Washing Silk Gloves: A Step-by-Step Care Guide

Silk gloves are luxurious and beautiful, but also require special care. As a delicate fabric, silk can easily be damaged if not properly washed.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the entire process of safely washing silk gloves at home.

Whether you want to hand wash or machine wash, you’ll learn techniques to keep your silk gloves looking their best.

luxurious silk gloves

Why Proper Washing Matters for Silk Gloves

Silk is a fragile, protein-based fiber that needs gentle care. The key to preserving silk gloves is being very mindful during washing.

With the right methods, you can maintain their soft, lustrous look and prevent premature wear.

Here are just a few reasons why proper washing techniques are important for silk gloves:

  • Silk fibers are sensitive to high temperatures and rough treatment, which can cause damage, discoloration, and shrinkage.
  • Using regular detergents can strip the natural oils in silk and cause dryness.
  • Overhandling silk with rough movements may weaken fibers and sewing threads.
  • Allowing silk gloves to simply soak in water can lead to permanent water marks.

The good news is that with a bit of knowledge, care, and patience, washing silk gloves at home is totally achievable. This article will explore the best practices step-by-step.

Gathering the Washing Supplies for Silk Gloves

Before washing, assemble the supplies you’ll need:

  • Mild Detergent: A gentle soap or silk wash is ideal. Avoid regular laundry detergents.
  • Large Basin: To dilute the detergent and wash the gloves.
  • Soft Towels: For padding and drying. Use old cotton t-shirts rather than rough textured towels.
  • Garment Bag/Pillowcase: For machine washing to prevent friction.
  • Cold Water: Lukewarm at max, to prevent damage from high heat.
  • Vinegar: To balance pH and rinse off the detergent residue.
  • Hair Conditioner: To restore moisture (optional).
  • Drying Rack/Hangers: To air dry and retain shape.

Step-by-Step Hand Washing Method for Silk Gloves

Hand washing is the gold standard for washing silk gloves. With hand washing, you have complete control over the process for a truly gentle clean.

Follow these steps:

  1. Fill a basin with cool water and add a small amount of mild detergent. About a teaspoon per gallon of water is sufficient.
  2. Soak the gloves for 3-5 minutes to loosen dirt. Swish gently.
  3. Drain the basin and refill with clean, cool water. No need to add more detergent.
  4. Wash each glove individually, massaging the detergent into the fabric. Avoid scrubbing, wringing, or twisting motions.
  5. Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear. Drain the basin.
  6. Fill with clean water and 1 tbsp of vinegar. Rinse each glove again. The vinegar neutralizes detergent residue.
  7. Drain and gently press excess water from the gloves. Don’t wring!
  8. Lay flat on a towel and roll up to absorb moisture. Unroll and reshape.
  9. Air dry the gloves flat away from direct sunlight. Turn periodically.

And that’s it! With this gentle hand-washing method, your silk gloves stay clean and undamaged.

soft silk gloves for elegance

Tips for Safely Machine-Washing Silk Gloves

While hand washing is ideal, machine washing silk gloves is possible if done carefully! Follow these tips:

  • Place gloves in a mesh garment bag or pillowcase. This prevents friction and snagging.
  • Wash on the delicate or hand-wash cycle at cool temperatures. Select a short, gentle cycle.
  • Use a mild detergent made specifically for delicates or silks.
  • Consider washing the gloves alone – no other garments.
  • Allow extra rinse cycles to remove all traces of detergent.
  • Lay flat or hang to dry. Do not put silk gloves in the dryer!
delicate cycle for silk in washing machine
mesh bag for silk garments in washing machine

The key is choosing a gentle machine cycle with reduced agitation.

With caution, machine washing can work for silk gloves that aren’t heavily soiled. But for frequent laundering or deep cleaning, hand washing is safer.

Is It Okay If Silk Gloves Get Wet? Preventing Water Damage

Silk and water don’t always mix well. While you need to get silk gloves wet to wash them, you want to limit the amount of time silk sits in water.

When silk absorbs water, it can cause:

  • Fiber swelling leading to shrinkage
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Irreversible water spots and rings

To minimize water exposure:

  • Handle washing quickly and efficiently.
  • Drain basins and press out excess moisture as described in the hand washing method.
  • Lay flat to dry or hang, and move gloves periodically. This prevents wet edges.
  • Stuff damp gloves with tissue or use a drying rack to hold the shape.

With proper technique, getting silk gloves wet during washing shouldn’t cause lasting damage. Just be sure to control exposure and handle wet gloves with care.

elegant silk hand gloves

Choosing the Best Detergents for Washing Silk Gloves

The right detergent makes all the difference in silk glove care. Harsh soaps can damage silk fibers and dull colors. Follow these detergent guidelines:

Avoid Regular Laundry Detergents

The chemicals, fragrances, and enzymes used in most laundry detergents are too harsh for silk. Using a regular detergent can strip away oils and cause dryness or bleaching.

Choose Mild Liquid Hand Soaps

Look for liquid hand soaps that are free from dyes, fragrances, and other additives. Dove, Ivory, or baby shampoo work well.

Consider Specialty Silk Detergents

Products like Heritage Park Laundry Detergent (link to Amazon) are designed specifically for washing fine silk items. They contain gentle cleansers that won’t damage fabrics.

heritage park silk detergent silk clothes cleaning

Add a Few Drops of Hair Conditioner

For added conditioning, add a small amount of hair conditioner to the rinse water. This helps restore moisture to prevent dryness.

Take the time to find the right detergent. It makes a big difference in keeping silk gloves looking their best! Harsh soaps do more harm than good.

Follow These Steps For Safe Drying of Silk Gloves

Proper drying is key to maintaining the look and feel of silk gloves. Here are some do’s and don’ts:


  • DO lay flat to dry on top of a towel or mesh drying rack. This prevents uneven drying and retains shape.
  • DO reshape periodically as the gloves dry. Smooth out fingers and adjust seams.
  • DO dry away from direct sun. The heat can damage silk fibers.


  • DON’T use a clothes dryer! The heat and tumbling motion will damage silk gloves.
  • DON’T hang silk gloves – wet silk is delicate and may stretch out of shape.
  • DON’T bunch up wet gloves. This leads to wrinkles and creases that are hard to remove once dry.

Take the time to lay gloves flat and allow them to fully air dry before wearing or storing. Rushing the drying process often causes more harm than good!

Learn the best way to wash silk bonnets for lasting use and comfort.

white silk material elegance

Help! My Silk Gloves Shrank! Resolving Shrinkage Issues

Silk is prone to shrinking when exposed to high heat or agitation during washing. But in many cases, shrinkage can be fixed. Here are some tips:

  • Hand wash using cool water – heat causes silk fibers to tighten.
  • Limit agitation during washing to prevent fiber damage.
  • Air dry on a flat surface – tumble drying leads to shrinkage.
  • Lightly steam the gloves while stretched over your hand or glove stretcher. The moisture helps fibers relax.
  • Repeat washing with conditioner added to the rinse water. This helps re-expand the fibers.

While silk may shrink at first, gentle coaxing can often restore the original size. Prevent shrinkage by following the proper hand wash and dry methods provided earlier.

Common Washing Mistakes to Avoid With Silk Gloves

Caring for silk gloves isn’t difficult, but there are a few common mistakes to avoid:

  • Using hot water – high temperatures damage delicate silk fibers.
  • Over-handling and wringing – this stretches and distorts the shape.
  • Rubbing heavily soiled areas – gentle dabbing works better.
  • Leaving wet gloves bunched up – leads to wrinkles once dry.
  • Using regular laundry detergents – too harsh! Stick to mild soaps.
  • Machine drying – always air dry silk gloves flat.
  • Storing without reshaping – gloves may hold creases if not smoothed.

Simply being aware of these pitfalls can help you avoid them and keep your silk gloves in great condition for many years to come.

A Quick Guide to Home Dry Cleaning Your Silk Gloves

While professional dry cleaning is ideal for deep cleaning silk gloves, home dry cleaning is a good option between regular washings.

Here are some simple home dry-cleaning solutions:

  • Baby powder: Just put the gloves on and rub the powder into the fabric to absorb dirt and oils. Massage it in well then brush off excess.
  • Cornstarch: Same method as baby powder. The cornstarch absorbs grime. Rinse off with a silk brush.
  • Vodka or rubbing alcohol: Use a sponge to apply the alcohol to soiled areas as a spot cleaner. Let dry fully.
  • Dry cleaning spray: Lightly spray gloves and let sit for 5 minutes before brushing and airing out.

When home dry cleaning, use a gentle circular motion to clean gloves.

Make sure they are fully dry before wearing or storing them. Done regularly, this can prolong the time between actual washings.

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luxurious white silk fabric


I hope this guide has shown that properly washing and caring for your silk gloves is totally achievable at home.

While silk requires gentle care, the right methods can keep gloves looking beautiful wash after wash.

The keys I’ve outlined include:

  • Hand washing or delicate machine washing
  • Mild detergents and cool water
  • Controlled drying flat
  • Reshaping and smoothing
  • Home dry cleaning between washes

By avoiding common mistakes and following these simple silk glove care tips, you can maintain their softness, shape, and elegance for years of enjoyment.

Trust me, your gloves will thank you for it!

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