If your favorite crinkle silk chiffon scarf is dirty from everyday wear, you don’t have to toss this designer accessory into the trash. Because most clothing care labels recommend a gentle hand washing for silk fabrics, you can clean your scarf easily and professionally in the comfort of your home. If you have a steady hand and common household cleaning items, you can extend the life of the crinkle silk scarf without damaging its beautiful and fragile natural fibers.
Items you will need
- Small basin
- Mild liquid detergent
- Distilled white vinegar
- Large white cotton towels
Fill a small basin with warm water. Add 3 to 4 cups of water to clean a 55-inch to 70-inch silk scarf. Add enough water to create suds, without overflowing the basin.
Drop a teaspoon of dish soap or mild liquid detergent into the water. A white or clear mild soap without dyes prevents discoloration of your printed silk scarf. Combine the soap and water mixture by swirling your hand in the water.
Place the silk scarf into the soapy mixture. Twirl the scarf around in the water until you cover the garment with water and soap. Move the fabric back and forth in the water for a maximum of five minutes. Let it soak for an additional two to three minutes. Be careful not to pull or stretch the fabric or rub it vigorously against itself -- these actions may change the shape of the garment or remove the crinkles in the fabric.
Fold the scarf onto itself and press it gently on the side of the basin to remove excess water and soap. Do not twist or wring the scarf. After removing most of the water from the scarf, dump the soapy water out of the basin.
Fill the basin with 3 to 4 cups of warm water. Add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to the water. Immerse the scarf in the water for two to three minutes. Fold the fabric onto itself again. Press the scarf on the side of the basin to remove the diluted vinegar from the fabric. Dump the water out of the basin.
Refill the basin with clean, warm water. Swirl the scarf in the bowl for two minutes or more to remove any soap or white vinegar residue. Avoid rinsing the scarf under running water, which can stretch out the silk fibers and remove the crinkle pattern permanently. Fold the scarf onto itself. Press the fabric on the side of the basin to remove the water from the scarf.
Lay the scarf flat on a large white cotton towel. Gently roll the scarf into the towel to allow the excess water to absorb into the towel’s cotton fibers.
Place a fresh and clean white towel flat on a table. Do not flatten the scarf, to allow it to retain its original crinkled pattern and shape. Lay the chiffon scarf flat on the towel to dry overnight. Make sure that the towel and scarf are in a dry, cool and well-ventilated area.
You can hand wash common stains caused by perfume, body odor or dirt. For makeup, grease-based stains or other stubborn stains, take your silk chiffon scarf to a dry cleaner for professional stain removal.
If you prefer to use a laundry detergent to clean your scarf instead of liquid dish soap, choose a product made specifically for fine washables and delicates.
Never hang your scarf to dry; the silk fabric will stretch and lose its crinkle shape.
Hand wash silk scarves with care. Frequent washing may cause the silk fibers to weaken and stretch.
- Scarves.net: Cleaning Silk: How to Wash Your Silk Scarf
- KT Campbell: Hand Washing 101
- Good Housekeeping: The Complete Household Handbook; Editors From Good Housekeeping
- Mike Powell/Lifesize/Getty Images