How to Clean Yellowed Silk

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Silk fabric is made from natural, protein-based threads. This delicate, luxurious fabric requires special cleaning methods to maintain its quality and color. Silk can turn yellow for various reasons, such as exposure to perspiration, extended storage time and improper cleaning methods. Although most silk garments are labeled "dry clean only," you can wash 100 percent silk fabric at home with gentle products and special care.

Things You'll Need

  • Plain soap flakes
  • White vinegar
  • Towel
  • Iron
  • Fill a laundry tub or sink with warm water and add 1 tbsp. of plain soap flakes per gallon of water. Mix the water with your hand to dissolve the soap flakes.

  • Submerge the silk item in the soapy water and swish it gently until the yellow areas begin to fade.

  • Empty the laundry tub or sink, and rinse the silk item with water until no soap residue remains.

  • Refill the tub or sink with cool water and add 1/4 cup of white vinegar.

  • Swish the silk item in the vinegar water and rinse it thoroughly with cool water.

  • Lay the silk item flat on a towel and roll up the towel to absorb any excess water.

  • Iron the damp silk item with a medium-hot iron to dry. If the silk begins to dry on its own before ironing, dampen it with a wet cloth. Do not allow the silk to air-dry, as it can cause the fabric to turn yellow.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test a hidden area for colorfastness before washing.
  • Do not use regular laundry detergent, enzyme-based cleaners or chlorine bleach on silk.
  • Do not allow silk items to air-dry to prevent yellowing.
  • Do not spot-clean silk, as it can change the fabric's color and leave permanent marks.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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