If you are wondering whether or not you can machine wash silk, the answer is it depends on the type and quality of the silk, the color and dye process used, and on the model of washing machine.
Hand Washing Preferred
A review of the fabric care guidelines from several major silk garment manufacturers found that the majority strongly recommend hand washing only, even for those labeled machine washable. But if you must use a machine, do not put silk fabrics in a top-loading machine with an agitating paddle without using a lingerie bag to protect the fabric.
Testing for Colorfast Dyes
Be careful when washing brightly-colored, patterned or deep hued silks as it is rare to find true colorfast colors in silk. Before throwing bright silks into the wash, do a quick colorfast test. Wet a part of the garment that will not show such as an interior facing, place white paper towels on either side of the fabric and press. If any trace of color shows on the towel, that fabric should not be washed.
How to Machine Wash Silk
When machine washing is unavoidable, you should use cold water, the delicate cycle, the slowest possible spin speed and gentle, pure soap. Silk should never be machine dried; nor should it be hung in direct sunlight or near any source of heat.
Silk Is Like Your Hair
Silk is a protein fiber, like your hair, a silk company spokesperson explained. You should treat it with the same kind of care.
“Cleaning and Washing Silk.” Texere Silk. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2012. <https://texeresilk.com//main/cms/silk_care_cleaning_washing>.
“The Laundress – Washing Delicates.” The Laundress. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2012. <http://www.thelaundress.com/LaundryTips/washingDelicates.asp>.