Washing Silk Without Wrinkles: Silk Care Simplified

As a new silk garment owner, you’ve likely noticed how easily those luxurious fabrics wrinkle. 

I know I panicked the first time I washed my silk blouse and saw it come out looking like an accordion! The good news is that with proper care, you can keep your silk items wrinkle-free.

In this article, I’ll walk you through my proven techniques for washing silk, as well as for drying and storing your delicate fabric without creating a single crease.

You’ll be handling silk laundry like a pro in no time!

silk cleaning with baking soda method

Why Does Silk Wrinkle?

Before we get into care methods, let’s look at why silk wrinkles so easily in the first place.

  • Silk fibers are very fine and lightweight, which allows them to bend and crease readily.
  • The smooth surface of silk does not hold a crease well, so wrinkles form as the fabric shifts during washing or wearing.
  • Silk’s low elasticity means it loses its shape quickly. Wrinkles form as the fabric relaxes.

Proper handling is key to keeping silk fabrics smooth and crease-free. With the right techniques, you can maintain the beautiful drape and sheen of your silk pieces.

silk shirt cleaning using heritage park fine detergent

Pre-Wash Tips to Prevent Wrinkling

To avoid a wrinkly mess, start by setting up your silk garments for success before washing. Here are my top pre-wash tips:

  • Gently brush the garment with a soft brush to remove any dust or debris. This prevents abrasion that could snag the delicate silk fibers.
  • Unstretch the fabric by gently tugging on any areas that seem stretched out. This helps the fibers relax to their natural state.
  • Check fabric care labels and wash in cool or lukewarm water, no hotter than 30°C. Hot water causes silk to wrinkle and lose its shape.
  • Use a gentle silk detergent or non-bio laundry liquid. Harsh detergents strip silk’s natural oils leading to wrinkles.
  • Handwash when possible for ultimate wrinkle prevention. Machine washing increases wrinkle risk.

Washing Techniques to Avoid Wrinkles

Once your silk is prepped, it’s time to wash. Follow these steps to keep wrinkles at bay:


  • Fill a sink or tub with lukewarm water and diluted silk detergent. Agitate the water to disperse the soap.
  • Submerge the garment and allow it to soak for 2-3 minutes so the detergent penetrates the fibers.
  • Gently move the garment in circular motions in the water to loosen dirt. Do not wring, twist, or scrub.
  • Drain soapy water and refill with clean lukewarm water. Rinse by moving the garment until the water runs clear.
  • Drain rinse water. Do not wring the garment. Gently lift and guide excess water to drain points. Roll the garment in a towel to absorb moisture.
silk garment hand washing in basin
basin rinse for hand washed beige silk
beige silk garment washing in basin
drying beige silk with towel
drying beige silk fabric with towel

Machine Washing

  • Use mesh wash bags for each item to prevent excess friction. Make sure to zip the bags fully.
  • Wash on a delicate cycle using cool water and silk detergent. Select low agitation if possible.
  • Consider washing just 1-2 items at a time. Overcrowding causes wrinkling.
  • If needed, remove promptly after the wash cycle ends to avoid heat wrinkling.

Get expert advice in my guide about safely washing silk to prevent damage.

delicate cycle for silk in washing machine
laundry mesh bag silk washing in machine
silk washing technique using mesh bag in machine

Drying Silk: The Key to Avoiding Wrinkles

Drying is arguably the most critical step for wrinkle prevention. Follow these guidelines:

Air Drying

  • Smooth out garments gently before hanging. Pull to original shape.
  • Hang items on padded hangers. Plastic or wire hangers can create creases.
  • Hang in an area with good air circulation but away from direct heat sources.
  • Change the position of the garment on the hanger periodically so it dries evenly.

Avoid Tumble Drying

  • Tumble-drying silk, even on low heat, causes severe wrinkling and damage to fibers. Always air-dry silk!

Wrinkle Removal Techniques for Silk

Uh oh, your silk blouse still came out wrinkled? Not to worry – here are my top tips for smoothing everything out again:

No Steam or Iron Method

  • Hang the garment in the bathroom while showering. The steam from the hot shower can help relax wrinkles.
  • Roll up the garment and place it under a mattress overnight. The weight gently unwrinkles the fabric.
flat hang drying technique for silk

Hairdryer Method

  • Stretch the garment over an ironing board or padded surface. Do not iron!
  • Use a hairdryer on the coolest setting to lightly blow over wrinkled areas, smoothing them out. Keep heat low and moving to avoid damage.
  • Work in sections until the garment appears wrinkle-free. Let cool fully before wearing or moving.

Steaming Method

  • Use a garment steamer on the lowest heat setting. Test on an inconspicuous area first.
  • Hold the steamer 2-3 inches above the garment, not directly touching it. Steam wrinkled sections until smooth.
  • Hang and let cool fully. Repeat as needed for stubborn wrinkles.

Post-Washing Silk Care

Once your silk is washed and wrinkle-free, a little extra care will keep it that way after each wear. Here are my top maintenance tips:

  • Fold your garments gently and store them in breathable garment bags. Hang camisoles, blouses and dresses.
  • Iron only if needed using silk setting and low heat. Iron on the reverse side first to further protect fibers.
  • Place shoulder pads in often-worn silk jackets and blazers to maintain shape between wears.
  • For accessories like scarves, lay flat in a drawer on acid-free tissue paper instead of folding.

Follow these steps and your silk garments will maintain their wrinkle-free beauty and luxurious drape for many wears to come!

Uncover the truth in my article about whether it’s okay to get silk wet and its effects.

hand laundering silk outfits in basin

Silk Types and Wrinkle Resistance

Not all silks are created equal when it comes to wrinkle resistance. Here’s a quick guide to how different silk varieties hold up:

Silk TypeWrinkle Resistance
CharmeusePoor. Very lightweight and prone to wrinkles.
ChiffonPoor. Sheer and wispy texture shows wrinkles easily.
Crepe de ChineGood. Textured fabric helps mask wrinkles.
DupioniExcellent. Heavier weight holds shape well.
NoilGood. Nubby texture resists wrinkles.
OrganzaGood. Crisp finish minimizes wrinkling.
ShantungFair. More textured than other silks but still delicate.

If you find certain silk garments are extra wrinkle-prone, look for these wrinkle-resistant varieties for your next purchase.

Preventative Measures

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of wrinkle removal. Here are some daily habits to keep your silk smooth:

  • Hang silk garments immediately after wearing them – don’t throw them in the hamper!
  • Travel with silk items in a garment bag and hang them up as soon as possible.
  • For stored silk, refold and rearrange periodically to avoid crease lines.
  • Add silicone-free sizing to newly purchased silk garments to strengthen fibers and reduce wrinkling.
  • can silk be put in the dryer to remove wrinkles? Absolutely not! Tumble drying will damage the silk.
silk cleaning in basin using heritage park detergent

What’s the Best Way to Machine Wash Wrinkle-Prone Silk?

Use a mesh bag to prevent excess agitation. Set the machine to a gentle cycle with cool water and minimal detergent.

Only wash 1-2 items at once so garments can move freely. Remove promptly after washing and immediately hang or lay flat to dry.

Hot water and overcrowding in the machine will cause wrinkles.

My Silk Came Out Wrinkled After Air Drying. How Can I Fix This?

Try using a garment steamer on low heat to relax the fibers. You can also hang the silk in the bathroom while showering to let the steam release wrinkles.

Handle the garment as little as possible while drying for best results. Proper drying is key to keeping silk wrinkle-free. Let the garment fully air dry after steaming.

How to Keep Silk Clothing Wrinkle-Free During Storage?

Fold garments gently along natural creases and store them in breathable bags. Wrap folded items in acid-free tissue paper.

Hang delicate dresses, blouses, and camisoles rather than folding if you can. Take care to prevent creases and friction while silk is stored. Proper storage keeps silk wrinkle-free.

manual wash of silk clothing in basin


With the proper care techniques, washing your silk garments doesn’t have to end in a wrinkly mess.

By prepping your silk correctly, washing gently by hand or machine, air drying thoroughly, and storing properly, you can keep your silk pieces looking their absolute best.

Follow this beginner’s guide and you’ll be a silk laundry expert in no time. Say goodbye to wrinkles, and hello to luxuriously smooth silk garments that will last for many years to come!

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