How to Clean Vintage Silk

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

How to Clean Vintage Silk. Vintage silk can be damaged by the dirt trapped within the folds of the garment or prolonged exposure to heat, light and dust. Some damage caused by the stains may be irrevocable and the silk can tear during cleaning. Exercise caution while using the following method to clean vintage silk.

Items you will need

  • Dry towels
  • Liquid detergent
  • Water
  • Soft sponges or cotton swabs
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Iron
Step 1

Spread a dry towel under the silk cloth. Wring a soft wet towel thoroughly and moisten the silk surface.

Step 2

Make a solution of 1/8 cup liquid detergent and 3 cups water. Dip a soft sponge in the soapy solution. Go with the grain of the vintage silk and gently rub the sponge on the area you wish to clean. Dip another soft sponge in clean water and blot the residue from the silk.

Step 3

Mix 2 cups water with 4 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Use the clean towel to apply it to the cloth surface. This balances the alkalinity from the soapy solution and preserves the vintage silk.

Step 4

Lay the wet vintage silk flat between the folds of a dry towel and gently press to dry. Carefully iron on a low setting to remove any wrinkles.


  • Use a cotton swab instead of a sponge to clean a small stain.


  • Do not wring wet vintage silk. Do not use steam when ironing. Contact a vintage restoration expert to help you clean vintage silk if it is an antique piece or cherished family heirloom.