Caring for dupioni silk is similar to caring for other silk fabrics but, while many silks are washable despite their dry-clean-only label, a number of manufacturers and vendors advise against washing dupioni. Some sources say that hand washing is acceptable, but they note that washing dupioni can cause the fabric to shrink and may also soften its texture. There is disagreement on this point, but the consensus seems to be that the wise consumer will err on the side of caution and dry clean articles made of dupioni silk. In addition, special care is called for in dealing with the problems of wrinkles, water or perspiration stains, and sunlight.
Allow wrinkled dupioni silk clothing or drapery panels to hang for a few days. Most wrinkles will relax and fall out on their own. If any remain, press clothing or drapes on a padded, cloth-covered ironing board with a dry iron set on a low setting. Avoid the possibility of creating water spots by not using water or steam. Press garments or draperies on the wrong side even if they are lined.
Water will spot this fabric, and the spots may be permanent. If only one or two spots mar the fabric, it may be possible to erase them by immediately blotting up as much moisture as possible, then gently buffing the edges of the spots with a clean, soft cloth to keep a ring from forming. Treat water spills on silk upholstery the same way. Remove the cushion cover, if possible, and work on the area from the back as well as from the front. Avoid rubbing too hard, because this can leave abrasion marks on the fabric.
Perspiration has the same effect on silk fabric as water does. It will form unsightly rings that may be permanent and can cause the fabric to deteriorate. Wear a cotton blouse or shirt under a silk jacket, and use a reliable antiperspirant. If the garment is designed to be worn without a blouse or shirt and has sleeves, wear underarm shields designed specifically for this purpose. Clean silk worn next to the skin frequently, preferably after each wearing.
Vacuum silk drapes regularly to remove dust that can damage the fabric over time. Use a hand or canister vacuum with a fabric attachment, and, if possible, leave them in place for cleaning. Never spray draperies with fabric-freshening sprays, which also have the same effect as water.
Sunlight will also damage dupioni silk. Protect it by storing silk clothing in a closet without windows, and do not hang garments in direct sunlight when airing or removing wrinkles. Have silk draperies lined with thick cotton. Draperies in windows that receive direct sunlight may also need an inner lining. Keep furniture with silk upholstery out of direct sunlight to avoid damage or fading.