We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Iron Silk?

By Ron Marr
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The best way to iron silk is to not iron silk. That sounds like an obvious contradiction, but this most delicate of fabrics is incredibly sensitive to heat, light, water, and chemicals. Silk wrinkles easily, and if it is stained or spotted, it is likely that the marks will never be successfully removed.

One of the primary reasons for silk’s fragility is that the material is created from protein fiber. The raw materials of the very finest versions are harvested from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. The tiny, gossamer threads of the cocoons are woven into threads, which are in turn transformed into textiles. The Chinese developed this process well over 5,000 years ago, and for many centuries the method of creating silk were a closely guarded secret. As legend has it, revealing the secrets of silk making was punishable by death.

While such a fate is no longer the case, no doubt a source of comfort to silk manufacturers the world over, silk still requires far more care than any other fabric. Rather than making an effort to iron silk, a far better solution is to lightly steam it. In most cases, steaming will reduce wrinkles, and eliminate the possibility of burning, shrinking, stretching, or melting the fabric.

A small, hand-steamer works well in removing wrinkles from silk. As another option, while taking a hot shower, one can hang silk suits, ties, dresses, shirts, sheets, or even drapes in the bathroom. This method should also cause wrinkles to vanish. One choice a person should avoid is the urge to take silk fabrics to a dry cleaner. The solvents used my most commercial dry cleaners will play havoc with silk’s delicate composition.

If you feels that you must absolutely iron silk, there are a couple of methods that sometimes work. It should be noted, however, that these are far from foolproof. The owner of the garment may have success, but irons are notoriously imprecise in their temperature settings. It is equally possible that the silk garment may suffer damage.

When ironing silk, it should be remembered that no water should touch the fabric. It will cause rings and spots. Also, too much heat will ruin the fabric. The first step needed to iron silk is to turn the iron to the lowest heat setting possible. Next, place a washcloth or a towel over the silk item to be ironed.

Do not press down on the iron. Rather, move it quickly and with as little pressure as possible, concentrating on small sections of the garment before moving on. Never use the steam setting, as irons often spray drops of water along with the actual steam. Even with a washcloth covering the silk, small amounts of water can soak through and ruin the fabric. When completed, hang the silk item in an area away from direct sunlight.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By StreamFinder — On Jan 18, 2011

Oh, this is so true. The title of this article caught my eye, and I was wondering what kind of craziness it would be because in my experience, silk and irons go together about like cookies and Tabasco sauce.

I once tried to iron a silk shirt when I was younger, and despite being so careful, it got water spots on it and was completely ruined. I was devastated, and of course mad at myself for somehow believing that I could will the iron to not spot the silk, but I knew I just shouldn't have messed with it to begin with.

So yeah, great article. I'm so glad you guys didn't just follow the trend to put up a few tips without really thinking them through and then just leave people to their own devices.

I'll definitely be coming back to read more of your articles.

By EarlyForest — On Jan 16, 2011

Thank you so much for this article! I work in a fabric store, and I am continually getting people who come in asking me how to iron silk fabric.

When I tell them that it's really best to just steam it (if you have to do anything at all), they look at me bug-eyed, like I'm trying to doom them to a life of wrinkly fabric.

But the truth is, silk really, really does not take well to being ironed. I never iron my silk garments, and I have seen so many people just absolutely ruin beautiful cloth by trying to iron it.

Silk is so thin that a steamer is more than adequate, and most of the time it's not supposed to be just completely flat and straight anyway!

So thanks for telling the truth about the whole silk thing -- really well done.

By Planch — On Jan 13, 2011

OK, that definitely answered my question. I have this silk blouse that I wanted to iron before I go in to have my picture taken for our work yearbook, and for some reason I thought that you could just iron silk with a flat iron.

Now I definitely know better! And thanks for all the extra information about the fabric in general, by the way, that was really interesting! It's a little gross to think that I'm wearing bug cocoon fibers every time I wear silk, but hey, at least now I know.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.