Silk Pillowcases and Sheets: How to Care for Them 

Silk bedding should be washed correctly to keep it soft for many years. Everything you need to know about cleaning silk pillowcases and linens at home is here. 

Silk is a standard fiber made of protein (similar to hair), making it much easier to wash than you might think. 

Silk is made from silkworm cocoons that have been boiled in hot water until they have unraveled. 

Silk does ideal bedding for allergy and asthma sufferers because it is hypoallergenic and repellent to moths and dust mites. 

Silk is also suitable for people who have sensitive skin, dry skin, or eczema because it eases wick moisture away from the body, keeping you cool all night. 

When it comes to laundry day, however, the luxurious feel of silk can make it intimidating to wash. If your bedding is made entirely of silk, you can wash it at home, either by hand or by machine. 

To keep your silk bedding looking (and performing) its best, we’ll show you how to treat stains and dry them. 

Is It Possible to Wash Silk? 

Silk needs to be washed regularly to stay fresh and free of germs like any other material that can harbor bacteria, sweat, and dirt. Even if your garment’s care label says “dry clean” or “do not wash,” you can usually wash 100 percent silk items at home. To maintain your silk pillowcases looking their best, however, you’ll want to take a few precautions. 

Although silk can be washed, some of the dyes used to color it are not. Silk can lose its satin finish when washed, leaving a pebbled texture behind. To get rid of stains, don’t use baby soap or shampoo. Soap is produced from lye and plant fats, which can harm your silk, leave residue, or take away one of the silk’s best qualities: its sheen. 

Always conduct a water test and a color bleeding test before washing silk to avoid permanent damage. The essential first step in washing silk is to choose a suitable laundry detergent. Delicate Wash or Gentle Silk Wash are two detergents explicitly designed for silk. Never use chlorine bleach on silk fibers because it can harm or even dissolve them. 

Silk Sheets and Pillowcases: How to Care for Them 

Although silk can be hand washed or machine-washed, handwashing is the safest method.

How to Hand-Wash Silk 

What You’ll Need:

A sink or washtub/basin, your choice of silk detergent, a drying rack, and iron or steamer 

Step 1: Pre-treat odors and mix the soap solution. 

If your silk pillowcases and sheets have an odor, soak them in lukewarm water with 1/4 cup of white vinegar before washing them. Cool water should be added to a clean washtub or sink. Read the label to determine the proper amount of detergent to use. 

Step 2: Wash the pillowcases. 

Submerge your pillowcases in water with the insides facing out. If you’re washing multiple pieces of bedding, make sure they’re all the same color. Lightly agitate the water and soap with the silk with your hands. When silk fibers are wet, they become weak and should not be rubbed excessively. Allow no more than 30 minutes for the silk to soak. 

Step 3: Rinse and dry. 

Rinse your item with cool water until all soap has been removed. Push the water out of your items gently. Do not wring your hands. 

Lay your silk pieces flat on a surface or air them out on a drying rack. Hangers with metal clips should be avoided because they can damage the fabric. Hangers that are padded or flocked work best. Silk will wrinkle after being laundered. To prevent wrinkles, follow the instructions below for drying and storing silk. 

How to Machine Wash Silk 

You’ll need the following items: 

Delicate detergent

Mesh laundry bag

Rack for drying

Hand or steam iron 

Step 1: Select the machine’s temperature and setting.

Check your washer for a silk cycle option. If your machine doesn’t have one, use the delicate cycle, which is the machine’s version of handwashing. Silk is more likely to tear (and wrinkle) on fast spin cycles, so light processes are best. Because it works low or no spin and is the shortest cycle, this is the safest way to wash silk by machine. Make sure the water is cool and the spin is set to a low speed. 

Step 2: Put everything in a laundry bag and wash it. 

Do not clean silk with cotton clothing or towels in the same load as the rest of your laundry. Also, only wash with like colors. To avoid tearing, place smaller items in mesh laundry bags when washing silk pillowcases. 

Step 3: Take out of the washer and hang them to dry. 

Once the cycle is complete, remove your silk pieces from the washer as soon as possible. Allow no more than 30 minutes for the silk to soak. Avoid using hangers with metal clips and instead, air out your silk pieces on a drying rack or lay them flat. Silk can wrinkle once it’s dry; we’ll show you how to remove wrinkles below. 

How to Remove a Stain from a Silk Pillowcase 

Spot-cleaning silk can result in more prominent stains that damage the fabric permanently. If you have a spot on your silk pillowcases or sheets, first use a stain solution made for silk fabric to treat the affected areas. Blot the stain with cold water and the stain remover with your finger or a brush. If you rub or pull at stains on silk, you risk damaging the delicate fabric. The item should then be washed using one of the methods listed above. 

Top Tip: Wash your pillows at least once every few months. Bacteria, dust, dirt, and sweat can accumulate on pillows over time. 

Drying and storing silk 

Silk pillowcases should never be put in the dryer, no matter how you wash them. Line drying silk in direct sunlight is also a no-no. In both cases, silk will become dull and shrink. 

Silk is a soft material that doesn’t necessitate iron, so handheld steamers are ideal for removing wrinkles. Put a pressing cloth between your silk item and the iron if you must iron it. 

To protect your silk garments from yellowing, dust, and pests, hang them on hangers or in hanging storage bags. These procedures are also applicable to silk clothing.

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