Washing "dry clean only" silks?

hlg222September 26, 2012

I have several 100% silk blouses, etc. with labels that indicate that they are "dry clean only." However, my new Miele w3033 has a "Silk" cycle, which got me thinking...is there any reason I can't/shouldn't wash these?

The manual is not very constructive - as far as I can tell, the only difference from a cold "Handwash" cycle is that the final spin speed is slow, rather than medium. I would turn them inside out and use Perwoll wool & silks detergent, rather than Persil.

Any words of caution or encouragement? These items were not inexpensive and are some of my favorites so I'd hate to ruin them, but I also hate the inconvenience and chemicals involved with dry cleaning.

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The only two things I can think of are
1. the color might bleed
2. the 'hand' of the silk could change.

Sili is washable, but do so at your own risk. It might work, and it might not.

If you do, use the "no heat" setting. The "Cold" mixes some hot water and is a lukewarm setting and warmer than "no heat", which will be COLD right from the tap.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 5:44PM
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read this: https://texeresilk.com//main/cms/silk_care_cleaning_washing

and do some more thinking about this before washing silk IN YOUR WASHER

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Dave, no need to yell :-) As I read that article, it actually advocates hand washing silk over dry cleaning, which is effectively what I'd be doing...I'd never wash extremely delicate fabrics in a top loader with an agitator, even on a "delicate" cycle, but the Mieles are very gentle - I've washed a lot of hand wash wools, etc. and they've actually come out even better than when washed in the sink. I do agree with the article's point that Dupioni (or raw) silk should not be washed as I accidently washed and ruined a Dupioni silk dress - it lost its sheen and just looked old and sad.

Cavimum, thanks for that - I've never understood the difference between cold and no heat, and unless I missed it, the manual never explained. I've been assuming the opposite - so counterintuitive!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 6:19PM
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I'm not "yelling". there's no BOLD feature on this site.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:39PM
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Yes, there is.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Well, whoop-de-do, color me stupid then. (you freaking geek!)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:30PM
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@dave1812 - your posts and comments are always helpful. In cyberspace, all capital letters is considered yelling.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Dave, your last post was incredibly rude and uncalled for - I think you owe me an apology.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:47PM
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hlg222, your posts were BOTH rude. the one about bolding and the one b*tching at me to give you an apology. Kiss off.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:25PM
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furthermore, what in the heck is wrong with all you twits that are determined to post personal comments in lieu of STICKING TO THE SUBJECT??? this is THE worst forum I've been on, for personal comments.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Nope. :-)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:33PM
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Dave, I hope whatever's going on in your life to make you want to direct this level of vitriol toward a perfect stranger on the Internet resolves itself. I have not been on Gardenweb long and didn't realize it was "this" kind of site, but I see now that the forums aren't moderated and there's no way to report abusive posts, so no worries, I won't be back.

For anyone who comes across this thread down the road and who is actually interested in the original question, I can report that I successfully washed a silk dress, blouse and two scarves last night in my Miele, on the "Silk" setting with no heat and slow spin. They turned out great, no shrinkage and looked exactly the same as dry cleaned once pressed.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:12PM
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Yay! I would expect a Miele designated Silk cycle to do the job nicely ... unless perhaps a given item has been treated in some way to not accommodate water-based cleaning.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:53PM
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hlg22, I'm fine with you not coming back. You asked a question, got some answers, have no issues with your silks in your machine, so why don't you just STFU?? You just COULDN'T keep this thread of yours on topic, could you?? You had to keep getting personal.

Next time don't lecture people about "all caps" or bold. Then perhaps your thread will stay on topic. oh I forgot, you thrive on going off-topic.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Hi Guys

Wow! Didn't know laundry = such drama!! :)

Anyways, I have some input here. Agree with cavium, really a 50/50 risk when the silk says "dry clean only." It really depends on the finish and manufacture of the silk. Typically, it won't shrink, but color may run, and if there are special finishes that give the fabric body or sheen, then finish may be rinsed away leaving the garment with a different look and feel.

If it said "hand wash only," then the Miele silk cycle is 100% OK. The problem with "dry clean only" could be that the garment manufacturers may be trying to cover themselves, so it is safest for them to label the garment with a dry clean only fabric care label.

THE OTHER ISSUE here is pressing. With delicate fabrics, ironing at home will yield very different results than pressing/steaming with professional equipment.

That said, if the garment is unique and expensive then think twice, but if you're willing to chance it AND the garment would not be adversely impacted by home ironing or air drying, you may be pleasantly surprised that the garment can be water washed.

I've had to make that decision with fine wool sweaters that say "dry clean only" and found that the Woolens cycle is superb for wool, and subsequently gotten more use out of my sweaters (I feel I can wear them more and thus wash them more) without amassing $100's in dry cleaning bills.

In the Miele washers with a COLD and NO HEAT water temp options (with some cycle exceptions in the Super Large American size capacity machines), the difference is that NO HEAT means cold water directly from the tap. If you select COLD, then tap cold water will be heated by the internal heating element to 85 degrees F (still cold) which is really helpful when using powder detergents or during the winter where tap cold water is TOO cold to clean fabrics sufficiently or dissolve/activate detergents.

The Super Large American sized machines - the W4800 series - only use the water heater in certain cycles. For example, in the NORMAL cycle you can choose HOT (that is normally 140 degrees F with the Euro-size Miele machines), and the machine will use hot water from the hot water hose/line, but it will NOT heat the water regardless of temp. But in in the Wrinkle Free cycle, choosing HOT will activate the internal water heater. I cannot recall all of the cycles that utilize the internal water heater, but I "believe" that Silk and Woolens cycle do. In these machines, even when using a cycle that DOES use the internal water heater, the temperatures are not "guaranteed" to the predefined water temp. Rather, the internal water heater will be turned on and the machine will ATTEMPT to heat the water to a predefined temp (140 for HOT, for example), but due to cycles times and a lower watt heating unit it may not actually achieve that temp.

I don't think that for the Silk cycle, these water heating method of the machines is that crucial since your only choices are NO HEAT and COLD... UNLESS your tap cold water is really cold (like during winter time) where the water is too cold to detergent activation (you would probably use a speciality liquid detergent for silks anyway, and not powders) or cleaning (if you garment had heavier soiling).

Happy washing.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 2:43AM
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