Hermes silk scarves are precious and make for a good investment. That’s why there are many Hermes scarf collectors. These individuals have the know-how on maintaining their collection and that includes washing them. Of course, Hermes recommends only dry cleaning as a method of cleaning their scarves but collectors prefer handling these themselves. There are just some nuances with some particular fabrics that they worry would miss the attention of cleaners. So they’ve familiarized themselves on which steps of washing should be done and which to avoid. Here’s the simplest way they do it.
First, prepare a delicate fabric hand wash, a large clean bowl filled with tepid water to wash in, a separate container to rinse in, and a large white towel to dry the scarf on and to use as an under blanket for ironing. Drop a very minute amount of fabric hand wash in the bowl and dissolve it completely. Alternatively, you can use dishwashing detergent if you want to remove a stain or dirt on the scarf that you suspect to be make-up or skin grease.
Second, Put the scarf in the water and swirl it continuously for about five minutes; imitate a washing machine’s spin cycle. Do not let the scarf sit idle in the water because that’s how color runs form. It is, however, perfectly normal to see color in the water which comes from the dirt that stuck on the fabric.
Third, rinse the scarf repeatedly until you are certain that the detergent has been completely washed away.
Fourth, dry the scarf, lay it on the white towel. Never ever wring the scarf before you place it on the towel. Instead, squeeze it out from the scarf by pressing on it so that the towel underneath absorbs the water. Then, roll up the towel with the scarf inside such that the fabric of the scarf does not touch itself. It would be convenient if you have an extra white towel that you could roll up and press on the scarf to hasten the drying or if your towel is big enough, fold it before you lay the scarf on it. Then squeeze the roll so that the towel will absorb as much water from the silk. Unroll the towel and let the scarf air dry for a while.
Finally, iron under silk setting. The scarf need not be fully dry but if it that’s the case, use another clean white towel as an under blanket. And take note not to iron the hems! If you then decide to store the scarf, make sure to keep it away from moisture and sunlight.
That’s basically how collectors clean a Hermes scarf but it’s not a foolproof process. There are certain scarves, especially vintage ones, which are very prone to color runs. Black, red, green and yellow dyes as well as dark colors next to white are the ones that you should be most careful of. If you want to practice on washing, try the newer line of scarves that don’t have such unstable dyes.