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How to wash silk pillowcases

Feeling a little unsure of how to wash silk pillowcases?

Fret no more as our guide will tell you everything you need to know.

With a little care, you’ll be able to preserve the unique benefits of your silk pillowcases and maintain their lustre, softness and colour for longer.

Even though silk is no longer rare, it’s still something that should be prized. Its beauty in the world of fabrics is without parallel.

Silk also has an incredible story to tell. It’s the result of the hard work of industrious silkworms that toil furiously to create one continuous thread. Their lives are cut short to create silk that can be spun into yarn or fabric

Respect that and care for your silk so that it gives you the longest life and most enjoyment.

Where does silk come from?

Silk is a precious fabric. It’s woven from filaments from the cocoons of domesticated silkworms, mainly from the Bombyx mori species. The silkworms are typically bred commercially in controlled conditions.

A silkworm will feast for about 30 days on mulberry leaves before constructing a cocoon around itself made of silk fibres. The silkworm transforms into a pupa and then a silkworm moth, which emerges from a tiny spit-covered opening at the bottom of the cocoon.

After the cocoon has been spun, it usually takes 10-14 days for the silkworm to emerge as an adult moth. However it’s life as a moth is brief — only 5-10 days.

When silk is made, however, the life of the pupa is cut short. To preserve the quality and length of the silk thread, the pupa is killed. About 3000 silkworms die to make about 450g of silk. Given the pupa has been robbed of its ability to become a moth, silk should be treated as a precious fabric.

What’s special about silk?

Silk is amazing to sleep on and adds a touch of class to any decor.

It’s valued not only for its gorgeous look and feel, but also for its many beneficial properties for hair and skin. You can read all about these benefits in our blog article Benefits of a Silk Pillowcase.

Silk feels unbelievably soft against the skin because silk is woven from filaments that are incredibly fine and smooth. These filaments can be woven into beautiful fabrics that are impossibly sheer and luxurious — such as chiffon, georgette and organza — as well as more tighter and heavier weaves that are more durable and suitable for pillowcases, duvet covers and sheets.

The most common fabric weaves bedding are silk satin and silk charmeuse. These create a fabric that not only looks and feels amazing, but will also wear well you buy the right quality.

Silk satin and silk charmeuse are very similar and both have a shimmery front face and flat back face, silk charmeuse is considered to be the queen of silks with its almost pearlescent shine. Even though these types of silk are better wearing, you do need to remove any jewellery you may be wearing at night to prevent it damaging the fabric. After all, you don’t want pulls and tears.

Learning how to wash silk pillowcases will mean they’ll last longer and look better too.

Is silk washable?

The answer is mostly yes, and here I tell you how to wash silk pillowcases.

You’ve probably noticed that silk often comes with instructions to dry clean only. But most silk can be washed at home, so long as you do it correctly. But watch out for patterned silk because the colours may bleed.

The expense of drying cleaning has put many people off wanting to buy silk.

It’s true that many labels on silk say “dry clean only”, but this is simply brand preference. Care labels on garments are only required to state one method of washing and the brand may simply choose to specify dry cleaning because it limits complaints from customers when they don’t follow directions correctly and ruin that silk dress.

But dry cleaning can be damaging to silk. Silk is a lightweight fabric and it really doesn’t enjoy being tossed and turned with heavier items in large commercial washing and drying drums. And the harsh chemicals fade its colour and wear its s fibres.

This is why it’s better to hand wash silk using a liquid detergent specific for silks or a wool wash.

Of course, this isn’t practical when it comes to sheets, so a cool gentle wash with low spin in a front loader is the next best thing.

best-silk-pillowcase-for-hair-and-skin

How to wash silk pillowcases

Many people don’t know how to wash silk pillowcases and feel cautious about doing it. They think silk is delicate and high maintenance, yet silk fibres are strong and durable when cared for correctly.

If you buy quality silk at the right momme, it should wear well. Skimping on your initial purchase will end up costing you more rather than saving you money.

Silk is more expensive than many other fabrics, but that’s the case with any luxurious product! When considering that it serves you for about eight hours a night for 365 days of the year, you’re getting your money’s worth. If you look after your silk pillowcases correctly, you should get as much life as a regular cotton one.

Here are my top 10 tips on how to wash silk pillowcases. This will extend their life, ensure you enjoy them longer and save you money.

Before washing your silk pillowcases, check the manufacturer’s instructions. You want to ensure they’re washable and colour fast. Silk takes dye very well and allows for vibrant colours, but it can fade and printed silks are prone to bleeding.

If you’re not sure, you can wet a small area of the corner and then dab gently with a cotton swab or cotton bud. If there is significant colour transfer, then you’ll need to take them to the dry cleaner.

Next time, ensure you buy silk pillowcases that are colourfast and washable. This will make them easier to care for and less expensive to maintain.

10 tips on how to wash silk pillowcases

  1. Do not soak or bleach your silk pillowcases.
  2. If you have any marks that need removing, spray with a colourfast stain remover and allow it to penetrate for several minutes before washing. Gently dab if you need to, but don’t rub or be aggressive.
  3. Turn your silk pillowcases inside out and wash by hand. Alternatively you can put them in a soft laundry bag and put it on a gentle cycle in a front-load washing machine. Avoid using a top-load washing machine as it will pull and tug at the silk fibres and eventually separate them, excessively wearing the fabric.
  4. Use a mild liquid detergent suitable for hand washing, such as a wool wash, rather than a washing powder.
  5. Select a cool water temperature of not more than 30° C.
  6. Wash only with other delicates, not heavy clothing, towels or bedding.
  7. Do not use fabric softener.
  8. Roll up the silk pillowcases in an old towel to remove moisture or use a low spin cycle on your washing machine. Avoid wringing or twisting.
  9. Smooth and dry on a line or drying rack, indoors or outdoors, away from direct sunlight. Avoid using a dryer.
  10. Iron your silk pillowcases on a silk setting on the inside of the fabric or use an ironing cloth.

How to store silk pillowcases

In addition to knowing how to wash silk pillowcases, you also need to know how to store them.

Silk should be kept in a cool, dark and dry place with adequate air circulation. Being a natural fibre, silk needs to breathe. If you tightly seal it or store it in plastic bags, you will trap moisture and this may lead to yellowing, discolourations and staining.

Never store silk without cleaning it first. Dirt marks, stains, perspiration and skin oils on silk will likely worsen and become permanent and deteriorate the fabric, if you don’t treat them first. Perspiration, for example, can be removed easily if you attend to it quickly but, if you leave it, it will darken and become permanent.

A final word

Silk pillowcases are a wonderful little luxury that we can all enjoy. But being more accessible shouldn’t mean silk gets treated as something disposable.

Silk is a beautiful indulgence that needs to be respected and valued. Do this and it will reward you with a long life.

To find out how to shop for the best silk pillowcase, head to our blog article Best Silk Pillowcase for You.

Now that you know how to wash silk pillowcases, you’ll be able to get the most out of them and enjoy the many benefits of this remarkable fabric.

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Yours truly in better skin

Anna Marie - Founder of Skin Clinica - The Skin Experts


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