Because the silky fabric is usually reserved for formal wear, your taffeta garments likely don't see as much wear and tear as the typical cotton duds. Taffeta's delicate texture makes it well-suited for special occasions, but it also requires a gentle touch when it comes to washing. The smooth weave defines taffeta, but it can be made of real silk or synthetics -- as fabrics vary, always defer to your garment's label for specific cleaning instructions. Variety aside, delicacy is key across the board; for both true silk and synthetic taffeta, hand-washing is a safe bet.
Things You'll Need
Mild, non-alkaline soap or baby shampoo
Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
Fill a sink or clean basin with cold or lukewarm water. Add a few drops of mild, non-alkaline soap or baby shampoo and mix it into the water thoroughly. Add a dash of borax to treat stains on colored silk taffeta, or go with hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia to lift stains from white silk taffeta.
Submerge the taffeta garment in the water. By hand, gently agitate the garment for about 5 minutes.
Drain the sink or basin and rinse the item with clean cold or lukewarm water. Lift the garment to let it drip-dry -- never twist or wring. Repeat the rinsing process until the water runs clear of soap.
Spread the garment out over a clean, thick and absorbent towel, then roll the towel tightly to rid the taffeta of excess moisture. Hang the item on a drying rack in a dry, temperate and shady area and allow it to air-dry completely.
Some taffeta items can be machine-washed, per the manufacturer's recommendation. Set the machine to “delicate," use the shortest spin cycle and place your items in a mesh bag for added safety.
If your home has hard water, add a spoonful of borax to your water when hand-washing taffeta.
Iron silk taffeta while still damp using a low iron setting. For synthetics, iron while damp using your iron's “nylon” setting or use a steamer. In any case, take care not to remove intentional crinkling in fabrics such as crushed or pinchwheel taffeta.
Never use bleach or alcohol on silk or synthetic taffeta, and avoid hanging the fabrics to dry in direct sunlight. These processes can cause discoloration or damage the structure of the fabric over time.
Avoid spot-treating stains, as it may cause spotting on the fabric.