How to Care for Silk: Your Ultimate Guide | YOLKE | YOLKE

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How to Care for Silk: Your Ultimate Guide

Whether you’ve owned silk for a while or you’re new to the fabric, we’ll help you to care for your silk so that it stays fresh, smooth, shiny and looking great for years to come...


A Little about Silk

Silk is one of the strongest of the natural textiles. It is still, to this day, the strongest fabric made through a natural process. It contains fibroin, a type of protein that certain types of insect larvae secrete to make their cocoons. Other insects produce silk-substances, but most of the world’s silk originates from the Bombyx mori larvae – worms that only live in Mulberry trees.

In some light, silk produces a shimmering effect. This is due to the prism-like structure of the fibres. This particular prism reflects lights at quite a few angles, which produces the infamous rainbow tone that has made silk fabrics so popular.


As a lovely luxurious fabric, one of the reasons silk is well sought after is due to its natural property that helps improve the quality of sleep. Silk is also known for its numerous health benefits – as it is a naturally hypoallergenic material!

Want to know how to wear silk? Heres How to Style a Silk Slip Dress  


How to care for your silk

The complicated structure of silk's delicate fabric means that you may wonder how to correctly wash and care for your YOLKE pyjamas and dresses.

All delicate fabrics need a careful cleaning regime, using specific mild washing detergent and a lower temperature washing cycle – to protect their natural properties.


How to care for different silks

No two silk garments and products are the same. Cleaning and caring for your new silk dress will not be the same for your pyjamas

Follow this ultimate silk cleaning guide to help guarantee the longevity of your beautiful garments. If looked after carefully, your YOLKE silk items will remain strong, supple and shiny for years.


How to care for silk nightwear

The natural properties of your silk nightwear need a lower temperature than cotton, polyester and other fabrics. This is because the introduction of heat can cause permanent damage to the fibres.

Do not wash your silk at over 30 degrees Celsius, or it will cause the fabric to harden, shrink, and become very brittle.

Can you machine wash silk?

Yes. If you choose to machine wash your silk items, YOLKE recommends that you wash ALL of them together – and separately from any other fabrics.

This is because other fabrics are slightly harsher, can rub on the silk during the wash and can damage the silk’s delicate threads. Do not boil or soak your silk items.

Our silk pyjamas from YOLKE are usually fine to machine wash at a cool temperature (usually below 30 degrees Celsius). You should read and follow all instructions on the garment’s individual labels to correctly care for them.

If you’re nervous about machine-washing your silk, set your washing machine at the lowest temperature setting it has to offer. These are usually named ‘gentle wash’, ‘sensitive wash’ – and some even have a dedicated ‘silk cycle’


Why is silk is the best fabric to sleep in? Find out in our Ultimate Silk Sleepware Guide.


Using soap and detergent for your silk

As silk is such a delicate fabric, it’s quite important to use a special silk detergent, as this offers a more neutralised pH, unlike normal detergents, and will be gentle on the silk’s natural fibres.


How to care for silk after washing

To remove any excess water after washing, do not wring your silk items, as this can damage the delicate fibres. To remove any excess water, place the damp garment on a cotton towel, fold the towel over and gently blot. Then either lie flat on a drying rack or dry towel or hang on a padded hanger and place above the bath.

The best way to dry your silk clothing is of course outside in the fresh air – but do not use pegs or they could mark; and keep all silks away from direct sunlight (i.e. do not hang items in the sun) as this can accelerate any fading.

If you do not have the option of drying outside, some nightwear can be tumble-dried at a very low temperature. Silk dries very quickly using any of these measures, so your garments needn’t be left hanging for long!


Can you iron silk?

Yes – in fact it is strongly advised to iron any silk garments to restore its sheen. But there is more involvement to un-creasing your silk than just putting the iron on a low heat setting.

Prepare the fabric – which should always be slightly damp when ironing. Turn the garment inside out while ironing and keep a water spray bottle close by for an extra spritz. It is most important to use the lowest heat setting on your iron, and most thankfully have an actual silk setting, which of course is the best one to use.

Place the silk garment flat on the ironing board and cover it with a ‘press cloth’ (ideally a flat piece of cotton). You could use a handkerchief or pillowcase – these are ideal! Ironing technique is slightly different to normal. Instead of dragging the iron over the fabric, gently press downward through the press cloth, lift the iron, and allow the area to briefly cool – then repeat on another section of wrinkled fabric.

Pressing silk should not mean leaving the iron in place for a long period of time. The shorter the amount of time the iron is in contact with the fabric, the less chance the silk will burn.


How to prevent wrinkles in your silk

The only way to eliminate all that hard work ironing out the wrinkles in your silk is to prevent those wrinkles before they happen! During the ironing of your garment, make sure that each section of your fabric is laid out completely flat. It’s extremely important to ensure that the garment is laid out taut to avoid any new wrinkles emerging.

A common mistake (which can be very frustrating) is to remove the silk garment from the ironing board before it has completely cooled. Touch your clothing carefully with the tip of your finger before removing from the board. If it’s cool and dry, this will result in smooth, wrinkle-free silk!


If you choose to use a dry cleaner

Whether you have tried to clean and dry your silk garment first, or you are going straight to the dry cleaners to look after your items, it’s a good idea to let your dry cleaner know some information first.

Tell them if you’ve tried cleaning the silk and at what stage you got to – as well as whatever detergents you used. Also point out if there are any stains, and what caused them (should you know). This could seriously affect the outcome.


Storing your silk fabrics

While washing and drying your nightwear and bed linen is extremely important, storing your items when not in use is an essential part of the process when finding out how to care for your silk.

So why is it important to store your silk correctly? There are quite a few reasons why - two of the most serious are preventing the fabric being attacked by moths, and damp spoiling your silk.

How can you prevent these problems?

Moths and moth larvae love damp, warm conditions. The easiest way to avoid moths and damp conditions is to rid moisture. The best way to do this is to store silk in breathable cotton bags (not plastic boxes as they retain moisture) and perhaps use extra tissue paper wrapping - to ensure your silk is kept dry.