How to Clean Silk Drapery

colorful folded silks
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Mild detergent
Lukewarm water
White vinegar
Step stool

Silk drapery is beautiful, elegant and luxurious. The drapes give the house both a charming and sophisticated air, and enhance your indoor decor. They are available in several varieties such as brocade, satin, georgette, chiffon and charmeuse. Silk is a natural fiber and can be cleaned through hand-washing, but it does require more care than most fabrics. Weekly maintenance can be done using a vacuum.

Attach the soft brush onto the vacuum hose and clean the drapes using up and down movements. Washing can be done as need arises. Do not let your drapes get too dirty before washing as it will necessitate a more thorough wash, which exerts greater pressure on the fabric. It is easier to wash them as soon as you note that they are dirty. Washing them also gets rid of accumulated dust, pet hair and allergens which will leave you with a much cleaner indoor environment.

It's a good idea to wash a corner of the drapes and observe how the material reacts to the washing before you proceed to wash the entire lot. Washing can be done either by hand or using a machine. To make sure that your silk retains its unique soft feel and color when washed, follow these simple steps.

Step 1 - Remove from Rod

Using the step stool, remove the draperies from the rod. Be careful not to tug at them as it could damage the fabric.

Step 2 - Washing

If hand-washing, fill up the sink with lukewarm water and add some mild detergent. Mix well so that the soap is well distributed in the water. Insert the drapes and wash gently by rubbing the fabric in-between your hands. Be careful to pay more attention to the dirtier spots. Rinse well so that no traces of soap are left on the fabric. After rinsing, fill the sink with more lukewarm water and add one tablespoon of white vinegar. This solution will remove all traces of soap and restore the natural sheen of the fabric. Insert the drapes and let them sit for a couple of seconds, then remove and rinse again. If using a machine, set it to the "Gentle" cycle. Use cold water and some mild detergent.

Step 3 - Drying

Do not wring hand washed drapes. Lay them onto towels and roll up the towels so that they absorb excess water. Lay out the towels with the drapes on top in a shaded area and make sure it is well supported. You can place some weights on the corners of the towels to prevent them from being disrupted by wind. Do not let them dry out completely. Avoid drying in direct sunlight as it may cause the fabric to fade.

Machine washed drapes can be put into the dryer and set at "Low Heat" or "No Heat". Set for the minimum time as silk is light and will dry quickly. Too much heat will damage the fabric. Remove the drapes from the dryer as soon as it stops.

Step 4 - Ironing

Iron while still slightly damp so that the silk smooths easily. Set the iron at "cool" and iron on the reverse side.