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How to Care for Your Hand Painted Silk Scarf or Hand Dyed Silk Shawl

Updated on August 24, 2015

When considering purchasing silk, many people are misled. They mistake the fineness and ethereal quality of the item for fragility. They see costly elegance and impractical expense. They also believe hand-painted or hand-dyed silk fabric will increase the possibility of mishaps and make the material difficult to care for. This is not the case. In fact, the scarves and shawls, while adding élan and style to any woman’s wardrobe, are very easy to look after. 

Every item needs cleaning. When you wear clothing, they become exposed to stains, perfume scents, cigarette smoke and other forms of airborne environmental pollution. Any of these can negatively affect the overall feel and look of the silk item. When you clean the clothing, you provide it with a new lease on life. By removing any harmful substances and odors, you ensure it retains its first-rate condition. As a result, you can continue to wear your silk scarf or shawl for several years.

If you wish to keep these remarkable and unique silk treasures in perfect condition, simply follow the information below for caring for your precious and unique scarf or shawl

1. Hand Wash Only

Hand washing is the only acceptable method to use to keep your silk scarf or shawl clean and durable. Dry cleaning inflicts the fabric with harsh chemicals. These will have undesirable effects on both the material and the dye. Machine washing, with its fluctuating changes in temperature, can also damage the condition of hand-dyed or painted silk items. Therefore, it is best to wash only by hand employing either a mild detergent or baby hair products.

Wash by hand but do not rub the soap into the stains. This would produce a rub spot. If you are worried about the color bleeding, simply add a small amount of common table salt to the water-soap medium. Never, ever add any harsh chemicals such as or containing bleach.

2. Add vinegar during rinsing

After washing, you will need to rinse the scarf or shawl. Choose clean, cool, clear water. After the first rinse, add a bit of white vinegar to the clean water. This acts to neutralize any soap. Rinse a final time to remove and vestiges of vinegar. It will also brighten up the fabric and return its normal shine. Do not wring it out at any point before or after rinsing. To do so will extend the material making it misshapen and destroying its natural shape.

3. Use clean towels to dry your scarf or shawl

When you want to dry out the item, lay it out on a flat clean surface upon a clean, dry tea or bath towel.  Proceed, then, to roll the silk shawl or scarf up. The towel will act as a sponge, soaking up the water expressed by the rolling. When completed, lay the scarf or shawl flat out to dry in the air on another dry towel.

4. Iron with care

It is possible to iron silk. You just have to be careful during the process. You have two alternatives. You can set the iron on low and iron only on the reverse side or you can set it at a higher temperature, place the silk scarf or shawl beneath a piece of clean cotton fabric then iron it. This latter form prevents any direct contact with the heat.

It is not difficult or complicated to ensure your hand-painted silk shawls and scarves retain their brilliance. All you need to do is follow these few basic measures for a lifetime of enjoyment.

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by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency

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This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to CreativeCommons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California94105, USA.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the article! Very informative! It will help me keep my silk scarves looking excellent!

    • Jennifer Lynch profile image

      Jennifer Lynch 

      8 years ago from Stowmarket, Suffolk.

      Hello Julie

      This is a great hub and a joy to read. I have a couple of silk scarves, so I will give them a wash. Thank you

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your kindness to advice how to take care of it before it would all ruined.


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