Tips for Ironing Silk

If you're someone who enjoys ironing your own clothes, you know that nothing is more nerve-wracking than ironing silk. Silk is delicate and easily burned, stretched, or otherwise damaged on an ironing board. Depending on the type of garment and the type of silk, it may take a little experimentation to achieve the best results.

Consider these five things when ironing silk garments:

  1. Many irons have a silk setting, but if yours doesn't, use low heat and lots of steam. It's also important to keep the iron moving fast; lingering on a single area may scorch the fabric.
  2. There's a difference between ironing and pressing. Conventional ironing (moving the iron back and forth) can stretch a fabric. If you're concerned about this with your silk garment, try pressing instead. Use a press cloth or any protective cloth (a thin dishtowel will do) between the silk and iron and press with high heat and pressure on a single spot with adequate steam. Repeat over the rest of the garment until you're done.
  3. Iron silk while still damp from washing and use lots of steam. Then let the garment cool on the ironing board before moving it. Moving the garment while still hot and moist can inadvertently shake out any pleats or creases that you're trying to create.
  4. Whenever possible, iron the garment inside out. Shirts, skirts, dresses and other garments should be ironed on the reverse side to minimize possible damage to the fibers, which can change the appearance of the fabric.
  5. If you're ironing a silk garment dry and it's badly wrinkled, try hanging it in the bathroom while you shower before ironing. Infusing the garment with steam may relax some of the severe wrinkles and achieve better, faster results with the iron with less risk of damage. This is something to keep in mind when traveling and unpacking a badly wrinkled item from your suitcase.

When in doubt, take it slow and start from the safest method first. Inside out with a protective cloth is always a safe place to start until you build up your confidence.

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