Stacks Image p194_n3

Sangdao Handwoven Thai Silk Care

With the proper care your Sangdao silk should last for many years. Please note that handwoven Thai silk is woven on a traditional wooden loom and irregularities in weave and color are both normal and part of the silk’s charm.

Sangdao Thai silk fabric should be dry cleaned at a reliable dry cleaning establishment, one that has experience with fine silk fabric.

For advanced weavers, seamstresses and tailors only, Thai silk can be hand washed.

Silk is a protein similar to human hair and can be hand washed with a gentle shampoo, soap or detergent. Synthrapol SP, a mild detergent which has a neutral PH is a good choice. When washing Thai silk the natural sheen of the silk will slightly fade, and the chlorine in the water will gradually change the color of the silk. On the bright side the weave will tighten and the fibers will expand giving the washed silk a thicker, softer hand.

Silk should be prewashed if it will be used for clothing as it will shrink approximately 3 %. Use cold water and ideally a soft nonakaline water. During the second to last rinse add a tablespoon of clear white vinegar to neutralize traces of alkali. Be careful to rinse out the residue of any soap leftover from previous washings before hand washing, and wash separately. If you use synthrapol SP adding vinegar is not necessary.

In a true emergency Thai silk can be spot cleaned with just a little water on a cloth. Then dry by very gently rubbing a dry cloth against the silk. Please note that this is not always going to work. The old advice to use soda water is no longer necessary. Long ago water often had salts in it which would chafe the silk. This is no longer the case with the water supply in most places.

In Thailand silk is hung up in the shade to dry. Never, wring your silk dry, or use a dryer.

Set your iron to a low silk setting and to be safe use a press cloth to prevent a glossy shine from developing. Thai silk fabric should be ironed on the reverse side. For deep wrinkles a gentle steam from a steam iron or steamer should be used before ironing.

Do not iron your tie. Pocket squares can be ironed on the inside flat area. Be careful not to iron the hand rolled edges. Also, be very careful if you steam silk. Occasionally, steamers “spit” water which can cause water spots. The old traveler's trick of hanging a tie up while taking a shower works well for minor wrinkles. Better yet, carefully untie your tie by reversing the tie knotting process and hanging the tie up. Gravity will help remove the wrinkles.