How to Wash Silk Pillowcases – Exact Steps

Silk pillowcases can be a great addition to your bed and your bedtime routine and has so many benefits! Ask any hair stylist or dermatologist and they’ll tell you that silk fabric has been known to help people reduce their wrinkles, help with damaged hair, and support natural beauty over the years.

Silk is an excellent product for people who are health conscious and want to protect their skin and hair! I personally bought my first silk pillowcase after suffering from terrible postpartum hair loss after my first child.

I wanted to do everything possible to have healthy hair so I splurged on a Slip silk pillowcase. And man, am I glad I did! It definitely helps keep my hair healthy and prevents deep face creases from sleeping.

I didn’t know the best way to care for mine, though, and it didn’t look and feel the same after throwing it in the laundry with the rest of my bedding. I wanted to make sure my next silk pillowcase stood the test of time so I learned everything there is to know about how to wash them properly!

As soft and luxurious as your silk pillowcases are, there are some ways to take care of your new bedtime luxury. If you recently purchased silk pillowcases or any silk garments, keep on reading! Today I’ll share two ways to wash your silk pillowcases and why you need to do this for your pillowcases from now on!

Why Does Silk Need Different Care Than Other Fabrics?

Silk is a natural fiber. It’s a luxury fabric and can be much more delicate than the cotton pillowcases that people use! It is essential to make sure you don’t damage your pillowcases or, worse, add to the eventual wearing down of the fabric at a much higher rate.

If you follow my ultimate guide and personal tips, you can avoid any unnecessary wear and tear early on.

Silk is also much more expensive than other fabrics like cotton or polyester. You don’t want to be replacing these beautiful pillowcases as frequently as your other linens!

Silk also tends to lose its strength when it’s wet, which is why you need to make sure that you take good care of your new addition to your bedroom.

General Care Instructions for Silk Pillowcases

How to Wash Silk Pillowcases

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It is essential to understand how to care for your pillowcases and what to do to make sure they are washed properly to extend the life of your pillowcase.

1. Wash your silk pillowcases in cold water

If you wash them in anything else, you risk hurting the fabric and potentially taking away the softness! The best way to wash your pure silk pillowcases is either by hand washing or machine wash, which I will go into greater detail on later.

2. Use pH-balanced detergent

If you can, try to find silk-specific detergent! Your silk needs to be adequately cared for, and your ordinary detergent is just not going to cut it. You’re going to need to seek out either silk-specific detergent or even pH-balanced mild detergent for your pillowcases.

3. Wash gently and air dry.

For many reasons, your silk needs the most delicate, proper care possible. Even if this means doing an additional load of laundry just for your silk pillowcases or washing them by hand, but you will thank yourself later when you have a fantastic silk pillowcase that continues to give you several health benefits over the years.

How to Wash Silk in the Washing Machine

How to Wash Silk Pillowcases in washing machine

Washing silk is possible in the washing machine, but you must be sure to follow the appropriate steps. Here are some tips to make sure that you wash your silk pillowcases effectively and correctly!

1. Check the Care Label

Your silk pillowcase should have a label that instructs how to care for your pillowcase. 

This is important, as not all silk pillowcases are created equal. For best results, follow these instructions or use the following as a guideline for caring for your silk items. Most often it says to not bring your silk item to the dry cleaners. Dry cleaning can often shrink your silk item.

2. Wash Silk Separately From Heavier Items

It is not a good idea to wash your silk with other items like jeans and heavy jackets. Your silk pillowcases will need their attention and, thus, their washing cycle. 

Make sure you only wash these items with delicate!

3. Optional: Use a Mesh Laundry Bag

Not everyone has access to this, but it would be a great addition to keep your silk items safe while washing them! The mesh bag will be able to protect your soft pillowcases from any damage or tears that could occur. It will help elongate the lifespan of your pillowcase.

I own and love these mesh bag from Amazon. They’re great for everything to bras to kid’s socks to sweaters!

mesh laundry bags

4. Don’t Overfill Your Washing Machine

This is standard for most washes, but especially with silk items, you want to make sure that you don’t overdo it. Ensure you don’t overload your washer and leave enough space for you to reach a hand in.

5. Add Silk or Delicate Detergent

Don’t forget to put in the detergent! Make sure you apply delicate or silk-friendly detergent. This might seem like more money spent, but it will save your delicate fabric from getting damaged.

It will also ensure you it doesn’t deteriorate so you can use your pillowcase for years and years!

*Check out this silk friendly detergent from Amazon that gets glowing reviews!

Also be sure to skip the fabric softener! Just like when you wash workout clothes, you shouldn’t use them for silk pillowcases or silk sheets. You can always add white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. That will help keep your pillowcase soft.

How to Wash Silk Pillowcases in washing machine

6.  Use the Delicate Cycle

Select the delicate wash or gentle cycle option, and then you will be able to protect your silk. Also, make sure to select the short wash option and wash with cold water. Cold water will protect your silk and keep its vibrancy throughout the wash!

7.  Soak Up Excess Water

Unlike your other garments, silk does not take kindly to excess water. It would help if you made sure to remove most of the water.

You can easily do this by taking the garment out of the wash and drying it with a towel. It might seem silly but this will also help reduce the dry time!This will help you get most of the water out before you end up drying it.

8. Hang to Dry

This is incredibly important: do not dry your silk pillowcase in direct sunlight! It might seem like it saves you loads of time, but this can contribute to significant issues. 

hang silk out to dry

You want to keep your garment either hanging up or lying flat in a dry place. Make sure to check on it and ensure that it is appropriately drying.

It’s recommended to not put your silk pillowcase in the drier. Silk and high temperatures aren’t a good combination! If you are in a hurry, you can put it in the dryer on the lowest heat setting but don’t make it a habit of drying it in the drier! This is why I always recommend having extra pillowcases on hand so you can properly care for you pillowcase! (I own and love Slip silk pillowcases.)

How to Hand Wash Your Silk Pillowcase

If you would like, there is also a way to hand wash your silk products. This will take more time and eliminate using your washer, but some people find this more efficient and gentler on the effects over time. Here are the steps to properly hand wash your silk pillowcase to keep its health and vibrancy!

1. Fill a Basin or Tub with Cool Water

Find any tub or container you would like to use and fill it with lukewarm water to cool water. Make sure it is not hot water! Then, once you have filled the container, put your garment inside and soak it.

2. Add a Couple Drops of Detergent

Unlike when you wash your other garments or even wash your silk in the washing machine, you want to make sure to use less detergent. Using too much detergent, even if it is a gentle detergent, can break down the silk fibers.

You can use your hand to stir in the mixture and ensure that your garment and the water have enough detergent evenly distributed.

3. Soak Your Pillowcase

Just like with the washing cycle, you want to leave your item in the mixture for at least three minutes. This helps it absorb the cleaner and begin to clean the fabric. 

How to Wash Silk Pillowcases hand washing

(These hand washing basins are very inexpensive and are so helpful with hand washing!)

Any longer, and it could contribute to some wear and tear on the pillowcase.

4. Agitate Your Pillowcase

Now, you must use your hands and begin to move your pillowcase up and down. This helps gently remove the dirt and any other unnecessary items you don’t want in your pillowcase next time you sleep.

hand washing silk

5. Rinse in Cold Water

Once your pillowcase is properly washed and cleaned off, you want to take the garment out and dispose of the dirty water. 

Then, you want to wash it with cold water to clear out all the soap and the water. This helps keep your pillowcase clean and ensures that you got all of the detergent out.

6.  Soak Up Excess Water

Just like with the washing machine, it is the same process. Do you best to get rid of all the excess moisture by taking the garment out of the wash, and drying it with a towel. This will help you get most of the water out before you end up drying it.

7. Dry by Hanging or Lying Down

As with the washing machine, you want to keep your garment either hanging or lying flat in a dry place. Make sure to check on it and ensure that it is appropriately drying.

How to Remove Stains from Silk

If you encounter stains in your silk pillowcase, don’t fret! There’s an easy way to get them out, and all you must do is spot treat the stains. 

Just use cool water and some detergent. 

Ensure to blot the stain before soaking, and then be gentle as you are rubbing out the stain.

How to Care for Silk After Washing

After you finish washing your silk pillowcase, there are some ways to maintain its health over time. Ensure that you take some time to iron out the creases and the wrinkles, but only using low heat or the silk setting. Only iron your silk pillowcase when it is dry!  

Ironing protects the natural sheen of your silk. You should do it every couple of washes.

You can put a cloth between the silk and the iron for best practices to ensure it doesn’t get damaged. It would also be wise to invest in some moth repellant when you store the silk to avoid having pests in your linens.

With all these tips in mind, you will have stunning silk pillowcases for a long time so you can get your beauty sleep night after night! If you have any suggestions or tricks, you would like to share in caring for silk pillowcases, comment below! We’d love to hear if you have other practices to help take care of your beloved pillowcases!

For more washing fun (hehe!) check out how to wash your converse shoes to keep them nice and white, how to wash tie dye or how to properly wash a down jacket!

About Jen

Jen is a mom of 3 who loves frozen cookie dough, plants and a generous pour of creamer in her coffee. Her biggest joy is helping others find joy in their life, style and home through tips, tutorials and encouragement. She also runs 2 additional blogs. Feel free to send Jen a message or join the fun on Instagram!

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How to Wash Silk Pillowcases
How to Wash Silk Pillowcases