Cleaning a silk tie is tricky for two reasons: First of all silk is a very delicate fabric that cannot be treated with harsh cleaners. Second, a tie cannot be washed or dry cleaned since doing so would ruin the inlay and the drape of the tie.
We at Mens-Ties.com have done some research. Besides repeating other people’s advice we personally tried every single cleaning method we could find. From our research and experiments, we found the best way to clean your silk tie. We are confident that this is the best silk tie cleaning guide you can find:
General Pre-Cautions on Silk Cleaning
Silk is a natural protein fiber that must not be cleaned with bleach containing solvents. The best cleaning solution is cold water or, for more persistent stains, a lightly diluted white vinegar & water solution. Never wash a silk tie, be it by hand or machine. Instead, only treat the affected area. Do not rub the stain into the fabric and never use hot water, bleach, or alcohol.
Preventing Stain in First Place
No matter how careful you are, sooner or later you will face the dilemma of a damaged silk tie. Even though some instances are unavoidable, there are certain measures you can take to reduce the risk of staining your silk tie. First of all, always have clean and well manicured hands when tying your necktie. Silk is a very delicate fabric, and long fingernails and calices on your palms can easily pull a thread out of the fabric ruining the look of your beloved tie.
Next, try not to wear your tie when eating. When you are at home, the place where dress code does not matter, this is easy to do. Don’t be lazy and take of your tie before digging into your food. When at a work dinner or a public function however, the tie has to stay one. Wear a napkin hiding the tie, or if permitable, tug your tie in between two buttons of the dress shirt.
Quick Stain Removal Remedies While at Dinner
Ideally you act right away and don’t let the stain soak into the fabric. Take a dull object, such as a clean spoon or back of a dinner knife, and scoop up the excess stain. Then take lukewarm water and moisten a white cotton napkin or towel before dapping it onto the stain. Do not rub the stain in, but instead try to soak up the stain with your moist towel. If this does not work, ask the waiter for some unsweetened soda water. Wet the clean napkin with the soda water and dap onto the stain. Do not soak the tie and do not apply water directly. If the stain persists, then additional treating will be needed at home.
Treating Persistent Stains on Silk Ties
Remove the excess stain with a dull object. A clean spoon or the back of a dinner knife work best. Then mix one to two tablespoons of a non-alkaline soap (such as Ivory Liquid) with one cup of lukewarm water and apply to a clean white towel. If you do not have a non-alkaline soap, then baby shampoo will work just as well. Dap the clean wet towel onto the stain carefully. Press down and do this process several times until the stain disappears. Do not rub the stain in but try to soak up the dirt with the wet towel. If this does not to the trick, then add one to two teaspoons of distilled white vinegar to the soap and water mixture. Again, moisten the towel with this solution and dap onto the stain. Should the stain still persist do the following: mix 1/3 distilled white vinegar with some soda water and apply this mixture to a clean white towel or cotton napkin. Test this solution on the back of the tie to ensure it does not cause any of the colors to fade. If safe, dap this solution using the napkin directly onto the stain and apply some pressure but do not rub. We at Mens-Ties.com tried this method and it removed even the most persistent stain for us.
To dry the tie we suggest hanging it onto a tie rack or over a clean clothes hanger. Do not dry your ties in direct sunlight and never place the tie inside a dryer. Sunlight will cause colors to fade and the dryer will fray and damage the silk fabric as well as ruin the shape of your tie.
Treating Wrinkles on a Silk Tie
The best way to de-wrinkle a silk tie is by using steam. One of the simplest ways to do this is by hanging your tie inside the bathroom while taking a hot shower. It does wonders and the wrinkles will be gone within minutes! Another method to remove wrinkles on your silk tie is by rolling the tie up with the stitching facing inward, and by storing the rolled up necktie over night. If these two methods don’t work then you may want to try the following. Take an iron and select a low temperature, or “silk” setting. Lay the tie flat and place a clean white towel over it before ironing. Never press down too hard and never apply the iron directly to the tie. Also, never apply water to the tie before ironing as this will create permanent stains. Again, many of the wrinkles can be avoided if you store your neckties correctly. For more information you may also want to read our guide on proper Tie Storage