Here’s How To Wash And Dry Silk Pillowcase: Pros Explain

Silk is a natural fibre that is produced by silkworms that feed on mulberry leaves. Silk fabrics are strong, absorbent, hypoallergenic and don’t wrinkle easily. They are rather absorbent material and can be woven to a smooth finish. All these reasons make silk the best bedding material.

folded silk pillow covers

But how can you clean your silk pillowcases? Is there a risk of ruining it? Unfortunately, silk might be a strong material; however,  it’s a rather delicate fabric that needs special care during washing and drying. And we are here to help you. We will reveal to you all the pros’ secrets and tell you how to wash and dry silk pillowcase. Are you ready to find out? So, let’s start.

How to wash a silk pillowcase

Washing your silk pillowcases isn’t rocket science. You just need to be careful of some things, as silk is a very delicate fabric. Think of your duvets. You can either machine wash them or not. The same applies to silk pillowcases. You can hand wash it or clean it in the washing machine. Here are the tips and tricks to wash silk pillowcases in both ways. Keep in mind that you can apply the below methods to all your silk beddings, like silk sheets, silk duvet covers and any other silk items.

Washing by hand

Hand washing is the traditional method of cleaning all fabrics and items. And probably the safest one. You can safely get the mud out of clothes, wash your baby’s clothes or your duvets. Here’s what you need to hand wash silk pillowcases.

Materials you need:

  • A bucket
  • Lukewarm water
  • ½ tsp laundry detergent
  • 3.4l cool water
  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • A few drops of fabric softener
  • 2 dry towels

Steps to follow:

  1. Before washing your pillowcases, read the care label first to ensure that specific silk fabric is washable and check how to wash it.
  2. If you can wash it, check for any stains. If there are any, remove them and treat them with special silk products. Stain removers can be used on silk fibres; hence, make sure you get an appropriate one.
  3. Once you have treated stains, you can start washing them. Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add ½ tsp of laundry detergent.
  4. Soak your pillowcases in soapy water for 5 minutes. You can swirl the item gently but don’t scrub it as you may damage the delicate fibres.
  5. When the 5 minutes have passed, drain the water, refill the bucket with cool water, white vinegar, and fabric softener, and let it soak for a minute.
  6. Next, drain the mixture again and rinse your pillowcase with clean cold water. Just be sure once you rinse one side of the pillowcase to turn it inside out and rinse the other side as well.
  7. Lay a dry towel on a level surface and lay the wet pillowcase on top of it. Don’t wring it as this will wrap its shape.
  8. Now, start rolling up the towel and the pillowcase until you form a cylinder and press the rolled items gently so that the towel absorbs excess water.
  9. Finally, lay a new dry towel, unroll the pillowcase and lay it onto it. Leave it there for 1-2 days to dry.

Using a washing machine

A washer is an easy way to clean all your garments and beddings, including your silk pillowcases. You don’t need to do much; just pay attention to the water temperature and the cycle you will use. Here’s how you can machine wash a silk pillowcase.

close up of two pillows in silk pillowcases

Needed materials:

  • A mesh laundry bag
  • A gentle detergent

Steps to follow:

  1. The first step is to check the washing instructions before tossing your silk bedding in the washing machine. If your item is machine washable or needs only dry cleaning, the label will tell you.
  2. Set your machine to a delicate cycle using cold temperature. Don’t use hot water. The maximum temperature you can clean silk is 30 °C. Otherwise, silk will shrink. Plus, choose the gentle cycle to prevent any damages.
  3. Put the pillowcase into a wash bag and then toss it into the machine. You need a laundry bag to protect your pillowcase from damages caused by the machine drum or other items like zippers or buttons.
  4. Add the detergent and set the machine. You need a gentle, non-alkaline detergent for silk fabrics. If your case is coloured, avoid bleach.
  5. Once the cycle is over, remove the pillowcase from the bag, lay it on a clean, dry towel, and let it dry for a couple of days.

How to dry silk pillowcases

Once you know how to clean your pure silk items safely, it’s probably the best time to talk about the right drying way. We’ve already mentioned one way; rolling with dry towels. However, it’s very time-consuming. But is there another way? Hopefully, there are more, yet you have to know some tips as well. And we don’t mean a trip to the dry cleaner. You can simply hang your pillowcases to air dry on a drying rack or a line (rotary washing lines as well).

Here are some tips on drying your silk pillowcases:

  1. Hang them away from direct sunlight, as the sun can cause silk yellowing.
  2. If possible, avoid clothes pins. Instead, use a soft grip style pin to prevent your silks from marking.
  3. Don’t use wooden drying racks. They can stain or dye onto silk. 
  4. Don’t put silk in a tumble dryer.

Caring for silk

Just washing and drying your silk pillowcases the right way isn’t enough. You have to do a couple of other things to ensure you keep them in good shape.

a woman stroking a pillow with a black silk pillowcase

  1. Always wash silk pillowcases with warm or cold water as hot temperatures might damage the fibres. 
  2. Treat any stains with special stain removers designed for silk before washing.
  3. Never wring silk because you will damage the fibres. To remove excess water, roll the wet pillowcase in a dry towel.
  4. If your pillowcase is over wrinkled, you can iron it on the lowest temperature setting. While ironing, use a pressing cloth or a clean, white cloth and turn them inside out.
  5. You can use a cloth steamer to deal with any creases formed while drying. Just be sure you use a steamer suitable for silk and avoid hot temperatures. Choose the low setting.
  6. When it comes to storing your silk pillowcases, choose breathable plastic bags and store them away from direct sunlight. If you grow lavender, you can dry it, make lavender bags, and use it as moth repellents.

How often should you wash a silk pillowcase?

How often do you change your sheets? The same applies to silk pillowcases. You should change them once a week to keep bacteria away from your bed, skin and hair. That’s a rule of thumb. However, like all rules, this one has its exception as well. For example, if you have a pet sleeping with you, then we suggest changing them every 3 to 4 days. Or, if you sleep naked in your bed or have a partner, you should wash them more often

When it’s the best time to replace your silk pillowcases?

If you properly take care of your silk pillowcases, they will last for a long time. You can even expand their lifetime by using cleaning products suitable for delicate materials. Nonetheless, if you notice any rips and other damages on the fabric, then you should replace them.

silk pillowcases in blue and pink

Knowing how to wash and dry properly, your silk pillowcases can maintain them in good shape and prolong their lifetime. You can either hand wash them or clean them in your washing machine using a gentle detergent and warm or cold water. As for drying, the most important thing to remember is that you should avoid sunlight and any other heating resources and avoid hot water. Keep all these tips in mind and get your beauty sleep for a long, long time.

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