Thursday, 21 March 2013

Cleaning Hermes Scarves

Disclaimer - I accept no responsibility for any accidents you may encounter by following what I have written below! Hermes do not recommend washing scarves and say you should dry clean.  However, I have washed scarves and this post is based on my own experience.  If you decide to proceed you do so at your own risk.  Sorry to say this but got to cover my back - hope you understand.

In reply to a query - I have always washed my flat Hermes scarves.  Plisses cannot be washed as you will mess up the pleating and plisses are a specialist clean preferably via Hermes themselves.  

It is a risk to wash scarves, and is against Hermes advice,  but the modern ones seem to be fine in my experience with a quick hand wash.  I believe that older vintage scarves can bleed colour due to different dyes being used in earlier times.  I have had no problems with my silk twill 90cms or vintage silk 70cm in fact the 70cm are the best for washing.

To wash I use Woolite or Stergene which are delicates hand wash liquids.  It is important to use cool to cold water to avoid any dye runs - wear washing up gloves to protect your hands from the cold if you need to.  Some people put some colour catcher cloths into the water as well to be double safe.  Fill a clean washing up bowl or clean sink with cool/cold water and add a small amount of washing liquid - you don't need much.  Keep the water as cold as you can bear - or wear washing up gloves to keep your hands warm.  Then in with the scarf - work quickly and keep the scarf moving at all times do not let it sit in the water that is how colour runs can start.  I tend to squeeze the water through the scarf  several times.  Once you feel the scarf is clean take the scarf out of the water and gently squeeze the excess water out of the scarf and drain the bowl or sink.  Then fill your bowl or sink with fresh cold water and rinse, repeat this with fresh water as many times as you feel is required to get the detergent out of the scarf completely.  

To dry the scarf I place it onto a clean towel and roll it up then wring the towel gently, this will remove a lot of the water.  Then I iron the scarf dry with a clean cotton man sized handkerchief between the scarf and iron in case of spits from the iron.  I gently push the side of the iron up against the roll of the hems from the scarf side, but do NOT iron over the hems they will have to be left to dry naturally if you want them to remain plump.  Washing scarves does allow you to re-plump hems if you have acquired one that has been ironed previously.

For stains:- if I know of any stains then I gently work a little drop of the washing fluid into the spot before washing the scarf - I have also found for make up stains that a gentle face wash gel can be good for removing make up.  I guess some stains like oil will require specialist treatment - you can try with those silk wipes you can get in tie shops and M&S or go to a reputable dry cleaner.  

With dry cleaning scarves ensure that you speak to the cleaners first - impress upon them that the hems must not be pressed and that they should not pin or staple any tags into the scarf -the label is OK but not he scarf as this can cause irreparable damage.  Check that the cleaners are using "perk free" chemicals as otherwise the silk can be damaged.

Hope this helps but don't blame me if you have any accidents!

25 comments:

  1. This is exactly the same procedure I have developed during the last 40 years, with the exception of two things:
    First I don't squeeze out the water. Instead I take the scarf out of the sink an let the water drip off. Then I place it onto a towel and blow-dry it with a cool setting until it is not dripping wet anymore.
    Secondly I iron the scarf directly with a dry iron from both sides, omitting the hems and following the diagonal direction of the texture.

    This procedure seems to be far more gentle to the silk than dry cleaning.

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  2. Thank you very much. This is incredibly helpful. I have had bad luck with dry cleaners in the past (stapling)but was nervous about hand washing. Very much appreciate the detailed instructions!

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    1. You are very welcome - happy to have helped = please do read the other comments posted by readers as they have useful tips too! SAx

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  3. I too have had good luck washing my scarves. I use a product from The Laundress and even wash them in the washing machine (check out The Laundress' website for a video demonstration). When washing one of my older scarves the color did seem to run a bit, but several others I've washed did not run. I do not iron, but simply lay the scarf flat on a clean towel. It dries very quickly.

    In general, washing seems safer than dry cleaning. Too often, the dry cleaners have ironed over the hems and flattened them. I have also had pins put through the silk! Crazy for a professional dry cleaner to pin any silk item, even if they don't realize it's an expensive scarf. Therefore, I find it's safer to wash at home than to pay the dry cleaner to ruin the scarf for me!

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    1. Thank you ssjd good to hear everyone's experience and tips! I love you final sentence about "paying" to ruin your scarf so true lol! SAx

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  4. Hello SA, thanks for sharing your tips! Another fan of hand washing, here! I love the Laundress products, and I've used their "Delicate Wash" for my silk twills and mousselines, with great success. Some of my scarves were so hard to find, I'd rather not hand them over to someone else to clean, having to give all sorts of instructions not to ruin them! Plus, it's a bit therapeutic to do a bit of hand washing! ;-) I haven't attempted to hand wash my GM dip dyes yet, as haven't needed to. A bit worried about possible dye run with those.

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    1. Hi NiniNotes - great to hear you are fan of washing too! I agree with your sentiments too! SAx

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  5. I have followed similar procedures with great success. However, as a measure to prevent colours' running, I add pure, white vinegar (no colours, flavours, or additives!) and kosher salt, as well as gentle detergent, to the very cold water. Doing so really brightens white or cream backgrounds which may have become a bit dingy over time. I've done this with 40-year old scarves and suffered no tragedies yet!
    -raed

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    1. Hi raed - great to hear your tips - thank you for sharing! SAx

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  6. I used to use Hermes dry cleaning service, and still do for my older scarves with oranges and reds , like my orange Napoleon which was done there recently . It arrived back immaculate , and as I revere this design so much I would never dare wash it.
    The rest of them get washed often and seem to get more drapey and soft which seems to be a bonus too. Since I love a bargain I sometimes buy the old designs in poor condition , and handwash them myself . If stains are severe I use washing up liquid and rub it into the stains.There's always a huge improvement , and if a scarf is clean I don't mind if it has the odd mark anyway: patina of age and usage can sometimes be charming.

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    1. Hi Estrella - I love Napoleon too! I love washing because yes it softens the scarves up I like them floppy too, so much much more comfy to wear. Good tip on the bargains too, I quite agree about marks etc...SAxx

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  7. Worked for me! - than you for the guide...

    PPx

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    1. Hi PP - yep it works doesn't it?!! The worst part is doing your first ever wash and getting through that then you are never so worried again! SAxx

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  8. Hey dear, thanks for sharing this valuable posting with us. I will definitely apply on my scarves as dry clean is a very expensive way.

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  9. I handwash all my Hermes scarves and shawls using shampoo that I use to wash my hair. It works fine.

    Kind regards,
    Cab

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  11. Thank you so much! I ended up buying tons of Laundress products (this is exactly what I have been searching for!!). I will wash my Hermes scarves and post an update. Thanks again!

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    1. I hope you have success! Glad to have helped.

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  12. Hi, just wanted to add a thank you for educating people. As a long time knitter I don't know how many times I've reminded people that wool and silk have been around for thousands of years and dry cleaning less than 100. Dry cleaning matters when there's structure in the garment that needs to be maintained (e.g., men's suits, wedding dresses, etc). Also, there is a product called Retayne designed to lock down unstable dyes, but I've never used it on silk, so I'm not sure if it would work on a vintage scarf.
    I was looking for ironing tips about the rolled edges, so I appreciate your guide. Thanks.

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    1. You are very welcome - good point about the fabrics being around longer than dry cleaning!!! Hope you have success with your cleaning. Best wishes SAx

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  13. About four decades ago, I moved into an adorable apartment made above a barn. It was on the Connecticut shore, where air conditioning was never needed. At least, not yet, anyway. Well, many things changed that year, the climate being one of them. (In fact, this scarf incident could help climatologists document the actual start of global warming.) I'd always lived along a cool lake shore. I moved inland to this old New England farm area (without the cool water breezes) and promptly put my silk scarves away in the cupboard dresser, along with a bar of lovely scented soap I'd received as a gigi--something I had always done. I left on a month's working vacation to our overseas offices. That summer the temperatures went into the 90s for well over a week--unheard of on the Connecticut shoreline. On my return, I went in to fetch my equine-themed, navy-blue,white, and gold Hermes scarf, only to see this soap had melted, its dye staining it with pink and red on the uppermost corner. I washed it in Woolite, which didn't touch the stain. Any suggestions? Dry cleaners, perhaps?? They always make me so nervous with fine silks and the like. I have retired, and have no need for most of my things, including so many scarves. (This one, in particular, has a more formal look to it.) If nothing gets out that stain, should I sell it as it is, or upcycle it into some piece of clothing, or perhaps a handbag or something...? I'd hate to make it worth even less. I'd appreciate your suggestions.

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    1. Hi Marilyn, sorry to hear about the scarf and soap disaster. My intital thought is to try the boiling water treatment. I recenetly washed a YSL scarf and the blue ran into all teh yellows:-( anyway I stretched the scarf in small sections at a time over an empty jug (or similar vessel) and slowly poured boiling water on the stains this did remove them good enough so as not to be too noticeable. That's the only thing I can think of - or maybe try washing them again in woolite with a colour catcher sheet or two? It's best always to try on a small section first to see how the fabric takes what you are doing to it! If you sell the scarf then you can sell it either as it is (less £) or if you successfully remove the colour then hopefully you'll get a good price. I don't know much about recycling into something else unfortunately but I am sure anything goes! Hope this helps, do let me know how you get on. SAx

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  14. Thank you for sharing this! Your ideas are great!

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