How to Clean Stains on Ties

Plus Ironing, Storing, and Using a Washing Machine

Blue striped necktie laying on white marbled surface next to glass container of baking soda and box of rolled neckties

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-5

A tie is a stain magnet and knowing the right way to wash a tie after an inevitable dip into gravy, water, or coffee can keep it in pristine shape for years. If you have a messy tie, but don't know how to clean it, learn here about washing and drying different types of ties and how often they need to be cleaned.

Some ties are pretreated with a stain-blocking finish, however, that finish won't stop every stain. When a drip happens, do not rub it with a napkin or you will push the stain deeper into the fabric. Instead, follow the process described below as soon as possible to clean stained ties.

How Often to Clean Ties

You do not need to wash ties often or after every wearing. It's best to clean a tie when you see that it's dirty, stained, or needs to be refreshed. Cleaning a tie too often can damage the shell, lining, and overall shape of the tie.

Washing Different Tie Fabrics

Even if a tie is made from a blend of fibers or made of 100 percent cotton, polyster, silk, or wool, it is considered a delicate item. You can hand-wash ties at home. Or, you can try to dry clean ties at home with a dry-cleaning kit if you prefer. Learn below the overall recommendations of how to clean ties of all types:

  • Cotton: Hand-wash in cold water
  • Embroidered: Hand-wash in cold water
  • Knit: Hand-wash in cold water
  • Leather/faux leather: Wipe down only
  • Linen: Hand-wash in cold water
  • Microfiber: Hand-wash in warm water
  • Polyester: Hand-wash in warm or cold water
  • Silk: Dry-clean only
  • Wool: Dry-clean only


Always look at the care label on the back of the tie to determine how it should be cleaned. Cleaning a tie in a washing machine can ruin it. Tossing a tie in the dryer can cause shrinkage to the shell or lining, as well. If hand-washing, air-dry a tie thoroughly before storing or wearing.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Clothes iron


  • Talcum powder or baking soda
  • Woolite or other appropriate gentle cleaner/detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Home dry-cleaning kit (if needed)


Materials and tools to clean, iron and store neckties

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

How to Clean Ties

  1. Remove Solids

    To immediately remove any excess food, use the edge of a dull knife or spoon or even a credit card. Then, dip a clean white napkin into plain water and dab away the stain.​

    Wet napkin pressing against necktie to remove solids next to spoon and glass bowl of water

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  2. Absorb Liquids and Oils

    If the stain is greasy, use talcum powder, foot powder, or baking soda to absorb the excess oil. You can even use a slice of white bread to absorb the oil. This step will make additional cleaning easier by absorbing the excess grease as quickly as possible.

    For liquid spills, blot with a plain white paper towel or napkin. Colored napkins can leave dye stains. As soon as you can, follow the removal instructions for specific stains for the best cleaning results.

    Baking soda poured by spoon on sticky solid on blue striped necktie

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  3. Hand-Wash the Tie

    If your tie is labeled as washable and needs a general cleaning, be sure to hand-wash it. Try to never put a tie in the washer. The agitation is too strong and the stitching and interfacings may be damaged. Pretreat the stains as directed and then use a gentle soap such as Woolite to hand-wash the tie.

    If your tie is made from silk fabric, the preferred cleaning method is dry cleaning to preserve the gloss and the smooth finish of silk. Ask the dry cleaner to hand-press the tie because mechanical pressing methods are too severe to maintain the rounded edges of the tie. If silk fibers are pressed too hard, they will break and cannot be repaired.

    If you choose to hand-wash or use a home dry cleaning kit for your silk tie and stains are present, carefully use a pre-treater on the stain before cleaning.

    If you hand-wash the tie, air-dry it completely.

    Blue striped necktie hand washed in white bowl with water and pretreater

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  4. Iron the Tie

    No one looks good in a wrinkled or creased tie, but that may be better than a big scorch mark. With just a couple of tips, ironing can freshen the look of a tie and give it a professional look.

    Tie fabrics must be ironed using the correct temperatures. Check the tag on your tie to determine the fabric content. Silk and polyester ties need a cool iron, wool ties require a medium-hot setting, and cotton and linen ties can stand up to a hot iron.

    Begin on the wrong side of the tie, pressing lightly. When you iron the front of the tie, use a thin cotton cloth between the tie and the iron. This pressing cloth will prevent scorch marks and shiny streaks. Never iron a tie that has stains because the heat may permanently set the stain.

    Working on the wrong side from the bottom of the tie to the top, iron small areas from the edges inward to avoid creases. Never let the iron rest too long in one spot. Lift the pressing cloth often to check your progress. If the tie shows any color changes, lower the iron's temperature. Next, turn over the tie and press the front side still using the pressing cloth. When you're finished, hang the tie over a padded hanger to cool and dry before storing or wearing.


    If your tie is wrinkled and you don’t have an iron, hang the tie in a bathroom filled with steam. The steam will soften the fibers. Once the tie is slightly damp, place it under several books or a laptop to flatten out the wrinkles.

    Blue necktie being ironed with teal colored steam iron with pressing cloth in between

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  5. Store Your Ties

    Ties don't take up a great deal of space and you'll get many more years of wear if you store them properly and let them rest between wearings.

    • Ties can be hung with the suit they accessorize to make them easy to find each time you wear the suit. Hang the tie over the trousers so it is not touching the hanger.
    • Knitted or crocheted ties should be stored flat.
    • Woven fabric ties can be rolled loosely around your hand and stored in a drawer or a shallow covered storage box.
    • Keep your valuable neckties out of sunlight. It will damage the color and weaken the fabric.
    • When packing for a trip, fold the tie into fourths and slip it inside the pocket of the suit jacket. Or, roll the tie and use a small box tucked in the corner of your luggage to prevent wrinkling. When you arrive at your destination, hang the tie on the bathroom door before you take your shower. The steam will freshen the tie and relax any wrinkles that may have formed.
    Neckties rolled and stored in white drawer

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Tips to Keep Ties Clean Longer

To help your ties last longer, use these tips:

  • Do not tie knots too tightly.
  • Always untie the tie after it has been worn.
  • Treat stains promptly.
  • Never iron a tie that has a stain and be sure to choose the correct ironing temperature.
  • Allow a tie to rest for three days between wearings to prevent it from stretching.