The Safest Way to Clean a Silk Scarf

Welcome to the 437th Metamorphosis Monday!

Happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a great start! For this week’s Met Monday, I thought I give an update on whatever happened to the Hermes scarf I bought on eBay, the one that arrived sporting an ugly, oily looking stain in one corner.

In a previous post I shared this photo. (See that post here:ย Washing an Hermes Scarf and Madame Paulette.)ย This was the photo the seller had posted in his listing on eBay. The stain wasn’t really visible in the photo, just looked like another wrinkle in the fabric. The seller must have missed the stain because there was no mention of it in the listing.

Photo from eBay listing


I didn’t notice it when it first arrived, but a few months later when I took it out again to wear it, that’s when I spotted the stain. Looking back at all the seller’s photos, I could see the spot had been there all along. It was too late to return it and I really wanted to keep the scarf anyway. So the challenge was how to clean it without ruining the scarf and without dulling down the colors. Unfortunately, that had happened in the past to other silk and silk-like garments when I had them dry cleaned at my local cleaners.


I had read great things about The Laundress Delicate Wash (read more about this product in THIS previous post) and was considering hand-washing the scarf. I’ve had great luck using their wool shampoo for wool sweaters in the past. I was all set to wash the scarf myself, but at the last moment I decided to try a dry cleaners I had read about in New York called, Madame Paulette. (View their website here: Madame Paulette.)


From what I’ve read, Madame Paulette is THE place to send those special items you worry about having cleaned. They even hand-wash items when needed. They also do a lot of restoration work on vintage/antique clothing. From the pictures at their website, they appear to be miracle workers!

I was worried the cost would be really high to have the scarf cleaned by Madame Paulette, but it wasn’t near as much as I had feared. The price I was quoted was $30, and that included the cost of shipping it back.

Before shipping it to Madame Paulette, I asked two questions: 1. Would the process dull the colors in the scarf, something I had experienced with my local cleaners in the past when having silk fabrics cleaned, AND 2. Did they know to not press the hems on a Hermes scarf. I was pretty sure they knew this, but figured it was better to ask then to just assume.

I was told that cleaning it would not dull the colors and they confirmed they knew to not press down the hem. I asked if they would please give my scarf to someone who was very experienced. The Madame Paulette representative said the person who would be cleaning it had worked with Madame Paulette for 25+ years and was very good. Feeling much better about the process, I decided to let Madame Paulette take care of cleaning the scarf for me.

So, how did it come out?


The stain is completely gone and as far as I can tell, the colors are still vibrant and not dulled down.


I don’t think the process dulled down the scarf, but it’s really hard to say since I obviously can’t compare it to its previous self, prior to cleaning, but I think it looks fine. Please don’t compare this photo to the seller’s photo at the start of this post, because that photo really doesn’t depict the color of the scarf.

I feel completely comfortable recommending Madame Paulette for dry cleaning special garments or clothing that you feel uncomfortable taking to your regular dry cleaners. If it’s a special piece, it’s jut not worth the gamble.

I’m so glad I purchased this scarf because even with the cost of having it cleaned, it was still a very good deal. It reminds me so much of the beauty I saw during my trip to Kenya almost two years ago. (See posts I’ve shared about that trip here: Africa.)

I love this scarf so much, I was thinking of having it framed. It would be kinda cool if I could put it in a frame that would mount in such a way, I could turn the scarf to view it from all four sides. Have you ever seen a frame like that, one that would allow you to turn a picture while it was hanging on the wall?

But then again, it would be wonderful to wear it. Wearing a Hermes scarf is like wearing a piece of art. At least I know it can be safely cleaned if needed. Thankful for Madame Paulette!


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Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters linked for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. This is really great info you’re passing along Susan, thanks, and your scarf looks terrific. I bet Madame Paulette gets a lot of big name work, including museum curated articles. The website looks extremely professional. Glad it turned out so well.
    Thanks for hosting us in Met Monday. Always a pleasure to be here.

    • I think they do, too…from what I’ve read on their website. My scarf was a tiny thing in the grand scheme of what they do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I have a vintage bedspread well I would call it a cover that is silky but I don’t know that it is silk. It has a large stain and I don’t know how to proceed on cleaning it. I found it at a consignment store and it’s beautiful. I read somewhere about using vinegar? I know you are so relieved to get your scarf back looking great.

    • I’m not sure if vinegar would be a good idea or not. If it’s a really special piece or something you would be upset if it was ruined, I would probably take it to professional to clean. I’m sure Madame Paulette could handle it. You may want to contact them and just asked what that type process would cost. It may not be that expensive. My scarf was much less than I expected. Best of luck with your bedspread, Jan. Let me know what you end up doing.

  3. So interesting that you sent your scarf to this dry cleaners. The owner is the boyfriend of Dorinda on RHONY. He’s been on the show several times. When I started reading this I said to myself “I know this guy!”

  4. It is so good to know about Madame Paulette…your Hermes scarf is stunning and the colors are brilliant. I would have a hard choice between wearing and framing, but I think I would choose to wear it! Thanks for hosting and have a great week, Susan!

  5. You amaze me Susan! First of all I would never have noticed the stain, but once I knew it was there it would drive me crazy…your attention to detailed research on everything you do is so admirable! Thanks for the info and the party

  6. First thanks again for hosting each week. Your scarf looks brand new! Good info ypu shared, thanks!!!

  7. I adore this scarf! really. really.

    • Thanks, Sheila! I would love to see a demonstration sometime in person showing how Hermes scarves are made. I’ve seen videos online and would be fascinated to see it in person.

  8. Been waiting for this update. Always liked success stories.
    Wear it in good health.

  9. Katherine G says

    That’s a great success story! It’s great to know of people who do things well. Another option to display the scarf: Have the tray maker, who did your Hermes tray, make a tray that will hold it. Then have glass fitted in, that can be removed if you want to wear it. You can use the tray on top of a large ottoman or coffee table, or even hang it. I have also had items double glassed (front and back) and then framed when I wanted both views available.

  10. I am not sure about the actual framing, but you could definitely mount it for viewing both sides; they do it for maps and they used to do it for chalkboards in schools.

    Of course I don’t know what the name of the technique/style/set-up is,but here is an example. (Not my blog, but I’m sure she won’t mind!)

    • Thanks, Tammy! I don’t really want go see the back side of the scarf, I just want it to rotate around in a circle so it can seen from all four sides since the scenes on the scarf face out to each side. Kinda hard to explain. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Oh I see what you mean; I wonder of you could attach a Lazy Susan type thing to the wall, then attach a frame to that?

        You have to be sure to keep it out of sunlight as well.

        • Yeah, I was thinking of something like that. I searched to see if anyone made a product for mounting a framed scarf so it could turn, but didn’t see anything. I’ll probably just wear it and enjoy it that way.

  11. Lorna Boustead says

    I am on Yahoo and don’t have any problems receiving your emails, (Canada). Re framing your scarf, being a natural fibre (silk) you may not want to have it contained by glass so it can breath. If you put a spacer between to hold the glass off you will need to attach the scarf to the back board? How can this be done without damaging the scarf and to make it removable for wearing? Maybe you could check with a conservator that works with fabrics for some suggestions. If framed you also need to keep it out of the sun as it ‘eats’ silk. Don’t want to sound negative, just some suggestions to help you enjoy your beautiful scarf.

    • Thanks, Lorna for that info! Yikes…may not be worth it. I may just enjoy wearing it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • re. Lorna’s suggestions. She is correct about the spacer, sunlight, attachments. The surface of the scarf can be crushed without a spacer in the frame rabbet, you must use UV glass (Tru-Vue makes one), the edges have to be treated with care when attached to acid-free fabric on top of acid free board. I saw a scarf framed perfectly, absolutely the best framing job I have ever seen, but silk pins were used for attachment and that might not be the best thing; silk under tension with pins along the edge to hold it in place will make little holes. Framing any fine textile is a job for real experts and it’s costly. I sort of cringe when I see a carrรฉ framed because I know, as a museum person, that at least half the time it wasn’t done properly. Having said that, I wear all of mine, and I wash them myself since I learned how to do it.

  12. JoAnne Eteve says

    Why don’t you press hem of a Hermes scarf? Does one press silk scarves hems?

  13. I get your blog on Yahoo and so far no problems.

  14. Thank you for hosting Susan!

  15. Thanks so much for the party!!

  16. Juanita in OH says

    Wow, that was a hair-raising event. I had so much concern for you and I knew how I would feel…the very same way. Too much trepidation! I am very happy for you, Susan. I know that what ever you do with it will be wonderful, keep us posted about what you decide. TFS

  17. Irebe Zak says

    So happy to hear that your scarf was cleaned perfectly and not damaged in any way. I was anxiously awaiting this post. I was wondering which cleaning method you would choose. You picked the method I would have. It would have been too nerve wrecking to try to clean it by myself.
    Thank you for updating us.

    • Thanks, Irebe! I kinda wanted to try washing it but was not looking forward to trying to press it afterwards…especially worrying about the hems. So this was definitely the less stressful route to go. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can definitely recommend Madame Paulette for cleaning those special garments we are nervous about washing.

  18. Sarah Pierce says

    I have to say that I found this interesting because not only am I fan of BNOP but also RHNY. Thus, I was not surprised when you mentioned Madame Paulette’s as the owner, John, dates Dirinda one of the housewives. He is also know as “the Sultan of Stains.” So just thought I’d share a little reality TV trivia with you:) I love your blog and follow you on Instagram too.

  19. That is good info to hang onto. I hope you will wear your scarf for the happy memories it brings of your trip. A very good conversation piece. I wonder if there is a way to hang it, sort of like a towel or scarf ring, where you can see it too…or would folding it cause problems with the fabric?

  20. How great that you are able to have this scarf restored back to it beauty with the help of Madame Paulette! Thanks for hosting an have a wonderful week!

  21. I took Hermes scarf to Ideal cleaners in Covington, TN where they totally ruined it by submerging it in a solution instead of testing a small part for color fastness. They never apologized and still charged me. I know from experience how important it is to trust your luxury items to a cleaners with experience. Until you own an Hermes scarf you can’t really feel the loss like this. Thanks for making this available to your readers.

    • Sue, I’m so sorry that happened. I had a shirt that I washed recently and the polka dots on it bled. I washed it again with one of the Shout color catchers and it actually fixed it. I was shocked that a color catcher could do that! I figured it was a total loss.
      One of the things Madame Paulette does is restoration. You may want to give them a call tomorrow and explain what happened and ask if they have any ideas or if they think they could help.

  22. Iโ€™ve been looking for a process to do the very same thing! Have you found frames yet that display your scarves? Iโ€™d be curious to know!

    • No, not yet. I think I may keep this one to wear, but I have another one that I bought specifically to frame and hang on the wall. I need to work on that soon, would love to go ahead and get that done. Thanks, Jill!

  23. heather christenson says

    hi Susan – so glad your scarf came out perfect. On the same wave length, could you recommend where to send a Burberry scarf for repair. I have a small hole where a zipper caught and a fray on the fringe. My husband brought it back from London for me when I couldn’t accompany him.

    thank you and happy 4th of July on Sunday!

    • The only place I know that may be able to help with that would be Madame Paulette, the place I sent my scarf to for cleaning. I know they do restoration work, or at least they used to…hopefully they still do. So if anyone can help, I bet they can. Maybe you can take a photo of it to share with them via email. Here’s their website:
      You’ll see their contact info up in the right-hand corner of the website. I would just call them and explain the situation and see if they think it’s something they can help with. Hope they can do something to help, Heather!
      Happy 4th to you, too!

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