Is Silk Ruined In The Washing Machine? (Steps & Tips)

There is a lot of confusion about whether you can wash silk in the machine. Some people say that it ruins the fabric, while others claim that it’s perfectly fine to do. So, what’s the truth?

Can you put your silk clothes in the washing machine without ruining them? Yes, you can. But there are some essential things to remember, from checking the care label to hang-dry the garments.

silk washing machine

This blog post will explore the answer to that question and provide tips on best caring for your silk garments.

Is Silk Ruined in the Washing Machine?

silk dress
Silk dress. Credit: canva

The answer is NO. It’s pretty easy to wash silk without ruining it. All you need to do is follow these simple steps.

Step 1 – Check the Care Label

silk care label
Silk care label. Credit: canva

Most silk can be machine-washed on the delicate cycle with cold water. If the care label says to hand wash, then hand wash. If it says to dry clean only, then dry clean only.

However, some silks (like those with beading or sequins) should only be hand-washed. If your garment is one of these, skip to Step 4. 

Step 2 – Pretreat Stains

If your garment has any stains, pretreat them with a stain remover before washing them. Apply the stain remover to the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before laundering it.

Step 3 – Place Silk Items in a Mesh Bag

laundry bag
Mesh bag or laundry bag. Credit: canva

Place each item of clothing into a mesh bag to prevent the silk from snagging and tangling in the machine. This will help to protect your fabric and ensure that it comes out of the washing machine unscathed.

Step 4 – Launder on Delicate Cycle with Cold Water

polyester washing machine
Credit: canva

Set the machine to the delicate cycle and use cold water. Then add your garment and wash as usual. You may also want to add a mild detergent designed for delicates. 

Step 5 – Hang Dry or Lay Flat to Dry 

fresh clean laundry
Hang drying cloths. Credit: canva

Once your garment has been washed, please don’t put it in the dryer! Silk is a delicate fabric and can be easily damaged by heat. Instead, hang dry or lay flat to dry.

If you’re hang drying, use a padded hanger, so your garment doesn’t stretch out of shape. And if you’re laying flat to dry, smooth out any wrinkles before the garment dries completely. 

Tips for Washing Silk in the Washing Machine

embroidered silk
Embroidered silk. Credit: canva

But did you know there’s a right and wrong way to wash silk? Follow these simple tips if you don’t want to ruin your favorite silk blouse.

  • Sort the laundry: Separate your silk garments from the rest of your laundry. Avoid washing them with rough garments like jeans to preserve delicate clothing made of silk or other fabrics.
  • Always use cold water: Silk is a sensitive fabric that can quickly shrink or damage if exposed to heat. So always use cold water on the delicate cycle when washing silk in the machine.
  • Use a gentle detergent: Make sure you’re using a mild, gentle detergent designed explicitly for delicates and silks. Other types of detergents can cause your fabric to fade or become damaged.
  • Don’t over-wash: Silk doesn’t need to be washed very often. Instead, try spot-cleaning stains and only wash your silk garment when it’s indispensable.
  • Avoid using bleach: Bleach is too harsh for most silks, so always avoid it. If you have a white silk garment, use a whitener instead.
  • Avoid harsh stain removers: Some silks are prone to staining and can be very tricky to remove stains. But don’t reach for the bleach or other harsh stain removers! Instead, try cleaning your silk garment with warm water first. If that doesn’t work, then use a mild stain remover.
  • Always air-dry: Never put them in the dryer, as the heat can damage the fabric. If you need to remove wrinkles, iron your garment on the lowest setting while it’s still damp.
  • If you need to use a dryer: Use the lowest setting and keep an eye on your fabric to ensure that it doesn’t become damaged.


Can silk be machine washed?

Yes, most silk can be machine washed on a delicate cycle with cold water.

However, it’s essential to check the care instructions carefully and avoid washing them with rough garments that may damage the fabric or cause snags.

How do I hand wash silk garments?

Use a mild detergent and cool water. Gently agitate the garment and let it soak for about 10 minutes before rinsing it with cool water.

Do not wring or twist the fabric, as this can cause damage. Lay flat or hang to dry in a shaded area.

Can I put my silk scarf in the washing machine?

Yes, you can. Please check the care instructions and use a gentle cycle with cold water. Make sure to avoid snagging it on rough garments and always lay it flat or hang it to dry.

What setting should I use on my washing machine for silk garments?

Most silk garments can be washed on a delicate cycle setting. Check the care instructions to be sure.

Some silks may be more fragile and require extra care, so always use the gentlest settings on your machine and avoid harsh stain removers or bleaches.

Can I use bleach on my silk clothing?

No, bleach should never be used on silk as it can severely damage and discolor the fabric. Be sure to test a small area of the fabric before a full wash to ensure the bleach doesn’t fade the color.

Can I put my silk pillowcase in the dryer?

Yes, you can put your silk pillowcase in the dryer. The high heat will help to remove any wrinkles or creases in the fabric.

Just be sure to set the dryer to low heat and avoid using any fabric softener, as this can damage the delicate fibers of the silk. Enjoy your smooth and wrinkle-free pillowcase!

Can I iron my silk clothing?

Yes, but be very careful. Silk is a delicate fabric easily damaged by heat and agitation.

If you’re going to iron your silk clothing, start by testing the fabric for heat tolerance. To do this, place a small swatch of cloth over an ironing board and turn on the iron to its lowest setting. Apply pressure for about 5 seconds. If the cloth starts to smoke or brown, ironing your garment is not safe.

Don’t move the iron back and forth across the fabric – instead, press down firmly with short strokes.

Was this article helpful?