How to Wash a Silk Shirt

by Celeigh O'Neil ; Updated September 28, 2017

Silk will lose its shape if exposed to excess heat or harsh detergents.

Maria Mitrofanova/Hemera/Getty Images

That airy silk shirt you bought to wear on special occasions may quickly lose its appeal after you see the "Dry Clean Only" tag. One spill during lunch could send it to the back of your closet. As long as a silk shirt is not terribly stained, however, you can successfully hand wash it at home. Handle it gently and you'll be wearing it again in no time.

Fill a bucket with lukewarm water, then add 1/3 cup of gentle laundry detergent. Pour in a teaspoon of vinegar if the garment is stained.

Place the silk garment into the mixture. Use your hands to rotate it within the bucket until all of the fabric is submerged, then allow it to soak for 15 minutes.

Remove the garment from the bucket and gently wring it out. Rinse it under cold running water to remove all residue, and wring it out one more time.

Place a thick towel on a flat surface. Lay the garment flat on top of the towel. Pick up one end of the towel and roll it tightly into a cylinder with the garment on the inside to remove excess moisture.

Unroll the towel and gently shake the garment to remove wrinkles. Place the garment on a hanger, and hang it to dry indoors.


  • Check the tag on the shirt for instructions on hand washing this particular garment.

    Take the shirt to a dry cleaner if it contains multiple or deep-set stains, as they are more difficult to remove.

Photo Credits

  • Maria Mitrofanova/Hemera/Getty Images

About the Author

Celeigh O'Neil has been writing professionally since 2008. She has a Bachelor of fine arts from the University of Ottawa, as well as degrees in fashion illustration/design, digital arts and certification in hair and makeup artistry. O'Neil was a frequent contributor to Toronto's "Dialog" newspaper and has worked as an instructional writer, creating lessons in fashion, art and English for students of all ages.