23 common stains on silk and easy ways to get them out coffee stains on silk

How to clean silk flowers safely at home

I would love to say that I have green thumbs, unfortunately there is a running joke between my husband and I that I have to ability to kill all plants, grass and weeds included. Thankfully, silk flowers cannot be killed. Ruined yes, but not killed.

To prevent the running joke from growing any bigger, I thought it would be wise to find out how to clean my silk flowers without ruining them. I don’t think I can live that one down.

How often should you clean your silk flowers?

I do it on a weekly basis, lightly dusting them with a large fluffy makeup brush. Its quick, takes less than a minute and it also means that I do not have to deep clean my silk flowers as dust and dirt never gets the opportunity to build up.

Can I use a vacuum cleaner to clean silk flowers

Sometimes life gets unpredictable and my poor silk flowers suffer, coated with a layer of dust. That is when I whip out my vacuum cleaner. I cover the suction of the vacuum cleaner with an old pantyhose to prevent the delicate silk petals from being ripped off.

Handheld vacuum cleaners for keyboards are a good alternative. They have smaller suction heads which makes it easier to reach areas in between petals and lower suction force reduces the likelihood of damage to your flowers.

how to clean silk flowers safely at home
A mini handheld vacuum cleaner does the job too

Can you clean silk flowers with water?

You can spray water at your silk flowers and use a clean cloth to wipe each petal down. It is time consuming but it does keep your silk flowers clean. I do it sometimes, it may sound weird but it is oddly meditative.

Are silk flowers washable?

Silk tops, silk pillowcases and silk masks can be washed, silk flowers are no exception. Sometimes you forget about maintaining your silk flowers and when the layer of dust is more significant, washing them would be the fastest way to get them clean.

Or perhaps you may have spilled something on your silk flowers, then you should clean them as soon possible as silk is easily stained. You should clean any stained silk flowers immediately to avoid permanent damage.

Similar to washing silk garments [link], but here’s a guide that is tailored to silk flowers.

What to do before washing your silk flowers

Remove excessive dust

Simply hold your flowers at an angle and tap them gently to knock off any dust or debris. Remember to do it outside your house!

Check for colourfastness

You will need small basin of water, take a small silk flower petal and submerge it in water. If the colour runs, the answer is clear, avoid washing them! You can consider using a commercial cleaning spray for these silk flowers instead.

If the colour does not run, then follow the rest of the instruction below.

Prepare cool water, below 30°C / 86°F

Hot water, or even water that is too warm may damage silk fibres. This may cause the silk flowers to shrink or warp in shape.

Use only gentle detergent

You can use the same gentle detergent as the ones for silk garments or any gentle shampoo. Do avoid using bleach or harsh cleaning agents.

Wash, iron and care for silk pillowcases easily at home
Avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals when it comes to silk

Pretreat any stains

If you pre-treat any stained areas, it takes less effort to remove the stains during the wash.

How to remove stains from silk flowers

I have a separate post covering 23 common stains on silk [Link]. I did not think stained silk flowers were a common thing, so here we are today – talking more about it!

There are two ways of removing stains, you can either spot wash with a gentle detergent or soak your silk flowers for 3-5 minutes before washing them.

I would advise soaking your flowers for a maximum of 5 mins to prevent any discolouration or damage to the silk.

How to clean silk flowers with gentle detergent

Now that you have checked for colourfastness, pre treated any stains  and have all the necessary equipment, you may start washing your silk flowers safely

  1. Prepare a basin of cool water, nothing above 30°C / 86°F
  2. add some gentle detergent and agitate until you get bubbles
  3. hold your silk flowers upside down, petals facing the soapy water
  4. submerge the head of the silk flowers and swish your flowers around to dislodge the dust and dirt.
  5. If there is still dust clinging on to the flowers, use your fingers to gently rub the petals to clean it further
  6. Remove your flowers, holding them upside down still
  7. Empty the basin of dirty water, fill it again with clean cool water
  8. submerge the head of the silk flowers again, swishing your flowers gently to remove the soap.
  9. Repeat straps 6, 7 and 8 until the basin of water runs clear and is no longer soapy
  10. Gently squeeze your silk flowers to remove excess water, careful not the squeeze too hard or they would misshapen!
  11. Lay your silk flowers on a clean towel to dry, you may have to reshape them with your hands gently after it dries.
  12. Alternatively, you can line dry your flowers upside down, this would reduce the need to reshape the flowers.

Can I clean silk flowers with dishwasher liquid

As long as your dishwasher liquid is gentle, plant based and does not contain harmful chemicals, it would be fine in a pinch. My advise is still always to use gentle detergent, it is the safest way and will do the least harm to your delicate silk flowers.

Can I clean silk flowers with shampoo

Silk is an animal based fibre, the closest comparison would be hair. Shampoo that is free of harsh chemicals would not harm silk fibres, but I do find it slightly more drying for silk. You may find that your silk flowers would look a little bit more crisp after the wash, but they do soften out over the next few days.

Can I use cleaning sprays for silk flowers

Cleaning sprays are the safest but also most expensive method to clean your silk flowers. As long as you purchase cleaning sprays that are meant for silk flowers and not general artificial flowers, it would likely be a fool proof method.

how to clean silk flowers safely at home
pricier but takes the least effort

How to clean silk flowers with yellow stains

If you do not have silk flower cleaner spray, it is still possible to attempt to remove the awful yellow stains. Here’s how:

  1. Follow any of the dry cleaning steps above to remove dust from your silk flowers. You may dust them, use a hair dryer, use salt or white rice and shake your flowers in a bag. If you are lazy, then simply tap them to get the dust out, it is the least effective but it is better than nothing.
  2. Prepare your spray mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and water. Use either this or a silk flower cleaning spray, spray your silk flowers liberally and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare a small basin of water and delicates wash for your silk flowers. Instead of using cool water to wash your silk flowers, try lukewarm water with a tad more delicate wash than usual.
  4. Proceed to swish your flowers until as much stains are lifted off as possible.
  5. Rinse off with cool water, dry your flowers upside down or on a clean towel.
  6. If the yellow stains are not gone, try repeating this cycle once or twice more, if that fails, it is likely time to purchase new silk flowers.

How do I keep my silk flowers looking fresh

A little bit goes a long way, once a week, I use a large fluffy makeup brush to brush out any surface dust. Sometimes I do it twice a week! To keep it convenient, I hide the makeup brush inside the vase, since my vase is opaque.

how to clean silk flowers safely at home
opaque vases and containers are the best for hiding brushes and tangled stems of the silk flowers

Here you have it, simple ways of keeping your silk flowers clean. My fellow plant killers, feel free to go forth purchase your silk flowers and never have to worry about killing them!