Silk is a natural material that requires special handling to keep it looking like new. You can clean silk at home if you take certain precautions, or you can take your silk garments to an experienced dry cleaner to keep them looking good for a number of years. If you decide that you want to clean silk yourself, you will need to treat your clothing very gently. Hand washing is best, as opposed to putting the item in the washing machine. Even on the "Delicate" cycle, you may still damage the fibers if you use this method to clean silk.
Use cold water and a mild detergent to clean silk at home. A detergent used for delicates or to clean baby clothes may be used. Read the label to make sure that you have something that will not damage the silk before using it. If this is your first time trying to clean the item, start by dipping an inconspicuous part of the garment in the soap and water first. The color may bleed a little when it gets wet, and this shouldn't be something for you to be concerned about.
Dip the item into the soapy water. You will want to avoid excessive handling of the fabric. Simply dunking it in and out of the water a few times should be enough to loosen the dirt and clean the garment.
Once the item is clean, you will need to rinse it in clean water. If you are trying to clean white silk and you are concerned about the color turning yellow, try adding a a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar into the rinse water. This will help to guard against the color changing. You will want to rinse one more time in plain water after using the vinegar rinse.
When the silk item is clean, you can hang it up to dry. Be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight when doing so. Silk may be damaged if exposed to strong light.
Another option when you want to clean silk is to take your clothes to a dry cleaner. You will want to find out whether the cleaner you are considering has experience with these types of fabrics. Point out the fact that your garment is made from silk when you drop it off for cleaning and ask the person you are dealing with to make a note of the fact on the tag. That way, they will give your item the special care it needs.