How To Hand Wash A Silk Scarf: A Guide To Caring For and Cleaning Your Silk Scarf

As the silk scarf trend has come back into fashion in the last couple of years, more and more people are needing tips and guides for cleaning their silk scarves! As we have much experience of caring for and cleaning scarves, we thought we would share some of our tips and tricks for cleaning and storing your silk scarf. The biggest query is always if you hand wash or machine wash a silk scarf. Since the day we launched in April 2018, we’ve been caring for and cleaning our scarves ever since, so take it from us and the rest of the internet when we say, these points are VERY important! See below information on storing, cleaning and the do’s and don’ts for caring for your scarf.

hanging scarves

How To Store Your Silk Scarf

How you store your silk scarf can affect its longevity. We recommend hanging your scarf in a cool and dry place as this prevents it from creasing and of course; mould. Silky fabrics crease very easily, so to reduce the amount of ironing or steaming, you can drape your scarf flat over hangers in your wardrobe. Refrain from storing them in damp cupboards where mould can form and odors can become present through the fabric. If you are storing your scarf for a long period of time, you can do so by folding neatly and sealing in a breathable fabric pouch/bag or an airtight container.. 

How To Clean Your Silk Scarf

The more you wear your scarf, the more dirt and greases will collect in the fabric. When it is time to wash your scarf you may not know the safest way to do so without damaging the fragile fabric. Here is what Sand and Scarf recommend for cleaning your scarf:

Hand Wash Tips:

Hand washing your scarf is going to guarantee a good clean without ruining your scarf. A washing machine can cause tears and pulls in your scarf material and you want to keep your scarf from harm to help with it’s life span. The longer you can make an item of clothing or an accessory last the better it is for the environment, the less waste! An average washing machine uses around 155 litres of water, this is another reason we recommend hand washing your garment, it can reduce your water usage.

Detergent Tips:

The detergent to use when washing your scarf is very important. You want to choose a detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics, this will ensure the safety of the fabric and colours. It is important that you do not use bleach or abrasive stain removing substances.

Instructions For Hand Washing Your Scarf:

  • Fill a small bucket with cold water to a low level (About 8am high). Hot water can make the colours in your scarf run.
  • Add your delicate detergent to the water.
  • Place your scarf in the water, making sure it is fully submerged.
  • Soak for 5-10 minutes (Do not over soak)
  • Swirl your scarf around in the water at a slow pace with gentle movements.
  • Rinse your scarf with fresh cold water.
  • When ringing your scarf of excess water, do so by scrunching into a ball. Twisting your scarf can cause damage to the fibers.
  • Place your scarf on a flat surface and cover with a towel around the same size or bigger than your scarf. Roll your scarf with the towel, this will absorb the remaining moisture from your scarf.
  • Once moisture has been absorbed by the towel. Place your scarf on a flat surface in a dry area to dry. If you hang your scarf to dry while damp it can stretch the fabric.

dos and donts

Do’s & Don’ts - Caring For Your Scarf:

There are a few ways you can remove wrinkles from your silk scarf, it is important to understand the do’s and don'ts to removing creases. 


  • Do not iron your scarf when it is dry.
  • Do not iron your scarf on high heat.
  • Do not spot clean your scarf, this can cause circular pulls in the fabric.
  • Do not wash your scarf with other garments or colours, you do not want any colours bleeding into your scarf or vise versa.
  • Do not store your scarf in a damp place.
  • Do not leave our in direct sunlight, intense heat and UV can damage the scarf fibers and cause colour fading.
  • Do not put your scarf in the dryer as this can cause fibers to loosen and possibly break.
  • Do not use bleach or harsh chemicals such as perfume on your scarf, this can permanently stain your scarf.
  • Do not twist your scarf to ring out moisture after washing, this can rip and stretch the fabric.
  • Do not put your scarf in the washing machine.


  • Hand Wash your scarf.
  • Use detergent suitable for delicates or silk.
  • Iron only when slightly damp and with a towel in between to protect it.
  • Always iron on ‘cool’ setting.
  • Air drying your scarf is best.
  • Store in fabric pouches or airtight containers for long term storage. You can also store with lavender pouches to prevent moths.
  • Hang flat in the wardrobe for basic storage.

We hope this was helpful to you and that you now have a clearer idea of what you can do to help with the life span of your silk scarf. Browse our accessories here if you are interested in adding a new scarf or other accessory to your collection! Sign up to our newsletter on our home page for 10% off your first order. We have Free NZ shipping and Laybuy available.
Make sure that if you are done with your scarf and no longer wish to keep it for yourself, that you donate it to your local clothing bin, charity or op shop. There are plenty of people out there who would love to repurchase your scarf or be gifted it as a donation. It is better for the environment to recycle your clothing and pass it onto others rather than binning it! Here are some places below in Auckland New Zealand where you can donate clothing and accessories to.
Or look into your local op shop or Women's refuge for information on what you can donate.
Sand and Scarf

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