Caring for Your Silk & Viscose Kimonos: A Comprehensive Guide

There's little that can match the elegance of a silk or viscose kimono - the very embodiment of grace, style and cultural significance. They are true pieces of art and deserve the utmost care and attention, just like any prized possession. If you've been lucky enough to have one of these in your wardrobe, it's essential to understand how to preserve its quality and longevity appropriately. 

In this guide, we're going to unwrap the secrets of how to care for and clean your silk and viscose kimonos. We'll take you through each step - from understanding the delicate nature of these fabrics, identifying the differences between silk and viscose, selecting the right care products, mastering the art of hand washing, to the safe handling while drying. 

Remember, proper care for your unique garments isn't just about cleanliness - it's about preserving a piece of art that represents centuries of tradition and craftmanship. So, let's get started!

Understanding the Delicate Nature of Silk and Viscose

Both silk and viscose are renowned for their luxuriousness and attractive appeal, but it's their delicate nature that sets them apart and dictates their specific care requirements. Silk, a natural fibre, known for its luster, is produced by silkworms and requires delicate handling. This is because silk's soft touch, vibrant colors, and delicate texture can be easily damaged by harsh handling and inappropriate cleaning techniques. 

On the other hand, viscose, otherwise known as rayon, is a semi-synthetic fibre derived from cellulose. Despite its synthetic origin, it is popular for imitating the feel and appearance of natural fibres like silk, cotton, and linen. Like silk, viscose is delicate, beautiful, and also demands careful handling. It has a tendency to shrink and lose its shape when exposed to harsh washing methods, and it is sensitive to heat. 

Understanding these factors is crucial because it forms the foundation of how to properly care for, clean, and store your silk and viscose kimonos, ensuring preservation of their fabric quality and longevity. As the adage goes, to care for these delicate garments is to understand their particular needs. In the subsequent sections, we will navigate through these needs and guide you on how to maintain the elegance and charm of these pieces for years to come.

Identifying the Differences Between Silk and Viscose Kimonos

When you're standing in front of two kimonos, one made out of silk and the other out of viscose, distinguishing between them is not always straightforward. These two fabrics, while aesthetically similar, bring distinct properties to the table that make each unique. 

Silk, a luxuriant natural fiber known for its smooth feel and luminous sheen, is produced by silkworms. This coveted material is highly breathable, hypoallergenic, and adept at regulating body temperature, holding heat in the cold and promoting airflow in hot weather. However, silk's elegance comes at a price; it requires a nurturing touch and meticulous care in cleaning and preservation. 

On the other hand, viscose, commonly known as rayon, is a manufactured fiber. Derived from natural sources like wood pulp, it possesses  a silky appearance and smooth texture akin to silk. Yet, compared to silk, it is generally more affordable, stronger when wet, and easier to clean (although still needing considerable care).

By identifying their unique features, you can ensure the appropriate care for your silk or viscose kimono and prolong its beauty and life.

Tools and Products Needed for Silk and Viscose Care

For any fashion connoisseur, the correct tools can make a difference, and cleaning your silk and viscose kimonos is no different. The right resources will help you keep these gorgeous garments in pristine condition while increasing their lifespan. So, here's a list of essentials you'll need in your arsenal. 

Mild Detergent 

Fabric-friendly mild detergents are key when caring for your delicate silk and viscose kimonos. They are gentler and less abrasive than regular detergents, reducing the risk of fabric damage. If you're in a bind, baby shampoo makes an excellent alternative. 

White Vinegar 

Yes, you read it right. A little white vinegar can go a long way towards protecting the color vibrancy of your kimono. It acts as a natural fabric softener and can neutralize detergent residue, which can sometimes dull the colors in your garments. 

Sponge or Soft Cloth 

A sponge or soft cloth can act as your main tool for delicate spot cleaning. Unlike brushes, they don't stress the fibers, ensuring that the fabric's surface remains smooth and unblemished. 


Invest in a few quality absorbent towels. They are perfect for drying your kimono in a delicate, non-destructive manner. 

Mesh Laundry Bag 

For an added layer of protection, a mesh laundry bag can be extremely handy, particularly when machine washing viscose kimonos. This will prevent tangling and twisting that could damage the fabric. 

Remember, the gentle care for clean and beautiful kimonos begins with using the right tools. So when it's time to clean your kimonos, equip yourself with these essentials and rest assured your precious pieces are well catered for.

The Art of Gentle Hand Washing for Silk Kimonos

The first step in gently hand washing your silk kimono is to fill a clean sink or basin with cold water, adding a small amount of mild detergent. We recommend you use a fragrance-free detergent as additives can often cause damage to silk. 

Next, gently submerge your kimono in the water, taking care to stir the water slowly and gently with your hands. Avoid scrubbing or twisting the fabric as this may lead to wrinkling and pulling the threads. Instead, allow the garment to soak for up to 30 minutes, gently agitating the water occasionally to help the detergent penetrate the fabric and remove dirt and oils. 

Once your kimono has soaked, rinse it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Be sure to remove all traces of detergent as any residue left can cause damage or discoloration. An optional step following the rinse is to add a bit of white vinegar to a second rinse. This will not only neutralize detergent residue, but also restore the silk's natural shine. 

Post rinsing, avoid wringing out the kimono. Instead, lay it flat on a clean dry towel, roll up the towel and apply light pressure to extract the water. This method helps maintain the fabric's integrity and reduces the risk of wrinkle formation. 

Remember, silk is especially delicate when it's wet, so always handle your washed kimono with exceptional care. Don't rush the process—lifting your kimono out of the water slowly and handling with delicacy can keep it looking its best for years to come. 

How to Safely Dry Your Silk and Viscose Kimonos

Care is just as crucial in drying your silk and viscose kimonos as in washing them. Done wrong, it could just as easily lead to irreversible damage. To successfully navigate this stage, keep a few specific things in mind. 

Firstly, never twist or wring out your kimonos. This violent action can stretch out the fibers and lead to deformation. Instead, you should gently press out the excess water. If your kimono is heavy and unwieldy, it's a good idea to spread it out over a clean towel. Roll up the towel with the kimono inside so the towel absorbs the water. Repeat until the garment is only damp. 

For the drying process, avoid direct sunlight and radiators. They can cause color fading and shrinkage. Silk should absolutely not be tumble-dried. As for viscose, although some viscoses can tolerate tumble drying, it's risky. Its fibers can weaken when wet, making it more prone to tearing and shrinking. If you need to dry your kimono quickly, use the no-heat setting on your dryer, or simply use a fan. Natural air drying is ideal. Remember to reshape the garment while it's still damp to prevent any distortion. 

Last but not least, if you need to iron your kimono, ensure it's still slightly damp. Only iron on the underside, and use a low setting. Silk and viscose are susceptible to burning, so a cooler ironing process will help preserve their strength and luster. 

Remember, your kimonos are precious investments, and with the right care, they will add a dash of elegance to your style for many years to come.


With the right care measures, your silk and viscose kimonos can serve you elegantly for a long period. Remember, preserving your kimono's rich quality and texture goes beyond just cleaning. It's about giving it the love it deserves― a love that's gentle, caring, and patient. 

Be cautious with the methods and cleaning solutions you use. Always remember to execute the cleaning process patiently and methodically, as both silk and viscice fabrics require some extra attention, but when given, result in truly spectacular and long-lasting garments. Be meticulous, but also enjoy the process - after all, caring for something you love should never feel like a chore. 

And so, we come full-circle back to the heart of our discussion. Caring for your silk and viscice kimonos doesn't have to be a daunting task. By incorporating these measures into your regular clothing care routine, you are not only increasing the lifespan of your treasured garments but also preserving its inherent elegance and charm. 

So, roll up your sleeves and prepare to experience the joy of caring for something so beautiful, valuable and deeply connected to a rich cultural history. We hope this guide serves as the helping hand you need in this journey of meticulous care and unwavering love towards your silk and viscose kimonos.