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Although silk is often seen as extremely delicate and high maintenance, silk with a greater momme (pronounced 'moe-mee') is higher in density and weight, and therefore is more durable and has a longer lifespan. Most silk products on the market range between 19 - 22 momme, but all Sleepy Silk products are made from 25 momme silk, so that each piece is of the most superior quality and durability. This means that you can machine wash all Sleepy Silk products apart from our silk eye masks, and so long as you follow the below guidelines, you'll enjoy your silk bedding for years to come! Below are instructions for how to wash silk pillowcases, but they also apply to washing silk sheets, silk crib sleeves, silk duvet covers etc… as well.
Give Me a Hand
While our silk pillowcases are machine washable, we do recommend hand washing, at least for the first few cleans, to extend the life of the silk. Wash your silk pillowcase exclusively by hand or at the dry cleaners to give it some extra TLC…but machine washing is fine too if you just don’t have the time!
Always use a pH neutral detergent, or one that says it’s been designed for silk. It's not enough to use a gentle detergent, it needs to be pH neutral because most detergents are too acidic or alkaline for silk, which hardens and dulls the silk fibres. See our FAQs for a list of popular silk-specific detergent brands.
Do not bleach your silk pieces, and don't use fabric softener unless it has been specifically created for silk.
Keep Your Cool
Silk doesn’t like heat, so only use cold to lukewarm water (< 30°C / 86°F) when washing and rinsing.
Step 1: Solving Stains
Life gets messy…and you may find drool, hair products and makeup staining your beloved silk pillowcase. Fight the urge to reach for your regular stain remover, as anything that isn’t pH neutral will damage the silk. So how do you remove a stain from a silk pillowcase? Simply pre-treat it by dabbing some pH neutral detergent directly onto the stain, then gently rub the silk against itself – this will work in the detergent and apply some friction without wearing out the silk fibres. Allow the detergent to sit for 15 minutes before washing the pillowcase (preferably by hand) using the instructions below.
Step 2: Love Me Tender
When it comes to washing your silk pillowcase, do so gently and with care. Check the detergent bottle to see how much you should be using – less is more when it comes to silk, and a common mistake people make when washing silk pieces is using an excessive amount of detergent!
How to hand wash a silk pillowcase
Mix cool water and pH neutral detergent in a basin, then submerge your silk pillowcase and swirl it around for a couple of minutes, agitating the soapy water to make sure it penetrates into the fabric thoroughly. The stains that you pre-treated above should be gone, but you can deal with any other marks by using your fingers to gently rub the silk onto itself, reducing friction on the silk fibres. Rinse your silk pillowcase in cool water multiple times to ensure that all the detergent is gone, gently squeezing out the water between rinses.
How to machine wash a silk pillowcase
Before machine washing your silk pieces, make sure you've done up any buttons or zippers first, and that you pop it into a delicates wash bag. If you don’t have a delicates wash bag, you can use a cotton pillowcase as a laundry bag instead (or a cotton duvet cover if washing large sheets), just ensure that you tie it up the end with a rubber band so that nothing falls out.
Use the appropriate amount of pH neutral detergent, and wash your silk pieces on a cool, gentle cycle, using your machine’s lowest possible spin speed setting.
Step 3: Shine On
A question we get asked often, is “how do I restore my silk pillowcase’s shine?” - as over time and after washing, you may find that your silk pillowcase becomes dull and loses its brilliance. To restore some of the shine and softness that's been lost, you can give your silk pillowcase a mild white vinegar bath. White vinegar helps to remove any residual soap in the fibres, and also restores lustre and softness to silk. For instructions on giving your silk pieces a vinegar wash, see our article How to Restore Shine and Softness to Silk. Dry cleaning is another option, and one that brings back the silk’s shine so that it’s as good as new – see Special Treatment below.
Step 4: Drip Dry
Gently squeeze out any excess water (don't twist or wring!), then dry your silk pillowcase out of direct sunlight, either by hanging it up or laying it flat. Never place it on a wooden hanger or wooden surface that can possibly transfer color to the silk. To dry your silk pillowcase even faster, lay down a soft, thick towel on a flat surface, and place the pillowcase on top. Then, begin to roll the towel, gently pressing down as you do so. After the excess water has been pressed out into the towel, it will now be much faster to air dry or flat dry your pillowcase.
Never tumble dry your silk pillowcase, as this is too rough for silk to handle.
Step 5: Smooth Operator
To reduce wrinkles, dry your silk pillowcase by hanging it up rather than laying it flat – this will naturally smooth out most wrinkles while it dries. If your silk pillowcase is still a bit wrinkly after drying, you can iron it on the reverse side. Again though, silk doesn’t like high temperatures, so just make sure to use a cool, silk setting only.
You can give your silk pillowcase some extra love by getting it dry cleaned. This method delivers the best results of all, and restores the silk’s lustre so it’s as soft and shiny as it was on day 1! As it can be time consuming and expensive to get your silk pillowcase dry cleaned frequently, you may want to wash it yourself, but then take it to the dry cleaners just once or twice a year to revive the silk fibres. When dropping off your pillowcase at the dry cleaners, make sure you show them the care label inside the pillowcase, so that they’re aware it is made from pure silk and not synthetic satin.
Sleep Well with Sleepy Silk
Now that you know the best way to wash a silk pillowcase, get ready for your most luxurious sleep ever! Designed specifically with amazing sleep in mind, Sleepy Silk pillowcases and sheets are all made from superior grade 6A and 25 momme 100% Mulberry silk and have been tested and certified under OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 under Product Class 1. Shop our entire range of sumptuous silk bedding now, and say hello to better skin, hair and sleep!