How to Wash Silk Ties: A Step-by-Step Guide

Silk ties are a timeless accessory that can really elevate any outfit.

But keeping these delicate pieces looking their best requires some special care. Improperly washing a silk tie can lead to damage, stains, and even shrinking.

In this article, I’ll walk you through a foolproof process for washing silk ties at home.

With the right techniques and a gentle touch, you can keep your silk ties clean and vibrant for years to come.

silk neckwear washing guide

Why Silk Ties Require Special Handling

Silk has a reputation for being a very delicate fabric—and for good reason! The fibers that makeup silk ties are extremely fragile.

They can easily become damaged if handled roughly during cleaning.

Here are some key things to know about caring for silk:

  • Silk fibers weaken when wet. Too much moisture can cause silk ties to lose their shape or start to “shred.”
  • Silk is prone to color bleeding. The dyes used to color silk fabric can run very easily.
  • Heat can cause silk to shrink, distort, or discolor. Ironing at high temperatures is risky.
  • Harsh cleaners will strip the moisture from silk. Detergents need to be very gentle.

Improper washing is the fastest way to ruin a silk tie.

Machine washing or dry cleaning can batter and destroy the delicate silk fibers. And using too much heat while ironing after washing also poses risks.

To keep your silk ties looking their best, always opt for hand washing with specially formulated silk soaps and gentle handling.

washing silk ties at home

Gather Your Materials Before Washing Silk Ties

Before you begin washing silk, assemble the supplies you’ll need:

  • Mild liquid soap or shampoo. Avoid regular detergents, as they can strip moisture from silk. Use a silk-specific detergent or a pH-neutral soap formulated for delicates. Baby shampoo works in a pinch.
  • A soft towel or cloth. Use this to gently press the water out of the tie after washing.
  • Lukewarm water. Warm or hot water risks damaging the dyes.
  • Vinegar. This helps set the silk dyes so they don’t bleed. White vinegar works best.
  • Rubbing alcohol. For tackling stubborn stains before washing. Make sure it’s 90% alcohol or higher.
  • Delicate bag. A mesh garment bag will protect the tie in the wash.
  • Drying rack or towel. Lay your ties flat to dry to prevent water spots or creases.
silk tie washing method

Step-by-Step: Hand Washing Silk Ties

Follow these simple steps for keeping your silk ties looking fresh between trips to the dry cleaner:

1. Check the Tie for Colorfastness

Before fully submerging, dampen a small hidden part of the tie, like the back of the wide end near the tag.

Make sure no color bleeds out. If it does, hand washing may set the dye—so continue. If not, proceed safely.

2. Fill Your Sink Basin with Cool Water

Use lukewarm water at most—hot water can cause silk dyes to bleed. Add a small amount of mild detergent or soap to the water and stir to dissolve.

For anyone with silk garments, Heritage Park Laundry Detergent (link to Amazon) is a must-try. It’s gentle on the fabric, yet powerful enough to remove any dirt or stains.

filling basin with water

3. Gently Scrub the Tie

Once dissolved, place the tie in the water and gently move it around to loosen the dirt.

Do this for 2-3 minutes. Don’t vigorously scrub, twist, or wring the tie—this can damage the fibers.

hand washing silk ties
silk tie cleaning technique

4. Drain the Sink and Rinse

Drain the soapy water then run cool clean water over the tie until the soap is gone. Refill the basin and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to set the dyes. Let the tie soak for 1-2 minutes.

emptying water from basin

5. Dry by Pressing Water Out

Do not wring or twist the tie to remove water. That can stretch the delicate silk. Instead, gently press between towels to absorb moisture.

silk tie drying method

6. Flat Dry Out of Direct Sunlight

Lay the tie flat on a towel in a shaded spot. Direct sunlight can fade colors. Allow to fully dry before wearing or storing.

Below is a handy table summarizing the steps:

1Check colorfastness
2Fill a sink or basin with cool water and detergent
3Gently scrub tie for 2-3 minutes
4Drain, rinse away detergent, soak in vinegar solution
5Gently press the water out with a towel
6Flat dry out of direct sunlight

Stain Removal Tips for Silk Ties

Silk ties will inevitably get some stains over time. But there are some simple techniques you can use at home to remove them:

  • Oil-based stains – Gently dab stains from food, grease, lipstick, or makeup with rubbing alcohol before washing. It will help break down the oil.
  • Drink stains – Flush the stain immediately by blotting with cold water. The quicker you can dilute the stain, the better chance you have of getting it out.
  • Fruit or yogurt stains – Use a clean cloth to blot up as much as possible first. Then use warm, soapy water and gently sponge the spot.
  • Ink stains – Try using a cotton ball soaked in a silk-safe stain remover to lift the stain off before washing. Take care not to spread the ink.
  • Rust stains – Make a paste with cream of tartar and water and gently rub it onto the rust spot using a soft toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly.

When using any type of stain remover, carefully test on an inconspicuous spot first to ensure it doesn’t damage the silk fibers.

And always hand wash the tie as soon as possible after applying cleaners.

Check out how to wash silk scarves for optimal care and preservation.

Should You Dry Clean Silk Ties?

Dry cleaning is sometimes thought to be safer for delicates like silk. But even dry cleaning poses risks for your precious silk ties.

The chemicals used in dry cleaning are harsh and can cause:

  • Fading of colors
  • Loss of sheen on the silk
  • Brittleness and breakage of fibers

That said, dry cleaning has benefits in some cases:

  • It can sanitize ties if you suspect bacteria or odors
  • Removes oil and grease stains that require solvents
  • Convenient if you need to clean a large silk item like a dress

My advice: Dry clean your silk ties sparingly and when truly needed. And even after dry cleaning, handle with care as the dyes have likely faded.

silk tie cleaning routine

What NOT to Do When Cleaning Silk Ties

Now that you know the right methods, here are some things to avoid:

No Machine Washing

Home washing machines, even on delicate cycles, are too harsh for silk ties. The tumbling action and friction within a washer can destroy silk fibers very quickly.

Avoid High Heat

Never use hot water when hand washing. Lukewarm is safest. And always air dry ties—don’t use your clothes dryer on silk!

Don’t Ring or Wring Out

Twisting and wringing silk when wet causes damage to the fibers. Carefully pressing with towels removes moisture safely.

No Wire Hangers

The edges of wire hangers can snag on silk fabric and cause small tears or holes over time. Opt for padded hangers if hanging damp ties to dry.

Skip the Iron

Irons, even on low heat, risk scorching your silk tie. Let ties air dry fully stretched flat instead. If you must iron, use the lowest setting and place a cloth over the silk first.

Keeping Silk Ties Looking Great

Here are a few more care tips for keeping your silk ties in top shape:

  • Store ties rolled up or loosely draped – don’t fold tightly.
  • Wash ties only when visibly dirty or stained.
  • Consider using silk tie cases or bags to prevent dust and stains while storing.
  • Steam silk ties while hanging to refresh them between washes.
  • Wash ties separately from other garments to avoid snags.
  • Take ties to the dry cleaner only if necessary and choose a cleaner that specializes in silk.

 How Often Should I Wash My Silk Ties?

Washing too frequently can cause wear and tear on silk. But leaving ties too dirty also poses risks.

I recommend washing silk ties every 4-6 wears. If you wear a tie very lightly, such as without touching it much, you may be able to go 8-10 wears between washes.

Use your judgment, but err on the side of washing more frequently to keep oils and perspiration from building up.

Learn how to wash silk scrunchies to ensure they stay sharp and stylish.

gentle wash for silk necktie

Can I Wear My Silk Tie Right After Washing It?

It’s best to let your silk tie fully air dry before wearing it. Putting on a damp tie can cause wrinkles or stretch it out as it dries on your body.

Lay it flat on a towel and allow a couple of hours for it to dry completely before putting it on or storing it.

What’s the Best Way to Dry Clean a Silk Tie?

If dry cleaning is necessary, take your tie to a reputable, high-end dry cleaner that specializes in delicates and silks.

Avoid chains or corner cleaners without specialized services. Ask if they dry clean in-house and if they offer gentle, non-toxic solvents.

Request light steam pressing only and no tagging stitches through the tie fabric. And as always, provide any special instructions for handling delicates on the receipt.


While silk ties require some special handling, taking the time to care for them properly will keep them looking pristine for many years.

Always opt for hand washing over dry cleaning or machine washing to prevent damage to the delicate silk fibers.

With a gentle wash, thorough rinse, and proper drying, your ties will stay brilliant and luxurious.

Following the techniques I’ve outlined, you can keep your silk ties clean while avoiding shrinkage, stains, and other damage.

Show off your favorite silk ties with confidence knowing these methods will keep them in flawless condition.

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