Silk has enjoyed a virtually unrivaled reputation as a luxury fabric, whether used in undergarments, dresses, or anything else. It’s no wonder why silk is one of our favorite textures; it looks and feels incredible. Although, with luxury comes high-maintenance, and one of the trickiest aspects of silk is knowing how to keep it looking fresh and wrinkle-free. Whether you’re laundering your favorite work blouse, packing a silk slip for your next getaway, or attempting to restore a vintage silk item, knowing how to iron silk is essential. Here’s how to maintain your favorite silk garments to perfection.
1. Prep the Fabric
To help silk retain its texture and integrity, the fabric must always be damp when ironing. Keep a spray bottle handy and consider ironing the garment immediately after it’s been hand-washed. Turn the garment inside out while ironing.
2. Focus on Steam, Not Heat
To iron silk without damaging it, it’s crucial that you use the lowest heat setting on your iron. Many irons have an actual silk setting, in which case this is the best way to go. Simply lay the garment flat on the ironing board, place the press cloth on top, and then iron. You can also use a handkerchief, pillowcase, or hand towel instead of a press cloth.
3. Pressing vs. Ironing
When most of us think of ironing, we think of dragging the iron across the fabric. One of the key tips in properly ironing silk is to minimize ironing back and forth. When ironing silk, focus on key areas of wrinkling. Gently press downward through the press cloth. Lift the iron, allow the area to briefly cool, and then repeat on another section of fabric. Keep in mind that pressing silk does not mean leaving the iron in place for a long period of time. Minimizing the length of time the iron is in contact with the fabric (even with the press cloth) will prevent the silk from burning.
4. Avoid Further Wrinkling
One of the most important aspects of ironing silk is to prevent wrinkles before they happen. During ironing, make sure that each section of fabric is laid perfectly flat. Also, ensure that the garment is taut to avoid creating new wrinkles. Another common mistake is removing the garment from the ironing board before it’s completely cooled. Before taking your clothing off the board, make sure that it’s cool and dry. This will help your hard work pay off in smooth, wrinkle-free silk.