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How to Care for Silk Socks
Your new silk socks do not have to be dry cleaned. As long as you take some basic precautions to test for color fastness. Where you may wish to dry clean larger, more readily visible pieces of silk clothing, I find that the regular washing technique described below is perfectly suited for smaller items like silk socks. I also use this method for many other pieces of silk clothing and have never had any problems with the technique.
First of all, it should be mentioned that you must be particularly careful with the very dark and vibrant colors of silk, as these are more likely to have color fastness issues. Dark and/or particularly bright colors of silk are somewhat more likely to spot if you do not evenly wet the fabric.
Before washing silk of any kind, it is important that you test for color fastness by dipping a small piece of the silk in tepid or cold water. Next, take a piece of white cotton fabric and lay it on top of the silk. Press the fabric with a warm iron. Be sure the iron is warm, but not hot.
If there is any color transfer from the silk to the white cotton, then the silk in question should be dry cleaned instead of washed with water. It is normal for a very faint transfer of color to occur, but anything more than this indicates that the silk may become damaged by water washing.
Be sure to never soak silk, as this will most likely result in blotchy silk with areas of darker and lighter silk. Never boil silk, as it is extremely important that silk be washed in cold or medium warm water. Hot water will leach the colors out of silk. Never bleach silk. Silk is not intended to be bleached and only bad things can happen if you try, trust me. Bleaching silk, like soaking it, will result in uneven and blotchy colored silk.
If silk socks are stained, you can try this regular washing method, but do not try to spot treat or scrub only the stained area. Only lighter colors should be washed with water. You can try your luck with darker colors on less important items such as socks and under things.
Silk should not be washed in water warmer than 35. Hand wash silk socks only after you've performed a color fastness test. Add some detergent specially formulated for delicate lingerie or some type of gentle detergent.
Once you have washed the silk fabric, it is important to rinse the item three or four times to remove all of the detergent. Left over detergent has worse effects on silk than it does on other types of fabric, so be sure to carefully rinse the silk you are washing.
Once you've rinsed your silk socks, roll them in a clean and dry towel to remove excess water. Don't leave the silk socks in the towel or they will dry crumpled and misshapen. Remove the silk socks from the towel and allow to dry in a place that is away from direct sunlight or direct heat. An airy location is the best place to let silk dry.
You can also use a cool iron to smooth silk while it is still just slightly damp. Do not use a steam iron on silk and do not try to rewet silk in individual locations, as this will surely cause blotches to form on the silk, at least until the next time it is washed. Unfortunately, this type of blotching usually lasts longer than one washing and there will be traces of it from then on, so be careful not to spot treat.