silk to prevent shining
  • Iron when slightly damp to help maintain shape and drape
silk clothes ironing technique


  • Keep silk folded loosely, not hung, to prevent stretching
  • Use breathable garment bags, not plastic
  • Store in a dark, climate-controlled environment

With proper care, your silk pieces can last for decades and become family heirlooms. Avoiding products like OxiClean that can jeopardize the integrity of the fabric is key.

OxiClean and Specific Silk Types

Not all silks are created equal. Here is a breakdown of how OxiClean affects some common types of silk fabric:

Mulberry Silk:

  • Most widely produced silk
  • Very delicate and prone to water spots and discoloration
  • OxiClean can damage fibers and cause yellowing

Charmeuse Silk:

  • Lightweight with satiny finish
  • Vulnerable to color loss from chemical cleaners
  • OxiClean may fade dyes and affect luster

Habotai Silk:

  • Lightweight and quite fragile
  • Easily damaged by bleaches and hot water
  • OxiClean would destroy habotai silk

Chiffon Silk:

  • Sheer and ultra delicate fabric
  • Easily snags so requires very gentle handling
  • OxiClean would shred and tear chiffon silk
silk fabric assortment displayed on table

No variety of silk fabric can handle the intense cleaning power of OxiClean well. Stick to silk-safe cleaning methods to avoid ruining your favorite silky pieces.

OxiClean is Safe on These Fabrics

OxiClean can be used safely on colorfast cotton, linen, hemp, wool, and other natural fiber fabrics. It is also safe for use on most synthetic fabrics including:

  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Spandex
  • Rayon
  • Acrylic

As long as dyes are set and will not fade, OxiClean can help brighten and remove stains from these laundry-safe fabrics.

But delicate silks require gentler care. Always check fabric content labels and care instructions first when considering using OxiClean.

showcasing beige silk on table


To sum up, OxiClean is a powerful cleaner that should be avoided on silk fabric.

The active bleaching agents in OxiClean can damage delicate silk fibers, cause discoloration, and deteriorate the fabric over time.

Gentler cleaning solutions like mild detergent, vinegar, club soda, and lemon juice are safer alternatives for tackling stains on silk clothing, bedding, or upholstery.

And it’s always best to hand wash silk pieces to prevent damage from machine washing.

With proper care using silk-friendly products, your habotai blouse, charmeuse sheets, chiffon dress, and other silky items can stay looking fabulous and last for many years to come.

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