How to Clean Silk Upholstery

December 23rd, 2011


When handling silk upholstery fabric, you need to treat it with special care. China and Japan are the main producers of silk. The process of silk production has dated back since 3000 B.C. This fabric is notorious for being luxurious and quite expensive, and the last thing you want to do is ruin your nice silk items. Sericulture is the production of raw silk created by silkworms. Silk fibers are collected during the caterpillar phase of the silkworm’s life. Every individual silkworm cocoon is made up of a single fiber that measures out to 600-900 meters long. Then, five to eight strands of the fibers are unwound from the silkworm cocoon to make one silk thread. These silk fibers are then transformed into fine silk fabrics.


It’s crucial to remember to only use mild detergent when cleaning any form of silk fabric. If you don’t want to mess with cleaning, you can always have it professionally cleaned. Before cleaning any of your items, remember to test a small inconspicuous spot, since certain types of dyed silk can discolor easily. In many cases, silk upholstery can be cleaned by dipping a clean soft cloth dipped in cold water and mild laundry detergent.

For removable silk fabrics, fill a tub or large sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild laundry detergent. Swirl the detergent around in the tub, so the water is thoroughly mixed. Next, place your silk item in the water, and gently agitate it using your hands. The key is to be as gentle as possible! Then drain the water out of the tub or sink.

Now, fill the sink or tub back up but with cold water this time, and add a very small amount of distilled white vinegar. Place the silk article in the water and swirl it around to rinse. Rinsing the silk fabric in the cold water and vinegar mixture will help eliminate any remaining soapy residue. Drain the water from the sink, and run more cold water over the silk to ensure all soap deposits are gone. Gently wring out any remaining water from the silk article, and hang over a shower curtain rod or a clothesline to allow it to dry.

Important Tips

  • Never ever use a hair dryer to dry spills or wet spots on silk, since this can damage and shrink fibers.
  • Do not place silk upholstery items in direct sunlight or near a heating or air conditioning source.
  • Clean up spills as soon as possible, never rub a stain into the fabric since this will force the stain deeper into the fabric.

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