DIY Techniques for Cleaning Silk & Viscose Kimonos at Home

You've got a stunning silk or viscose kimono, we get that. They're classic pieces, full of cultural wealth, luxury, and a distinctive elegance that can't be mimicked. But they're also delicate and need special attention to keep them looking their best. No need to fret — taking good care of these traditional garments at home is perfectly doable. Yes, you don't have to be a pro for your kimono to look like it's fresh out of Kyoto. From spot cleaning methods to comprehensive maintenance tips, we're going to break things down, so you'll have your kimono looking unblemished and vibrant for years to come. 

You don't have to be a pro for your kimono to look like it's fresh out of Kyoto.
  • Spot Cleaning: Don't let spots, spills, and splashes be the villain in your kimono story. We'll teach you how to tackle these nuisances without stressing your garment.
  • Deep Cleaning: Every so often, your kimono will want a complete makeover. We're talking about a full clean-up. No worry, we'll guide you on how to do it gently and effectively.
  • Maintenance: Preservation is key. We'll share some priceless tips on how to keep your kimono stored correctly, so it'll be ready to dazzle whenever you are.

Setting the Stage: Understanding Your Kimono Material

The foundation of good kimono care begins with understanding the materials used in its construction. Focusing on silk and viscose, these two materials are some of the most common in traditional and modern kimonos. While each material has its own unique charm and feel, they also come with some care instructions to ensure their longevity. 

Silk, as you might already know, is a luxurious natural fiber renowned for its delicate feel. On the other hand, viscose, also known as rayon, is a man-made fiber, but it emulates the softness and drapability of silk perfectly. Whether your precious kimono is a lush silk masterpiece or an exquisite viscose ensemble, understanding their distinct traits is the first step to effective cleaning and maintenance. 

Remember, kimonos are not just a piece of clothing but an expression of historical culture and tradition. As such, these garments require thoughtful handling and respect. Therefore, as you navigate through this journey of kimono care, bear in mind that each step is crucial to maintaining the integrity of your garment. 

Let's dive deeper into the specifics of each material and explore the best at-home cleaning practices for your silk and viscose kimonos.

The Biological Beauty: Unraveling the Delicacy of Silk

Silk, a natural protein fiber, has a long-standing history that dates back thousands of years. Known for its luxurious sheen and incredible softness, silk kimonos represent a pinnacle of artistic elegance and craftsmanship. Gracing the wearer with both comfort and style, it's essential to bestow the same level of care onto your silk kimono as was put into its creation. 

Sadly, silk is notoriously difficult to maintain. This is primarily because its protein structure is easily attacked by ordinary cleaners such as harsh detergents and bleach, which can dissolve the bonds and ruin the material. Therefore, attentive and delicate care is imperative to prolong the life of your silk kimono. 

Avoid exposing your silk kimono to direct sunlight for extended periods, as ultraviolet rays can weaken the fiber and cause discoloration. Similarly, beware of excessive heat and humidity, as they can lead to damage and shrinkage. For the same reasons, when ironing your silk kimono, go for the lowest setting and place a thin cloth between the iron and the kimono to ensure gentle, indirect heat. 

Remember, your silk kimono is a wearable piece of art, and treating it as such will ensure you can enjoy its beauty and elegance for years to come. 

Versatile Viscose: Unmasking the Beauty of Artificial Silk 

The world of kimono is not limited to silk alone. Viscose, often referred to as artificial silk, offers a more cost-effective alternative without compromising much on comfort or appearance. While not as luxuriously soft as authentic silk, it comparatively holds color better and lends a subtle sheen to the garment, making it a popular choice for many kimono aficionados. 

Viscose is a semi-synthetic fabric made from specially processed wood pulp. It tends to be more durable than silk and is more tolerant to regular washing, making it easier to maintain. Always hand wash your viscose kimono in cool or lukewarm water using a mild detergent. Lightly squeeze the water out without twisting – this method of wringing can be hard on the viscose fibers and lead to unnecessary stretching or warping. 

Both lavish silken and practical viscose kimonos have their merits. Choose yours depending on lifestyle, preference, and budget. Either way, remember, with respect and gentle care, these garments can be cherished heirlooms to pass on to the next generation.

Spot Cleaning 101: Treating Stains on Silk Kimonos

Let's now delve into the specifics of spot cleaning your beloved silk kimonos. If you see a stain, resist the urge to panic. The process is simple if you're patient and careful. 

Start by blotting the stain with a white, dry cloth. Remember not to rub; silk, especially, is a fragile material. Rubbing could potentially damage the fibres and make the stain worse. 

For both silk and viscose, we recommend a gentle cleaning agent. Mix a few drops of it with lukewarm (never hot) water. Test this solution on a hidden area of the kimono to ensure that it won’t discolor or damage the fabric. 

If the test proves successful, dip a white, clean cloth into the mixture and lightly dab it onto the stain. Always work from the outside of the stain towards the center to prevent the stain from spreading. 

Once you finish, blot the cleaned area with a dry cloth to remove any residual cleaning solution. For the cherry on top, let the kimono air dry – never use a hair dryer or any other heating device on these delicate fibres. 

Remember, this technique is great for spot cleaning, but doesn’t replace a proper, thorough clean. While it's perfect for taking care of stains in a pinch, regular deep local cleaning is crucial for maintaining your kimonos' look and longevity.

Deep Dive: Full Cleaning Process for Silk Kimonos

You've successfully tackled spot cleaning your silk kimono, but what about those times when it needs a more thorough cleaning? Fear not, let's delve deeper into the full cleaning process while maintaining the integrity of your precious garment.

It is crucial to approach the cleaning process with a delicate hand and patient mind because silk is a sensitive material. It can be a bit daunting at first, but the effort will extend the longevity of your kimono. 

Now, let us start with the actual process. Firstly, prepare a gentle soap or mild detergent specifically designed for silk and a bin or sink filled with lukewarm water. Always remember to avoid hot water as it may shrink the silk! Also, do a little patch test on an unseen part of the kimono before fully immersing it to ensure the detergent doesn't affect the colour.

Next, carefully submerge your kimono in the water-detergent mixture, gently swooshing it around to work the soap through. Allow it to soak for around 10-15 minutes. You might see a bit of colour in the water, but don't panic. This is simply loose dye and is quite common, especially in multicoloured garments. 

Drain the soapy water from the sink or bin, refill it with fresh, clean water at the same temperature, and rinse your garment thoroughly. Take care to not twist or wring your beloved silk kimono during this process. The goal is to allow water to flow freely through the fabric, dislodging any remaining soap. 

Finally, lay out a large, clean, absorbent towel on a flat surface. Carefully place your wet kimono flat on top of the towel, smoothing out wrinkles as much as possible. Roll up the towel, pressing gently to absorb excess water. Unroll, remove the damp kimono, and lay it on a new, dry towel or hang to air dry. 

Through this process, you'll clean your silk kimono at home efficaciously while maintaining its quality. As extensive as this might seem, the result of your labor will definitely reflect in the enduring beauty of your kimono.

Preserving the Prestige: Essential Tips for Kimono Maintenance

Rotate and Air-out Your Kimono Regularly 

The importance of regularly rotating and airing your treasured kimono cannot be overstressed. Silk kimonos, in particular, enjoy a fresh breath of air, naturally dispelling any absorbed odors and humidity. Half an hour of indirect sunlight and soft breeze is all your kimono needs to be reinvigorated. 

Safe Storage is Paramount 

Many kimono enthusiasts often wonder how to store their kimonos safely. Here's the secret: Always ensure that your kimono is stored in cool, dark, and dry spaces. Moisture can damage both silk and viscose materials, leading to mildew. Darkness prevents color fading. Soft, spacious, breathable garment bags made from cotton or muslin are your best bet for long-term storage. 

Ironing Tips for Your Kimonos 

One of the most daunting parts of maintaining a kimono is perhaps ironing it. A wrinkled kimono can lose its lustrous appeal. If you're fearful of damaging your beloved garment with an iron, fret not. Here's a tip: Always utilize a medium to low heat setting, and place a cotton cloth between the iron and your kimono to safeguard the delicate material. Let the fabric cool before folding it. This simple practice can work wonders for your kimono’s longevity. 

Regular Check-ups 

Lastly, don’t forget to occasionally inspect your kimono for signs of damage. Loose threads, tiny holes, or fading colors might go unnoticed if you're not vigilant. Promptly address these issues to prevent further deterioration that could lead to costly repairs. 

With these sensible and straightforward tips, you can have your precious kimono looking pristine and appealing for years, if not generations, to come.


You've embarked on a journey of understanding, learning to truly care for and appreciate the beauty of your silk and viscose kimonos. You've now got the knowledge to keep them looking their finest, just as they deserve. 

Remember, like fine art, these exquisite garments demand respect and meticulous consideration. Whether it's spot cleaning a troublesome wine stain on your silk kimono with gentle strokes, or being mindful of how you store your viscose beauty to keep it wrinkle-free and ready, these practices will undoubtedly extend their longevity. 

Take to heart these cost-effective and easy-to-implement clean-up and maintenance strategies. They aren't just about enhancing your wardrobe's appearance and durability, but also about celebrating the ancient traditions and meticulous craftsmanship these kimonos represent. 

Keep these guidelines close by for your next cleaning session and remember — your efforts will not only protect your investment, but also honor the artisans who crafted these pieces with such skilful intricacy. That's a token of respect your kimonos, silk or viscose, richly deserve. 

Until next time, may your kimonos continue to symbolize resilient elegance, boundless culture, and timeless beauty.