Silk Textiles

Silk fibers are being used increasingly in textile furnishings such as rugs, upholstery and draperies. Silk is a luxury fiber used in the manufacture of expensive, high-fashion products. It can be dyed and printed to produce very beautiful designs and bright shades. These properties make silk a beautiful, very desirable fiber.

Silk, however, also characteristically exhibits several problems when cleaned. Silk dyes may be soluble (dissolve) in water, detergent and/or dry cleaning solvent. Silk is also prone to color bleeding and the formation of water spots, ring marks or perspiration stains. Color bleeding is more of a problem with dark colors than with pastels. Being delicate, silk is susceptible to abrasion, yarn slippage, sunlight damage, discoloration and can show texture changes. These problems often are revealed or accentuated by normal cleaning.

In order to minimize the problems described, special procedures are required for cleaning silk. The choice of method depends on various factors such as the age and condition of the silk textile, spots and stains present and consumer expectations. In general, it is more prudent to dry-clean silk. Some silks can be wet-cleaned successfully, but others can not. Wet cleaning of silk aids soil and stain removal, but may result in texture distortion, which is often permanent.

Remember, more intensive cleaning usually is required to restore the appearance of an excessively soiled rug or fabric. Such thorough cleaning procedures, however, have a higher propensity to cause damage. Silk textiles, therefore, should be maintained well (vacuumed regularly) and cleaned more frequently, before they become excessively soiled. It is also advantageous to use silk textiles prudently. For example, use silk rugs in areas with no foot traffic (as wall hangings) or, at least, limit the amount of foot traffic on them. Avoid using silk draperies in sunny windows and protect them with drapery linings. Consult us for further information regarding special services to preserve your silk textiles.