How to take care of your silks
Silk clothing was considered to be the prerogative of royalty. Extremely rare and expensive in the olden days, this fine and soft material was thought to be fit for only a royal frame. Now, with widespread cultivation of silk worms etc, silk is very accessible to all of us, though it is still considered to be a luxury as it is quite an expensive material.
One should take extreme care while handling silk items and should remember that it is a biodegradable, renewable fabric and that it is also an animal product and hence should be treated with respect. Make sure that you store your silk garments with utmost care and don’t ever think of washing them with harsh substances like bleach or industrial strength detergents etc.
How should you clean your silk clothing or any upholstery which is silk? For one, always remember that silk is rendered very weak when it is wet, therefore, once it has been washed, take care not to roughly scrunch it up – instead, towel press it so that the water is absorbed and then hang it in the shade to dry naturally – do not put it in a clothes drier or use a hair dryer on it. High heat will damage silk irrevocably and it will also cause the colour to fade away. Also, when you are wearing your silk clothes then make sure that you do not spray your perfume right on the material – it is better to spray it on your skin as alcohol will also damage the material. For the same reason, avoid using any cleaner which has alcohol content, read the label carefully before using it on silk so that you avoid any mishaps. Ideally, you should use baby shampoo or very mild soap to clean silk clothing and in case you want to remove any stains, simply mix a tablespoon of white vinegar with baby soap, immerse the silk item in this mixture for a couple of minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
Ironing your silk garment or tie or belt/scarf etc. also requires extreme care – never use an iron that is very hot and always spritz the material with a little bit of water. The dampness will prevent the delicate fibre from burning. Store your silk clothing or items carefully by never wrapping them in plastic – silk needs to breathe and moisture can be trapped inside by it, and ideally, store silk in a dry, clean place as the material is sensitive to light and fail.
And if you find there is a really bad spillage or your silk is tainted with grease, do not attempt to clean it yourself, send it to the dry cleaners as they will know how to deal with the fabric in such a way so as not to damage it while removing the grease without leaving a stain. The bottom line in silk storage – avoid camphor and naphthalene balls – many people make the mistake of storing silks with these because they think this will keep away insects. Unfortunately, this only serves to damage the delicate material.