Two Easy Ways To Wash Your Silk Dress (That Doesn't Involve The Dry Cleaners)

Dry Clean Only are perhaps the three most dreaded words when it comes to that bossy little care tag inside your ideal item of clothing.

Even if the piece is reasonably priced, the idea of spending extra money (and time!) to keep it clean is enough to make us abandon even the most beautiful silk garment.

So what’s a gal to do if she loves to swish around in luxurious silk?!

We’ve rounded up some pro-tips for cleaning the fabric you love to wear but hate to wash...

Let’s start with the basics:

One of the key parts of launching Season has been choosing fabric that we know will be beautiful and functional at the same time. Our medium-weight silk charmeuse is milled from a natural, protein-based fiber (originally spun by little silkworms) that is known for its ability to regulate body temperature while keeping you dry and comfortable in any climate. Thanks, Nature! 

While often mis-categorized as a dry-clean-only item, we’re here to make your silk daydreams come true by dispelling the high-maintenance myth. Despite the fact that it FEELS drape-y and delicate, it can impressively outlast most fabrics in your wardrobe when cared for correctly!

Ready to get washing? Here are the two easiest ways to clean silk from the comfort of your own home.



This might go against every laundry rule you’ve ever heard, but it’s not a problem to put your Pepper Dress in the washing machine, if done properly! Follow these simple tips to preserve your dress for years to come:

1.) Always Separate Colors.

Captain Obvious is here to pop in with an important reminder… Just like any other load of laundry, you’ll want to separate your dark and light colors to avoid bleeding. If any of the garments are multicolored and have never been washed before, please keep them away from your light colored silk in order to prevent excess dye from ruining the whole batch.

2.) Use A Mesh Bag or Pillowcase.

For additional protection, consider putting your Pepper Dress into a washable mesh lingerie bag (or improvise with a pillowcase) to avoid any possible snagging in the machine. This is especially important if you’re washing your dress with any other items that have hooks, zippers, or buttons that could damage the delicate silk fabric.

Pro tip: If you don’t use a protective bag while washing, turn your dress inside out to protect the side that will show when you wear it!

3.) Use Cold Water On The Gentlest Cycle:

Be sure to choose the coolest water temperature and most delicate cycle option on your machine. It’s important to use cold water because using hot or even warm water will cause drastic shrinkage in your silk!

Extra credit if your washing machine also offers a time-reduction or no-spin setting… the more careful you can be, the better.

Pro tip: The silk fibers will naturally tighten up after the first wash, which could cause a small amount of shrinking, mostly in length. You may not even notice the difference, but it’s important to mention if there’s any concern about sizing.

4.) Choose Silk Safe Detergent.

While regular detergent should work just fine, we recommend using a cleanser that’s made specifically for silk fabrics. A standard bottle of Woolite will do the trick, but we encourage a more eco-friendly option like the highly rated Delicate Wash from The Laundress or Fine Fabric Wash from Tangent GC.

We stay away from regular detergents because they can shorten the lifespan of your silk, dull its natural sheen, and even cause damage to the fabric on a microscopic level. If you do opt for a regular detergent, be sure to use it sparingly and choose the extra-rinse cycle whenever possible.

Pro tip: Never use chlorine bleach or products containing chlorine on silk as it may permanently change the color.

5.) Towel Dry & Air Dry.

Machine or tumble drying is a major no-no when it comes to drying your Pepper Dress. The heat and agitation of the dryer will permanently damage the silk, and even machines with “silk” or “fluff” settings aren’t worth risking your lovely dress. Thankfully, silk dries very quickly so the following process is your safest and most efficient option.

Simply spread out a towel and lay your dress so that it’s completely flat on top. Beginning at one end, roll the towel and dress up together like a cinnamon roll while gently pressing out any excess water. Do not wring or twist the dress as it will damage the fabric and could change the shape of the overall silhouette. Finish by air-drying your dress on a rust-proof hanger (we like these because of the strap notches) or lay it across a drying rack to preserve the shape.

Pro tip: Avoid hanging your dress out in direct sunlight or next to a radiator as it may cause the lighter silks to yellow and darker silks to fade.



If the use of a washing machine still makes you nervous, you’re more than welcome to hand-wash your silk! Simply follow the steps of this easy routine and your Pepper Dress will thank you for the extra TLC.

1.) Use A Mild Cleaning Solution.

Did you know that you can use your favorite shampoo or baby wash when hand washing your silks? Just like your hair, silk is a protein-based fiber which means you can actually take care of it in the same way. We recommend Dr. Bronner’s Mild Baby Soap, which is gentle, organic, and safe for the planet.

Pro tip: Avoid moisturizing shampoos or 2-in-1 shampoos that will add weight and chemicals to the silk.

2.) Use Cool Water.

Fill your clean basin or sink with cool water to avoid drastic shrinkage from the temperature change. Simply add a few drops of the soap into the mix and stir gently with your hand to dissolve the detergent before submerging the dress.

Pro tip: Keep an inexpensive ice bucket (used for drinks at parties) to do all your hand washing. This will prevent any contaminants from touching your garments and will keep you from having to scrub down the sink every time you want to hand-wash your clothing.

3.) Soak for 3-4 Minutes.

Swirl and soak your Pepper Dress for no more than 3-4 minutes. Also, be sure you don’t scrub, wring, or roughly wash the dress. Forceful cleaning isn’t necessary and it can damage the wet silk fibers. Simply move it around the basin or sink and feel free to set a timer to keep it from getting too waterlogged.

4.) Do A Cool Water Rinse.

Avoid rinsing with hot water. A sudden change in water temperature can damage the silk so we recommend trying to match the cool temperature of the first wash.

5.) Consider A Final Vinegar Rinse.

One of the most annoying things about hand washing is determining whether all the suds are rinsed out of the fabric. Believe it or not, adding ½ cup of distilled white vinegar to the final step is great for neutralizing any soap residue as well as counteracting traces of alkali. It’s also great for reviving the lustre of your silk and is one of the best ways to prevent static cling! Again, gently swirl the silk in the vinegar/water mixture before removing and gently squeeze out the water before Step 6.

6.) Towel Dry & Air Dry.

Lay out a towel and place the dress on top before rolling up the towel and dress together and pressing out excess water. Now, hang your dress on a rust-proof hanger to dry or lay it across a drying rack to maintain shape.

Pro tip: Avoid hanging your dress out in direct sunlight or next to a radiator as it may cause the lighter silks to yellow and darker silks to fade.


A Note about Wrinkles:

One of the cardinal rules for caring for your Pepper Dress is to avoid ironing! The extreme heat will damage the delicate silk fibers. If you’d like to smooth out the surface of your dress, simply start by hanging it in the bathroom as you shower. For a more direct approach, use a clothing steamer and always remember to untie your dress after wearing!


Have other questions about the best way to care for silk?
Check out our full guide or drop us a note to ask your own questions!