How to Wash Silk Velvet: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Silk velvet has a stunning shimmery appearance and a smooth, fluid drape that caresses the body. It looks luxurious in evening wear and home decor.

However, the delicate nature of silk velvet means it requires gentle care. With the right cleaning techniques, you can keep your silk velvet clothes, furnishings, and accessories looking pristine.

My goal with this article is to provide easy-to-follow instructions for washing and caring for silk velvet fabric.

I’ll cover everything from pre-wash preparation to drying methods. You’ll also learn how to handle silk velvet stains and damage.

Follow these tips, and your silk velvet will maintain its fabulous texture and sheen for years to come!

plush silk velvet material

Preparing to Wash Silk Velvet

Before washing silk velvet, it’s important to take a few preparatory steps. This section will cover identifying silk velvet fabric, pre-wash checks, and gathering supplies.

Identifying Silk Velvet

Not sure if your item is made of true silk velvet? Here are some tips to tell:

  • Look – Silk velvet has a shiny, fluid appearance. It reflects light and has a luxurious drape.
  • Feel – Run your hands across the fabric. Silk velvet feels extremely smooth and soft. It’s lightweight and slippery.
  • Burn test – Carefully singe a few threads or loose fibers. Silk velvet will burn quickly, smelling like burnt hair. It leaves behind brittle ash.
  • Check the label – Quality garments and fabric will be clearly labeled “100% silk velvet”. This confirms the content.

Pre-Wash Checks

Before washing silk velvet, inspect it carefully and perform a few pre-wash tests:

  • Check for loose threads, hooks/eyes, beads, or sequins that may catch on the fabric in the wash. Remove or cover them with a wash bag.
  • Look for areas that are worn, thin, or prone to snagging and protect them with a wash bag too.
  • Check that dyes are colorfast by wetting a small hidden area like an inside seam. Blot dry and look for color transfer.
  • If washing a garment, test closures to ensure they function properly. Replace any that are loose or damaged.

Only proceed if your silk velvet item passes these inspections.

Supplies Needed

Gather these supplies before washing silk velvet:

  • Delicate wash detergent or mild soap like baby shampoo
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Soft towels
  • Zippered wash bags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Clothes drying rack or flat surface
silk velvet fabric luxurious

Hand Washing Silk Velvet

Hand washing is the best way to clean silk velvet and prevent damage from machine washing. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Fill a Sink/Tub with Lukewarm Water

Avoid hot water as it can shrink and damage silk velvet. Lukewarm water helps preserve the fibers.

Fill a sink, tub, or basin with enough water to submerge the silk velvet item.

Tip: The ideal handwashing temperature is around 30°C (86°F). Use a thermometer to check.

Step 2: Add a Mild Detergent

Choose a delicate wash detergent, soap flakes, or mild soap like baby shampoo or diluted Woolite. Avoid regular detergents as these can be harsh.

Add a small amount of detergent and swirl gently to dissolve. Too many suds can leave residue on the silk velvet.

Heritage Park Laundry Detergent (link to Amazon) is my go-to for silk items. It’s incredibly gentle on the delicate fabric, ensuring that my silks last longer and stay gorgeous.

heritage park silk detergent silk clothes cleaning

Step 3: Submerge and Soak the Item

Fully submerge the silk velvet item in the water. Let it soak for 2-3 minutes so the detergent can start lifting dirt.

Agitate the item very gently by moving it up and down. Avoid vigorous rubbing as this can damage the delicate fibers.

Step 4: Drain and Rinse

Drain the dirty wash water and refill the tub with fresh cool or lukewarm water.

Rinse the silk velvet item to remove all traces of detergent residue. Improper rinsing can leave streaks and stains.

Step 5: Drain and Repeat

Drain the rinse water again. Then fill the tub and repeat steps 3-4 above. Give the silk velvet a second thorough rinse.

Drain the tub when finished.

Find out how to wash silk without using detergent to protect its natural qualities.

Can You Machine Wash Silk Velvet?

While handwashing is ideal, you may be wondering – can silk velvet go in the washing machine?

The answer is yes, but only with extreme care and caution.

Machine washing has risks, including:

  • Aggressive agitation that can damage fibers
  • Being pulled or snagged by other laundry
  • Heat damage from hot water cycles
  • Accumulation of detergent residue

However, if you take precautions, delicate machine washing is possible for some sturdy silk velvet pieces like cushions or curtains.

Follow these crucial tips:

  • Use a mesh wash bag to prevent pulling and friction.
  • Wash on the gentle/delicate cycle with cool water.
  • Minimal detergent – 1 tbsp or less.
  • Skip the fabric softener.
  • Open the machine mid-cycle and rearrange items if needed.
  • Lay flat or hang to dry – never put silk velvet in the dryer!
delicate cycle for silk in washing machine
silk washing technique using mesh bag in machine

If your silk velvet item is heavily embellished, vintage, or in poor condition, I recommend avoiding the machine entirely.

For valuable silk velvet clothes or heirlooms, dry cleaning is the safest option.

This article shows the right techniques for washing silk chiffon garments.

Drying and Maintaining Silk Velvet

Proper drying and ongoing care will keep silk velvet soft, lush, and wrinkle-free. Follow these key tips:

Drying Silk Velvet

  • Lay flat on a towel and roll up to absorb moisture. Unroll, reshape and allow to fully air dry.
  • Or, hang on a padded hanger or rust-proof skirt hanger. Keep out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  • Avoid wire hangers that can dent the fabric.
  • Do not tumble dry silk velvet items or use a drying rack – it can damage the delicate fibers.

Ironing Silk Velvet

  • Iron on low heat, inside out, or with a press cloth.
  • Use light pressure and avoid ironing directly on embellished areas.
  • Use steam sparingly. Too much steam can watermark silk velvet.

Storing Silk Velvet

  • Keep silk velvet covered in a breathable garment bag. Avoid plastic which traps moisture.
  • Store flat if possible – hanging long-term can stretch the fabric.
  • Maintain consistent temperature and humidity.
  • Avoid direct light exposure to prevent fading.

By following these care and maintenance tips, you can preserve your silk velvet’s texture and sheen.

rich silk velvet upholstery fabric

Addressing Common Concerns

You may have some lingering questions about the tricky nature of silk velvet fabric. Here I’ll address some common concerns:

What Happens if Silk Velvet Gets Wet?

Silk velvet is made from delicate silk fibers that can react negatively when wet:

  • The fabric becomes heavier as it absorbs moisture.
  • It can appear darker as light reflects differently off wet silk.
  • When air-dried, watermarks or creases may be left behind.
  • Dyes from darker velvets can bleed when wet.

To minimize damage from getting wet, blot any moisture immediately with a towel. Avoid rubbing or wringing, which can crush the pile.

Does Silk Velvet Shrink or Get Ruined When Wet?

Silk velvet can shrink slightly when washed in hot water or agitated vigorously. The fibers relax and tighten up.

Follow the gentle hand washing and drying techniques in this guide, and you can successfully wash silk velvet without ruining it. Pre-wash testing is also key.

Special Cases

Washing different silk velvet items like dresses, jackets, cushions, and curtains requires additional considerations.

Washing Silk Velvet Dresses

Delicate silk velvet dresses require extra attention when washing:

  • Fasten any hooks, eyes, or zippers so they cannot snag.
  • Check under dress linings for soiled areas needing cleaning.
  • Support heavy skirts, trains, or bias-cut fabrics so they retain their shape when wet.
  • Lay flat on a towel or use skirt hangers to dry.

Washing Silk Velvet Jackets

For silk velvet jackets:

  • Close buttons/zippers and treat any stains first.
  • Check inner linings and shoulder pads before washing.
  • Use a mesh bag with extra padding to maintain the jacket’s structure.
  • Dry on a padded hanger to prevent drooping of the shoulders.
  • Use steam to smooth out the velvet texture.

For other garments like pants or tops, similar precautions apply. Protect details like embellishments and closures while washing.

Washing Upholstery, Curtains, and Accessories

Bulkier silk velvet like cushions, curtains, pillowcases, and handbags can be hand-washed following the same instructions provided earlier in this article.

Pay attention to:

  • Closures like buttons, zippers, hooks, drawer pulls, etc.
  • Hardware like curtain rods, hanging loops, or purse handles/straps.
  • Removing or protecting trim, tassels, braided cords, and embellishments first.
  • Supporting and reshaping heavy wet fabric as it dries.
premium silk velvet texture


I hope this comprehensive guide has offered the essential tips and tricks for washing and caring for your silk velvet at home.

While a delicate fabric, silk velvet can be gently hand-washed and maintained with the right approach.

Always perform pre-wash tests for colorfastness and fragility. Wash in cool water with mild detergent and lay flat to dry on towels. Steam, air, and store properly between wears.

Treat stains quickly and make repairs as needed. With some basic maintenance, your silk velvet will retain its magnificent look and feel.

Just remember to handle it with care and it will continue looking fabulous for many years to come!

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