Raw silk, otherwise known as silk noil, is not much like its processed counterpart that most people are familiar with, silk. Raw silk has a rough and nubby texture, and is much heavier than silk. Used for draping projects, such as window treatments and couture, raw silk should be cared for properly to preserve it's unique texture. Make sure that you wash your raw silk with the correct procedure to ensure you don't ruin the raw silk with rough handling.
The preferred method of washing raw silk is to hand wash it. Hand washing can preserve your raw silk's texture, so you can enjoy it longer. The best way to hand wash your raw silk is to wash it in a laundry sink. Fill the sink up a third of the way full, and then add a very mild laundry detergent; baby detergents work well for this purpose. Scrub the fabric together gently until you've gotten the entire piece of fabric. Do not wring the excess water out of the raw silk; instead, hag it over the laundry tub to drip dry.
If you don't have the time to properly hand wash your raw silk, machine wash it as long as your washing machine has a delicate cycle. Use a mild baby detergent, and set the washing machine. If you can, adjust the spin settings so that it is set to the shortest spin cycle possible. It is always better to let the raw silk drip dry than to spin or wring the water out. When the cycle is done, hang the raw silk up to dry. You may be tempted to hang it outside, but be careful; the sun can bleach the color of the delicate raw silk, leaving it lighter and more worn looking. It's best to let it dry in your laundry room or somewhere else that is cool and dry.
For the ultimate protection, especially when it comes to your raw silk couture items or expensive window treatments, have the material dry cleaned to be sure that it will be treated safely. Note any stains or spots on the fabric before you bring it to the dry cleaners. Point out the spots to the dry cleaner worker and be careful to inspect the garment or material after the dry cleaners has cleaned it to look for any other spots that may have appeared as a result of chemical stain spillage. Most dry cleaners are very professional and will handle your raw silk items with the utmost of care and respect, making them an ideal way to wash your raw silk.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.