How to clean a silk tie

how to clean a silk tie

Get a tie that dirty, and you’ve got problems

A tie is a wonderful thing. Whether they’re adding a splash of panache or generally smartening you up, they have become a mainstay of formal attire. But what happens when one becomes dirty?

Panic may set in: you may even feel the need to throw it away and buy a new one! Of course, the dry cleaner is an option but it won’t always work. So is there any way to rescue a soiled silk tie? We think the answer is yes.

But first, let us see why cleaning a tie can be an issue in the first place…

Why can cleaning a silk tie be a problem?

Silk is delicate. This means that not only can the substance which marks the fabric cause damage, but some cleaning methods can too.

Water, for instance, won’t damage the fabric itself but it can weaken the fibres of a handmade silk tie, and if you scrub vigorously you could really damage it. This is why you shouldn’t put a silk tie in the washing machine.

The shape and colour of a tie is paramount to how it fits with your outfit, so the last thing you want is to damage the shade or the way it sits over the buttons of your shirt.

Luckily, there are some methods you can try.

Cornflour for greasy stains

Anyone who has worked in a kitchen will know that, when oil is spilled on the floor, the first thing to do is put down some salt. This soaks up the oil and limits the the potential for flying frying pans! Cornflour or even talcum powder can have the same impact on your tie … just without the frying pans.

Lay your stained tie flat and apply a layer of powder to the offending blot. Leave it overnight and continue the process until you can no longer see the mark.

This method works best for oily stains, so read on for more techniques for different kinds of stains.

Use rubbing alcohol and a hairdryer

The first rule with this one is be gentle! Dip a small cloth into a bowl of rubbing alcohol, wring it out so you don’t cause drips and lightly dab at the offending mark.

If this doesn’t do much then scrub as lightly as possible, akin to a fly landing on a spider’s web.

Next, get a hair dryer to dry it as quickly as possible, but use it on a low heat so as not to burn your tie! If the alcohol soaks into the tie, you will end up with unsightly marks.

Stain remover

Stain remover is named stain remover for one obvious reason: it removes stains. However, this should be your last resort; stain removers can be harsh on delicate fabrics.

Having said that, if you are desperate and don’t have time to go to a dry cleaner or buy a new tie, then give it a go, but remember to be incredibly gentle. You could even water down the stain remover if needs be.

Once again, don’t let the solution sit for too long; this could cause undue further damage to your tie. Begin with the minimum time that the instructions say and go from there.

If all else fails…

…then you have two options. The first is a visit to your local dry cleaners; just make sure they are confident with cleaning silk. If that doesn’t work then you might just have to buy a new one, or go for a country woollen tie in the future.

Posted in Men's style guides.