Is Silk Washable?

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All silk is washable. The real question is whether or not you like the silk after it is washed. Silk will shrink because it is a natural fiber. You must preshrink the silk before you make your garment if you want your garment to be washable. The amount of shrinkage varies depending upon the type of silk and the temperature of the water. The color and texture of the silk will change after being washed. The chlorine in the water will change the color of your silk. You will eventually loose the natural sheen of the silk by washing it. The weave will tighten and the fibers will expand giving the washed silk a thicker, softer hand. Wash by hand in lukewarm or cold water using a mild detergent such as Ivory Flakes or Johnson's Baby Shampoo. If you want the silk to look exactly the way you purchased it, then dry clean it.
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Yes and no. Silk is a surprisingly tough and steely fabric, it's not as delicate as you might think! Lined silk garments, silk noils, slub weaves, heavily textured weaves, hand painted, heavy brocades, tweeds and silk with metallic threads must be cleaned by a professional. Peau de soie, georgette, chiffon, flat crepes, satins, dobby weaves, china silks, sand-washed and lightweight sueded fabrics can be washed at home. Most silk blouse fabrics are hand washable, but use extra care. Hand wash is lukewarm water with a bit of liquid detergent. Swish the silk around and let it soak. Swish it around once more then rinse in very cold water at least twice. DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER. fabric softener will deposit a layer of oil on the silk and stain it. When the silk is rinsed well the hang it to dry or lay flat. If the silk is badly wrinkled then damp press it, that is: press with a barely warm iron while the fabric is still slightly damp. You might want to test a small corner of the blouse ... more
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The silk is washable, but probably not machine dryable. As far as I know, the playsilks come out of the Waldorf Education tradition, which emphasizes the use of natural materials, which is why they all seem to be silk. I personally like the natural materials idea myself, but I think a child would get equal play value out of a scarf made of some other material. I think you could certainly get a non-silk alternative at JoAnn for cheaper that would be just as fun. Just don't have any Waldorf types over for playdates! So basically I think it is an aesthetic and philosophical choice, not a practical one. For instance if you have no problem with plastic toys, then I think a synthetic play scarf would do just fine. more

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