A Guide To Washing Silk Sarees [Complete Guide]

How to wash sarees at home

The expensive silk sarees are luxurious, fragile, and lose their sheen upon treating harshly. Such delicate caring led to a prevalent relation between silk sarees and costly washing techniques. I have seen many ladies avoiding wearing silk sarees regularly to prevent them from getting dirty and spending hefty amounts on washing them after. But, can you wash silk at home? Well, you can wash your silk sarees at home while adhering to some additional precautionary measures. I’ll be discussing all you need to know about cleaning silk sarees right below.

Shiny silk saree
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/wedding-saree-collection-1050929/

So how to wash silk sarees at home? You can use a solution of mild detergent and cold water for gentle hand washing your silk sarees. For removing stubborn stains on the silk sarees, talcum powder, lime juice, and mild detergents are the best cleansing agents. Besides, you can even machine- wash your silk apparels by turning on its delicate washing mode.

From cleansing agents to steps and precautions, you should know everything if you are wondering about ‘how can I clean my expensive silk saree at home?’. Let’s dive deep into getting familiar with the silk washing instructions.

What Detergent is Safe for Silk?

You should consider accessing the supplies, primarily detergent, before even thinking of washing silk sarees at home. The delicate silk fibers need mild detergent for efficient cleaning. Firstly, don’t hesitate in bringing high-quality and hallmarked detergent for washing your silks. The woolen and silk-safe detergent liquids are appropriate for cleaning silk sarees at home. These liquids work wonders both for hand washing and machine-washing your silk sarees.

Detergent washing powder
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/washing-powder-detergent-1500058/

Not only detergents but also you can use other mild cleansers for washing your silk sarees. When it comes to mild agents, it’s obvious to ask ‘can I wash silk with shampoo?‘. Well, being mild on human hairs, the shampoo formula will never fall too harsh on the silk fabrics. Let me clear that gentle or baby shampoos are the best detergent alternatives for washing silk clothes. Moreover, you can even use natural cleansers like Reetha for washing delicate silk garments.

Now that you are all set with the must-haves for washing silk let’s head over to the section of washing instructions and steps.

How to Wash Silk Sarees at Home?

There are three methods of washing silk sarees at home – handwashing, machine washing, and dry cleaning. I’ll be discussing all the ways and the precautionary measures in detail. Stay tuned and follow along with the article to know more.

Hand Washing Silk Sarees

Hand washing your silks is simple and controllable as long as you follow the instructions carefully. Any deviation from the guidelines can damage the fabric severely. So, follow the below instructions for hand washing your silk saree at home like the professionals.

  1. Prepare the Solution

Begin with filling a sink with cold or lukewarm water. Pour a few drops of liquid detergent into the water, and stir well. You can also wash silk with shampoo if the detergent seems too harsh to use.

  1. Soak

Now, submerge your saree into the solution, and turn it over to wet it uniformly. Let your garment soak-in as much soap solution as it can by leaving it submerged for about 3 minutes in water.

  1. Move the Saree

By now, the soap solution has absorbed the garment dirt entirely. Moving and turning over the saree ensures that the dirt goes out in the water well.

  1. Rinse

Now you need to clean the soap remnant from your saree. Pull out the saree and rinse well in cold water while rubbing it gently.

  1. Wipe Off Extra Water

Use a towel to wipe-off extra water from your silk saree. Layover a towel on a flat surface, place the silk saree on it and loosely-wrap the towel over your garment. 

  1. Dry

Dry the saree on a drying rack or wire in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.


  • Never use hot water for washing a silk saree. The chances of heat damaging the fibers are higher with hot water. Always use cold or lukewarm water for washing the silk apparel.
  • Light hand rubbing the sarees is all okay. However, harsh-rubbing will damage your expensive silk saree.
  • Refrain from using hard detergents and soaps for cleaning your silk sarees at home.
  • Rinse your saree well, and don’t leave any soap buds on the cloth as it will damage the fibers heavily.
  • Don’t twist the saree for drying as it will leave permanent wrinkles on your garment.
  • Always dry your saree in shade. Direct exposure to sunlight might fade the colors on your saree.

Machine Washing Silk Sarees

You need to remain even careful when cleaning your silk sarees in a washing machine. So, is it safe to machine-wash a silk saree? Machine washing silk apparel is alright till you adhere to the guidelines and stay abreast of the precautions. Here are the detailed steps on how to wash silk saree in washing machine.

Washing saree in washing machine
Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/yCYVV8-kQNM
  1. Prepare

Fill the washing compartment in your machine with cold water. Add silk-safe detergent or baby shampoo into the water, and give a stir.

  1. Soaking

Now, submerge your saree in the water either directly or after putting it inside a mesh bag.

  1. Start the Cycle

Harsh washing will damage your saree drastically. For ensuring maximum safety, put the washing cycle in the delicate or silk mode, and keep short intervals between the washes.

  1. Wipe Off Extra Moisture

Wipe off extra moisture from the recently washed saree using a towel. Keep the wet saree on a towel, spread it over on a flat surface. Gently wrap the saree with the towel and pat dry it slowly.

  1. Dry

Dry your saree in a cool shade, away from direct sunlight. In an airy and shady place, hang your silks on a wire or lay it over on a flat surface.


  • Check the saree tag before turning to machine wash it. If the tag permits machine washing your saree, then only it is safe for such cleaning processes.
  • Similar to hand washing, using hot water and harsh detergents will damage the saree fibers. Use a solution of cold water and mild detergents for preserving the shiny texture of your garment.
  • Always use a mesh bag for machine washing your silk saree. Without a mesh bag, your saree becomes prone to snagging and tearing inside the washing machine.
  • Hard washing cycles and long intervals between washes might damage the fragile silk fibers. Hand-wash or delicate mode is preferable for silk fabrics.
  • Never machine wash your silk sarees along with dark-colored clothes or jeans. Either wash the silks alone or with white and light-colored fabrics in the washing machine.

Dry Cleaning Silk Sarees

If the label on your silk saree says ‘dry-clean only’, then it is advisable to stick with the instructions. Dry cleaning services are readily available in the market and cost a bit expensive. Surprisingly, you can replicate the professional saree dry cleaning process at home itself. So, how to dry clean saree at home? Here are all the steps to dry clean your silk saree perfectly.

Cleaning sponge
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/cleaning-washing-cleanup-sponge-268134/
  1. Gather Supplies

As the name suggests, the dry cleaning process does not require water. You need a sponge and white petrol for dry cleaning your silk sarees at home.

  1. Prepare

Spread a polythene sheet on a table, and a cloth or carpet on the floor, underneath the table.

  1. Begin from Below

Dip the sponge in white petrol, and begin gentle wiping the falls horizontally along with the stitches. Repeat the process 1-2 times if your fall is too dirty.

  1. Dry Clean the Saree

Now, wipe the remaining saree with the sponge dipped in white petrol. Take small sections of the saree, dry clean it, and push over the wiped part out of the table. Keep wiping until you reach the end.

  1. Stain Removal

If there are some stains on your saree, wipe over the affected area twice or thrice with the dipped sponge. Treat the stubborn stains with a higher amount of white petrol, if needed.

  1. Inspect

After dry-cleaning the saree entirely, pull the saree on the table again and inspect for any remaining stains. If there are some stains present, wipe over the fabric with white petrol again and again until the stains vanish.

  1. Dry

Dry your dry cleaned saree in a cold and airy place.


  • Don’t use a rough sponge for dry cleaning your saree as it will damage the fibers.
  • White petrol is inflammable. Keep away from fire and sparks while dry cleaning your saree at home.
  • Exposing your saree under the sun will fade the colors of your fabric. So, better dry your silks in cool and shady places.

How to Wash Silk Cotton Sarees At Home?

Among the silk sarees even, each variety has a different washing procedure than the other. The silk cotton sarees are dry clean and hand washing friendly only. The dry cleaning process is similar to as mentioned above. Let’s look at the steps to hand wash silk cotton sarees at home.

Hand Washing Silk Cotton Sarees

Cotton silk sarees are handwash friendly. These fabrics are delicate and cannot tolerate harsh chemicals. Following are the instructions on how to wash saree with shampoo and detergent using your hands.

  1. Prepare

Fill a sink with cold water, and add some salt into it. Soak the silk cotton in the solution for some time.

  1. Rinse

Take the saree out of the salt solution, and rinse with cold water thoroughly.

  1. Soap Wash

A mild detergent or baby shampoo is best for silk cotton sarees. Pour some silk saree washing liquid in cold water, and dip the saree completely. Rub the stained area gently, if required.

  1. Wash

Pull out the saree almost immediately, and rinse with cold water repeatedly until the detergent wipes off entirely.

  1. Towel Wipe

Wiping excess water from silk fabric using a towel is a healthy habit. Keep your wet saree on a dry towel, laid over on a table or so. Wrap your saree in the towel, and wipe gently.

  1. Dry

Dry your saree in an airy place, avoiding direct sunlight and moisture.


  • Soaking your silk cotton in a salt solution for longer might cause color bleeding. Stay alert and remove your saree from the salt solution right after some time.
  • Never use harsh detergents and stain removing chemicals with silk cotton sarees.
  • Hot water will damage the sensitive silk cotton fibers. So, use cold water for washing your delicate sarees at home.
  • Don’t use a brush for wiping your saree.
  • Twisting and harsh rubbing risks tearing your silk sarees.
  • Machine wash is too rough for silk cotton sarees. Either dry clean or hand wash your silk cotton saree at home.

How to Wash Tussar Silk Sarees At Home?

The Tussar and semi-raw silk sarees are a bit different than other silk sarees. The dying technique of these sarees permits free bleeding of colors during the first few washes. So, how do we wash these sarees at home? Below are the guided steps for cleaning Tussar sarees at home.

  1. Initial Dry Cleaning

The chances of color bleeding are more in new Tussar silk sarees. Dry cleaning these sarees initially and handwashing afterward fixes the color well and prevents bleeding in wet washes. 

  1. Prepare the Solution

After initial dry cleaning, the saree becomes fit for hand washing. For washing the Tussar silk with hands, prepare a solution of cold water and mild detergent/shampoo. 

  1. Soak

Now, soak the Tussar saree in a cold water solution for a while, and ensure proper wetting.

  1. Provide Movement

Move the saree to-and-fro for removing the clung dirt into the water.

  1. Rinse

The leftover detergent particles harm the fibers and damage your expensive Tussar sarees. Rinse the sarees to remove the soap solution well from the fiber mesh.

  1. Wipe

Don’t leave your Tussar silk saree with excess water.  Wrap a dry and flattened towel around the saree, and wipe the water gently.

  1. Dry

Much like other silk sarees, dry your Tussar sarees away from sunlight in a shady place.


  • Machine washing is highly unfavorable for the Tussar silk sarees.
  • Don’t hand wash your Tussar saree for the first time as it will propel color bleeding leading to destroying your saree completely.
  • Refrain from exposing the Tussar sarees to direct sunlight.
  • Go for soft ironing your Tussar sarees only as hot ironing will burn the delicate fibers in your garment.

How to Wash Cotton Saree At Home?

The cotton sarees are a bit stronger than the silk sarees. But the major difficulty in washing cotton sarees are color bleeding and subsequent fading. So, how can you wash these sarees efficiently? Let’s discuss the steps and precautions for washing the cotton sarees at home.

Hand Washing Cotton Sarees

  1. Color Fixing

Soak your cotton saree in a solution of cold water and salt for about an hour. It will ensure excess color to bleed away from your saree during the first wash itself.

  1. Soak

Use a mild detergent and cold water solution for cleaning your cotton sarees. For handloom cotton, get down to using woolen detergent or baby shampoos.

  1. Agitate

After leaving the saree submerged in detergent solution for some time, turn the saree upside down and rub it gently with your hands.

  1. Rinse

Now you must remove the detergent particles by rinsing the saree with cold water thoroughly.

  1. Drip Off and Dry

Hang your cotton saree loosely in a shady place, allowing the drainage of excess water.

  1. Starching

Some cotton sarees require starching before wearing. Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to two cups of water, and fill the solution in a spraying bottle. Shake the bottle well, and sprinkle all over your cotton sarees.


  • Don’t wash your cotton sarees with other clothes during the first few times as the colors will bleed over necessarily.
  • Never use strong detergents and bleaching agents on handloom cotton sarees.
  • The cotton sarees are prone to fading upon direct exposure to sunlight.

Machine Washing Cotton Sarees

You can even wash your beloved cotton sarees in a washing machine. Following are the instructions for machine washing your cotton sarees at home.

  1. Color Fixing

Color fixing is essential even before machine washing your cotton sarees. Soak the saree in a salt solution for about an hour for fixing the color well.

  1. Prepare

Fill the washing compartment of your machine with cold water and mild laundry detergent.

  1. Start the Cycle

Put the saree into the washing machine, and start the cycle in gentle mode. 

  1. Dry

Right after rinsing, hang your cotton saree on a clothesline loosely. Spray the starch solution, and get your saree ready again.


  • Don’t wash your cotton sarees with other clothes in the washing machine.
  • Folding your saree while drying leaves the crinkles permanently. Straight dry the cotton fabric by hanging it lightly.
  • Remember to dry your cotton saree in shade and avoid direct sunlight.

By now, you are well-acquainted with washing the silk sarees at your home normally. But what if you come across stubborn stains in your saree? I’ll tell you the methods of removing various stains from your silk saree in the section below.

How to Remove Stains from Silk Sarees?

Silk sarees belong to the class of exquisite fabrics. You learned about the careful washing process of the silk sarees in the earlier sections. Mild washing cannot deal with obstinate stains at all. So, how do you get stains out of silk sarees? I’ll discuss different stain removal techniques depending upon the type of stains on the silk sarees.

  1. How to Remove Oil and Grease Stains from Silk Sarees?

Oil and grease stains are the most stubborn of all. Removing these stains is impossible with water. However, dabbing some talcum powder onto the stained area lifts the greasy stains easily. After brushing off the extra powder, you can wash the silk saree with mild stain removals in lukewarm water.

  1. How Do You Get Lipstick Out of Silk?

Lipstick and silk sarees are innate partners, aren’t they? But your mood is likely to get ruined if the dark and bright lip shades smudge over the expensive saree. It might seem difficult, but you can get rid of lipstick stains on the silk sarees. All you need is a mild soap, white cloth, and tissue paper.

Keep the tissue paper on a flat surface, and place the stained area of the saree over it upside down. Damp the white cloth with some soap solution, and dab on the back of the stained area. Soon, the lipstick will come off and absorb into the tissue. The lipstick has a high chance of smudging onto a larger area of the saree from the tissue. Hence, keep replacing the tissue with a fresh one from time to time. Repeat the process until the stain comes off entirely.

  1. How to Remove Protein Stains from Silk Sarees?

Blood and sweat make up the protein stains on silk sarees. Firstly, use a dry cloth to wipe off moisture from the stained cloth. Now, apply some mild detergent on the affected area to remove protein stains from your silk sarees. If the stains seem hard to remove, dry clean the saree as soon as possible.

  1. How to Remove Ink Stains from Silk Sarees?

Nothing is as ugly as an ink-stained silk saree. Well, you can remove the ink stains from your saree using lukewarm water and detergent only. Mostly, the soap solution is enough to deal with ink stains. However, if the stains get hardened with time, you can use petrol to get rid of them completely.

  1. How to Remove Nail Polish from Silk Sarees?

Nail polishes dry up and gets hardened with time. Regardless of the stain’s age, a suitable solvent can wipe over the stain at once. Acetone is the best solvent for all nail polishes. You can use acetone for cleaning nail paint from silk sarees as well. 

Take some acetone on a piece of cotton, and rub over the stained area. Using a fresh piece of cotton, wipe over the area to dry. If the stains still prevail, repeat the process for some time until the stain comes out on the cotton fully.

  1. How Do You Get Old Stains Out of Silk Sarees?

Old stains become resistant to common stain removal techniques. If the stains stay on your saree for longer, they tend to dry up and become hard to get rid of. All you can do to deal with old stains is soaking the silk saree in lukewarm water, treating the affected area with lime juice, and rinsing well. If all methods seem to fail in removing the stains, dry cleaning is the only option to clean your saree like the new one.

Lemon slice can be used to deal with old stains
Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/qKxO_YZ9Mx8
  1. How to Remove Beverage Stains from Silk Sarees?

Tea and coffee leave obstinate stains on silk sarees. As soon as these beverages drop on your saree, try absorbing the liquid using clean tissue paper. Later, use lime juice or vinegar to treat the stained area. Finally, wash off the stained cloth using mild detergent and cold water to remove the last bit of stain even.

So, you are all enlightened with the complete silk saree washing guide. Removing even the most stubborn stains on silk sarees is a cakewalk for you by now. Washing the silk sarees at home is not enough for keeping the material healthy and fresh. Let’s get familiar with the post-washing regime also.

Can You Fix Silk After Washing?

You followed the guidelines and worked according to the precautions for washing the silk sarees at home. Yet, you ended up damaging the shine of the silk fabric. Did you lose the battle, or are there ways to recover the loss? Even after washing damage, you can fix the silk sarees easily. Here are the steps to restore the natural texture of your silk apparel.

  • Prepare a solution of about 3.5 liters of warm water and a quarter cup of white distilled vinegar.
  • Soak the garment in the solution fully, and leave it for a few minutes.
  • Take the saree out and rinse using clean water repeatedly.
  • Place your silk saree on a towel, and fold it to dry gently.
  • Dry on a flat surface away from direct sunlight.

How Do You Soften Silk After Washing?

Much like our hairs, the silk fibers stay healthy and long-lasting with proper conditioning after washing. You can either choose the readymade fabric conditioners or choose the natural options. If you choose the market chemicals, remember to bring the mildest conditioner for your silk sarees. For conditioning, your saree, pour some conditioner into the water and soak the silk saree for some time. Remove the garment from the solution and rinse the fabric nicely.

Soap berries to condition a silk saree
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/soap-nuts-wash-soap-hygiene-clean-4032858/

You cannot always get sure about the chemical conditioners for your silk sarees. Choosing natural alternatives is way safer and milder on your fabrics. Take 10-15 pods of soapberries or Reetha, and soak them overnight to separate the pulp from the seeds. Strain the solution and mix the filtered part with cold water. Soak your saree into the solution for a while, and rinse well afterward. Your silk saree gets conditioned for maintaining the silky and smooth texture for a longer time.

How to Store Silk Sarees?

You cannot pile up the silk sarees and store them just like that. Careful storage is essential to maintain the quality of your silk sarees. The silk fibers are extremely delicate and susceptible to getting damaged. Even the extreme climatic conditions impose a threat to the silk sarees. 

Twisting the silk sarees harm the fibers, and leave permanent wrinkles on the fabric. Folding the saree lightly, and keeping tissue papers between the layers increase the shelf life of the silks. Keep them away from other fabrics, and change the folds from time to time.

Beyond careful folding, you need to control the storing climate and pests from affecting your silk garments. As you know, sunlight and strong light can damage the color of your silk sarees. Also, the storing humidity affects the shine of your fibers drastically. Place a muslin bag of silica gel in the cupboard before storing your silk sarees.

Insects can damage natural silk fibers easily. Put some dried neem leaves in a cotton bag, and place them in the cupboard for repelling silver fishes and cockroaches naturally. You can even use naphthalene balls for storing the silk sarees. In such a case, ensure no direct contact of the naphthalene with the silk fabric.

Does Silk Shrink When Washed?

Now I’m addressing a frequently asked question about silk sarees – is there any post-washing shrinkage in silk sarees? Yes, silk fabric shrinks depending on the variety of silk used. The crepe-like lightly-woven silk shrinks a lot more than the tightly-woven varieties. However, the pre-washed silk sarees do not shrink at all even after multiple washing.

Silk has a temperament and mood to deal with. Answering the question ‘what is the best way to wash silk?‘ is difficult without knowing the variety of silk in the frame. From handwashing to dry cleaning, you can do everything with the luxurious silk sarees at home. Just take care of the washing precautions, condition the sarees, and store them well for keeping the fabrics alive for a much longer span.