Preserve Your Luxury Silk Textiles
Silk fibers are being used increasingly in textile furnishings such as rugs, draperies, and upholstery. Silk is a luxury fiber used in the manufacture of expensive, high-fashion products. It can be dyed and printed to produce very beautiful designs and bright shades. These properties make silk a beautiful and desirable fiber.
Silk, however, also characteristically exhibits several problems when cleaned. Silk dyes may be soluble in water, detergent, and/or dry cleaning solvent. Silk is also prone to color bleeding and the formation of water spots, ring marks, or perspiration stains. Color bleeding is more of an issue with dark colors than with pastels. Since it is so delicate, silk is susceptible to abrasion, yarn slippage, sunlight damage, and discoloration, and can show texture changes. These problems are often revealed or accentuated by normal cleaning.
Special procedures are required for cleaning silk in order to minimize the problems described. The choice of method depends on various factors such as the age and condition of the silk textile, stains and spots present, and consumer expectations. In general, it is more prudent to dry clean silk. Some silks can be wet cleaned successfully while others cannot. Wet cleaning of silk aids soil and stain removal but may result in texture distortion, which is often permanent.
It is important to remember that more intensive cleaning is usually required to restore the appearance of an excessively soiled rug or fabric. However, such thorough cleaning procedures have a higher propensity to cause damage. Therefore, silk textiles should be maintained well (vacuumed regularly) and cleaned frequently before they become excessively soiled. Using silk textiles prudently is also advantageous. For example, silk rugs can be placed in areas with no foot traffic (as well as hangings) or at a minimum, limit the amount of foot traffic over them. Protect silk draperies with drapery linings and avoid using them in sunny windows. Consult your professional ASCR cleaner for further information regarding special services to preserve your silk textiles.