Washing Silk Blouses: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Silk blouses are luxurious garments that require special care when it comes to washing. 

Improper cleaning techniques can cause silk fabric to lose its sheen, shrink, bleed color, or even develop holes.

To help you keep your silk blouses looking their best for longer, this article will walk you through the entire process of washing silk effectively at home.

Whether hand washing or machine washing, follow these tips and you’ll be able to safely clean your silk tops without ruining them.

using heritage park detergent for washing silk shirt

Preparing to Wash Your Silk Blouse

Before you get your silk blouse wet, there are a few preparatory steps to take:

Check the Care Label

The first thing to look for is the garment care label, usually found along the side seam. The symbols and instructions here will indicate the best washing method.

Here are some common care label symbols you may encounter:

  • Hand wash symbol – outlines a hand immersed in water
  • Do not wash symbol – outline of a washtub with a cross through it
  • Dry clean only symbol – circle with a letter P inside
  • Iron symbol – an image of an iron
  • Do not bleach the symbol – a triangle crossed out

If the label says “dry clean only”, take it to a professional cleaner. But if it has the hand wash symbol, you can safely clean the blouse at home.

Understand the Role of Fabric Composition

Check what percentage of the blouse is made from silk. For example:

  • 100% silk – requires delicate handling
  • Silk blend – may be more durable if blended with polyester or rayon

Pure silk is more prone to damage than silk-blend fabrics. But both still need a gentle approach when washing.

table set with beige silk fabric

Gather Your Supplies

Before washing, assemble the supplies you’ll need:

  • Mild liquid detergent for delicates, or specialty silk wash
  • Large sink or basin for hand washing
  • Delicate laundry mesh bag (optional)
  • Soft cotton towels
  • Silk clothing iron

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.

using heritage park detergent for silk washing

Zip up Fastenings and Close Hooks

Secure any zippers, hooks, buttons, or other closures so that they don’t snag on the fabric during washing.

Turn the Garment Inside Out

Flip the blouse inside out before washing. This prevents the outer side from rubbing against other materials.

Pre-treat Any Stains

Apply a small amount of delicate detergent directly onto stained areas. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before washing. This helps loosen and lift stains.

visible stain on silk textile
blot removal technique on silk

Hand Washing Silk Blouses

When it comes to keeping silk in flawless condition, hand washing is always the best method. Here’s how to do it:

1. Fill a Sink/Basin with Lukewarm Water

Avoid hot water as it can cause silk fibers to stretch and shrink. Lukewarm water is ideal, around 30°C or 85°F.

filling basin with water

2. Add a Small Amount of Mild Detergent

Recommended detergents for hand-washing silk include:

  • Heritage Park (mentioned above)
  • Woolite
  • The Laundress Delicate Wash
  • Soak Wash
  • Slip Gentle Silk Wash

Check the label to see how much detergent to use per gallon of water. About 1-2 tablespoons is usually sufficient.

best silk detergents

3. Gently Agitate the Silk

Once the detergent has dissolved, place the blouse in the water. Move it around very gently to get the detergent evenly distributed through the fabric. Never wring, twist, or scrub silk.

hand laundering beige silk cloth
gentle hand rubbing of beige silk

4. Allow it to Soak

Let the blouse soak for 2-3 minutes so the detergent can lift dirt and body oils. Agitate it very lightly and occasionally.

delicate hand wash for beige silk

5. Drain Away Dirty Water

Without wringing the blouse, gently lift it from the wash water and drain the sink.

6. Rinse Thoroughly

Refill the basin with fresh cool water for rinsing. Allow the blouse to soak again, then drain. Repeat this rinse cycle 2-3 times until water runs clear.

7. Roll in Towel to Remove Moisture

Never wring silk fabric. Place it in a soft cotton towel and gently roll up to absorb excess water.

silk garment drying with absorbent towel
towel wrap for drying silk material

8. Dry Flat on a Mesh Surface

Lay the blouse flat on top of a mesh drying rack or towel. This allows air circulation all around.

9. Steam Press on Low Heat

Use an iron safe for silk, with steam function and low heat (250°F max). Hover the iron over the blouse to vaporize wrinkles. Avoid direct contact.

ironing delicate silk fabrics

And that’s how to successfully hand wash silk blouses without risk of damage!

Discover the art of washing silk clothes to keep them looking new.

Machine Washing Silk Blouses

While hand washing is best for silk, machine washing is possible if done carefully:

Only for Blended or Textured Silk

Machine wash only if the label specifically says so. Even then, err on the side of caution. 

Only occasionally machine wash 100% textured silks like shantung, raw, and dupioni. For blended silks, follow fabric care tags.

Use a Mesh Bag

Place the blouse inside a mesh delicates bag before putting it in the machine. This prevents friction damage.

laundry mesh bag silk washing in machine

Select a Delicates Cycle

Choose the most gentle, cold water cycle on your machine. This provides agitation without being too harsh.

delicate cycle for silk in washing machine

Use Minimal Detergent

Add a small amount of mild liquid detergent made for silk or delicates. About 1-2 tbsp is sufficient.

Skip the Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners and conditioners can coat silk fibers and diminish their luxurious sheen.

Lay Flat or Hang to Dry

Never put silk in the dryer! Remove promptly at the end of the cycle and hang or lay flat immediately.

With the right precautions, machine washing can occasionally be an option for blended or textured silk blouses. But when in doubt, go for hand washing instead!

Drying and Ironing Silk Blouses

Drying and pressing are the final important steps in the washing process. Follow these guidelines:

Dry Out of Direct Sunlight

The sun’s UV rays can fade and damage silk. Dry indoors or in the shade.

Dry on a Flat Surface

As mentioned above, lay the blouse flat on a towel or mesh rack after washing. Never hang silk garments – the weight stretches the fabric.

Iron Inside Out on Low Heat

Ironing restores silk’s beautiful drape and sheen. Iron inside out and use the coolest setting for silk: 250°F max.

ironing method for silk textile

Iron with Steam

Activate the steam function on your iron. Steam helps relax wrinkles rather than pressing them out.

Iron on a Pressing Cloth

Place a silk-pressing cloth over the blouse before ironing. This prevents shine marks.

Reshape While Damp

Gently smooth and reshape the blouse on the hanger while still slightly damp. This minimizes creases.

Proper drying and ironing keep silk blouses looking pristine!

Special Considerations for Washing Silk

Here are answers to some common silk laundering questions:

Can You Hand Wash “Dry Clean Only” Silk Blouses?

Use your best judgment here. Silk labeled “dry clean only” is typically more high-end or delicate.

The manufacturer recommends professional cleaning to be on the safe side. However, for many medium-weight or textured silks, hand washing is possible if done gently.

How Often Should You Wash Silk Blouses?

Here is a table describing recommended washing frequencies for silk blouses in different scenarios:

SituationRecommended Washing Frequency
Light wear around the houseEvery 4-5 wears
Regular day wear to the officeEvery 3-4 wears
Heavy wear like all-day outdoor eventsEvery 2 wears
Fitness classes with sweatAfter every wear
Spilled food or drinkWash immediately
Visible underarm stainsWash immediately
Visible dirt or odorsWash immediately
Wrinkled from packingFreshen up with steam
Caught in the rainAllow to fully dry then wash

The key is to wash silk blouses only when necessary – when soiled, stained, or smelly.

For light day wear indoors, 4-5 wears between washes is reasonable. More active use or wear in heat will require more frequent washing.

And spot clean as needed between washes. With this approach, you can keep silk garments in great condition while minimizing water exposure.

silk items hand washing technique in basin

Troubleshooting Common Silk Washing Issues

Follow these tips if you encounter any problems after washing your silk blouse:

ShrinkingThis occurs if agitation was too harsh or water too hot. Soak in cool water with hair conditioner to re-expand the fibers.
Loss of sheenUse less detergent, stop machine drying, and steam iron after washing. The sheen will be restored.
Snags or holesClip loose threads immediately. If hole is large, consult a seamstress for repair options.
Color bleedingWash similar colors together and avoid warm water to prevent dyes from bleeding.
Static clingAdd a fabric softener made for delicates or silk to the rinse cycle.
WrinklesIron on low heat with steam. If wrinkles persist, may need professional steaming.

With some tweaking of your technique, you can overcome any laundry mishaps with silk. Handle with care and your silk blouses will maintain their splendor.

This detailed guide explains the best ways to wash silk comforters for long-lasting use.

elegant beige silk fabric on wooden table


From understanding care labels to troubleshooting washing issues, this guide covers everything you need to know to keep your silk blouses looking fabulous.

The key things to remember are:

  • Always check the fabric care tag first
  • Hand washing is ideal – use a gentle touch
  • Machine wash only silks specifically labeled for it
  • Avoid heat, wringing, and harsh detergents
  • Dry flat and steam iron inside out
  • Address any issues like shrinking right away
  • Don’t wash silk too frequently

By following the advice in this article, you can feel confident washing your silk blouses at home safely.

Tackle stains promptly, handle the fabric with care, and your silk tops will maintain their beauty for many wears to come.

Knowing the proper techniques for at-home laundering means you can keep your silk looking its absolute best.

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