How to clean a silk tie

man in gold tie and beige jacket

A handmade silk tie is the finishing touch to any smart outfit.
Featured product: Handmade Silk Tie in Regal Gold

As we all know, silk is a tricky fabric to clean, so what do you do when your silk tie gets dirty? A luxury silk tie can add a splash of panache or generally smarten up your look, and over time they’ve become a mainstay of formal attire. You can be as careful as you like, but ties are a relatively high-risk garment for food and drink stains. 

Panic may set in when you realise the arrabbiata went awry, but don’t feel you have to throw your tie away and buy a new one until you’ve tried these tips for getting tricky stains out of silk ties.

How to clean a silk tie at home

    1. Remove greasy stains with cornflour or talcum powder
    2. Use rubbing alcohol and a hair-dryer
    3. Use a stain remove
    4. Take your tie to the dry cleaners

Can you wash silk ties?

man against red brinks in dark jacket and tie

Get that tie dirty, and you’ve got problems.
Featured product: Luxury Silk Tie in Red and Blue Spot

In a word, no. Silk is delicate. This means that some cleaning methods can cause as much damage as the substance that left the stain.

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.

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 cleaning some methods you can try.

Remove greasy stains with cornflour

Cornflour or talcum powder soak up greasy stains.

Lay your stained tie flat and apply a layer of powder to the offending blot. Leave it overnight, then brush off the cornflour. Repeat the process until you can no longer see the mark.

This method works best for oily stains.

Use rubbing alcohol and a hair-dryer

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.

First, do a spot test on the back of the tie to make sure the rubbing alcohol doesn’t affect the colour.

Lightly dab at the offending mark. If this doesn’t do much then scrub as lightly as you can, 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’ll end up with unsightly marks.

Clean silk with a stain remover

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

Having said that, if you’re 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 further damage to your tie. Begin with the minimum time that the instructions say and go from there.

Get your tie dry cleaned

man stands by car in country tie

A country tie is much easier to care for.
Featured product: Country Tie with Pheasants

If all else fails, then you have two options.

Pay a visit to your local dry cleaners; just make sure they are confident with cleaning silk. If that doesn’t work, you might just have to buy a new one, or opt for a country woollen tie in the future.

Do you have any tips for caring for silk? If so we’d love to hear from you. Just pop over to our Facebook page and leave us a message. 

Posted in Men's style guides.