How Do I Clean My Silk Kimono?

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Things You'll Need

  • Bucket or sink

  • Cold water

  • Delicate detergent

Silk kimonos require delicate care.

Kimonos are beautiful robes from Japan, worn by men and women for any formal event, from a funeral to a wedding. These cherished garments come in every color and pattern imaginable, and the finest ones are made of silk and require special care and attention when washing.


Step 1

Consider taking the kimono to a dry cleaner. In the event of a serious stain, lack of a gentle detergent, or a house with hard water (which can damage delicate fibers) it can be wise to trust a professional with cleaning the kimono. Make sure the dry cleaner has experience with fine silks, and discuss any special needs for the item.

Step 2

Wash the kimono in a bucket of cold water.

Fill the sink, or a bucket, with cold or lukewarm water, as hot water can damage silk. Do not place the item in a washing machine, even on the gentle cycle, as this could ruin the kimono. If hard water must be used, consider adding a spoonful of Borax powder, to make it gentler on the fabric.


Step 3

Gentle soap can be used to wash a kimono.

Add a cleansing agent. A special, delicate clothing detergent can be used, but none which brighteners or bleach. Also, baby shampoo and mild, alkaline-free soap will work; if something is gentle enough for human skin, it's usually alright for silk.


Step 4

Wash the kimono with care.

Gently agitate the kimono in the soapy water. With care, wash the kimono by hand, paying special attention to any stains, embellishments, or damaged sections of the fabric. Avoid roughly scrubbing or manhandling the kimono, and rinse it of all soap and suds.


Step 5

Let the silk kimono air dry.

Let the kimono air dry. Place it on a hanger and let it dry away from direct sunlight, which could fade the color. Don't wring the fabric, just let excess water drip off. Never place the kimono in a clothes dryer, as it could shrink.


references & resources

Hallie Engel

Hallie Engel is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in several international publications. She served as a restaurant critic for "Time Out Abu Dhabi" and "Time Out Amsterdam" and has also written about food culture in the United Arab Emirates for "M Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and film studies from University of Amsterdam.