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31 May 2022


We often talk about silk. Silk shirts, silk scarves, silk ties, silk pillow cases. But when you’re browsing for fashion online you often stumble upon the word satin. Satin dress, satin blouse, satin underwear. It looks similar to silk, so what is actually the difference between silk and satin?  
The silkworm spins a thread inside its cocoon which is dissolved and spined into a silk thread. From the silk thread you weave the silk fabric, that is, the textile used to sew clothes, pillowcases – everything possible. So there’re garments that are completely made in silk, and those that contain silk.  
Then there’s also satin – which actually is a completely different thing. Satin isn’t a natural fibre, like silk is, but a weaving technique that can be used for different types of textile fibres, and is often used for silk. However, you can wave satin from polyester or lycra as well. The satin woven technique leaves one side of the fabric matte while the other side shines. 
The unique thing about the silk (except that the fabric is so incredibly beautiful) is that the material has the quality of breathing, which is perfect in warm climates. It also has good quality and can last a very long time if you handle it properly. 


As mentioned, silk is a delicate material that should be treated with care. Therefore, you should only wash silk when you really need to. One tip is not to buy silk clothes that are too tight around your shoulders and armpits. Partly because the fabric can crack when you move, but also because loose-fitting clothes don't need to be washed as often as tight clothes. To avoid washing your silk garments, stains should preferably be spot treated and your silk shirt can be aired. This applies especially for silk ties.  



Avoid washing silk in the washing machine to the extent possible. Pure silk doesn’t feel good after a machine wash. However, garments that consist of some parts silk, can many times be washed in the machine. That’s why you should always follow the garments washing instructions. If you have to wash silk in the washing machine, you should use the wool program or fine wash program. You should definitely not wash your silk shirt or silk pillowcase too hot or with a hard spin. Then the fabric will be brittle like paper and break apart. When silk gets wet, it may look like the colour is disappearing. This is because the silk fibers rise, and it’s the ones that take damage off too hard washing. But all silk loses some color when washed, so be careful not to mix colours when washing the silk. 


A way better alternative is to wash silk by hand. Rinse the silk scarf or silk tie in lukewarm water and then dry it in the same way as wool. Meaning: roll the garment in a clean towel and squeeze out the water before letting it flat dry. Silk has, fortunately, an ability to dry quickly! 
NOTE! Do not let silk dry in direct sunlight. It can destroy the silk threads. 


Use a mild and enzyme-free liquid detergent to wash silk. Most of the time detergent for fine washing is enzyme-free, but it should be stated on the packaging. You can also choose a special silk soap, or you can use a Marseille soap. Marseille soap is a classic soap from Savon de Marseille, and in France the soap is actually called "savon de menage" which means household soap. This soap can be used to wash the body, clothing in delicate materials such as linen, wool and silk, or even the sink. All ingredients are completely natural and gentle. 


A silk shirt or silk scarf is one of the most classic and beloved garments in silk. As we mentioned before, it’s important not to mix colours when washing silk, as it can easily become discolored. If you have a plain silk shirt or silk scarf, you can wash them with other garments of the same colour. If they are multicolored, it’s best to wash the silk shirt or silk scarf separately. 


Silk sheets are more difficult to wash by hand. Since you probably have to wash silk sheets in the washing machine, it is good to consider the following:  

  • Wash the silk sheets separately or with similar colours. 
  • Choose the program for fine wash or wool. 
  • Choose the lowest spin. 
  • Use enzyme-free detergent, silk soap or Marseille soap. You can shave off a small amount of the soaps and put them directly into the washing machine. 
  • Remove the silk sheet from the machine as soon as it’s ready. If silk is soaked for too long it can be destroyed.  


Silk is easily wrinkled and the best choice to make it wrinkle free is to use a steamer. If you don’t have a steamer, you can iron the silk very gently. Turn the garment out-and-in so that you iron the fabric on its matte side. Use low heat and put some water on the garment every now and then. If you have a good steam iron you can hang the garment and use the iron as a steamer by pushing steam on it and smoothing out the wrinkles. 
TIP! If you need to pack silk for a vacation, you can roll instead of folding it. This way you reduce the number of wrinkles. 


To keep the colour and silkiness of the beautiful fabric, you can pour a splash of vinegar into the water bath when you’re washing silk by hand. It neutralizes the PH value and helps to make the fabric soft, less static and maintain its colour. 


As you may know, there are many different types of silk materials, not just pure silk. Here’s a brief explanation:  

Raw silk: Is made on shorter silk fibers and usually has a slightly coarse structure. 

Crêpe de Chine: Is one of the oldest forms of silk and is very finely woven. This classic silk fabric fits perfectly to elegant clothes and actually crinkles less than other silk fabrics. 

Silk tricot: A very soft and durable form of silk fabric that is often used for underwear, nightwear and socks.   

Creped silk: Light silk fabric with a pleated surface created by water vapor. Creped silk should preferably be semi-dried wrapped and then dried flat. 

Spun silk: Spun silk can be varied in many ways and is therefore common in slightly thicker silk clothes such as fine knit sweaters.