Silk – whether a pillowcase or lingerie – does need slightly more specific care than other types of fabric. The silk weave produces a very soft, glossy fabric with minimal friction and maximum smoothness. The process, however, does create a slightly more delicate fabric. If you throw your silk pillowcase into the wash with your jeans and bath towels, you’re likely to ruin it regardless of whether it’s made from silk, nylon, or polyester.
The first step to caring for your silk pillowcase is to know what type of fibers were used to create it. If you bought your pillowcases as part of a satin sheet set, there’s a good chance it’s made from polyester, nylon, acetate – or one of those three blended with silk. In certain pillowcases, like those made from acetate or silk, you may find a tag which says dry clean only. You should follow those instructions.
For all other types of satin, these guidelines will help you keep it in the best condition possible to support your healthy, naturally beautiful hair. To care for your silk pillowcase:
1. Help It Survive Getting Washed
It’s a good idea to wash your pillowcase at least once each month to remove product buildup or oils which it may have collected. Washing satin may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not. Of course, if you’re working with a particularly expensive item or you don’t feel confident in your laundry skills, it’s always worth it to take it to a professional cleaner. To help satin survive the wash:
Turn it inside out. Many silk pillowcases come with an inner lining. When you turn it inside out, you use that lining to protect the actual satin part of the pillowcase. Don’t worry, it will still get clean.
Consider handwashing. Silk pillowcases made from polyester can certainly go into the laundry. However, if you have the time and the energy, you may want to consider handwashing an especially high-end or luxurious silk pillowcase. Use a gentle detergent, cool water, and a kneading movement to free up dirt or product from the fibers.
Put it in with like fabrics. Wash your silk pillowcase when you do your most delicate articles. After water temperature, the greatest opportunity for damage comes from being churned about with abrasive or heavy fabrics.
Consider a laundry bag. Many people will use a mesh laundry bag for their silk pillowcases much the same way you would for lingerie or other delicate items. It will help you prevent your silk pillowcase from getting wrapped around the drum or another item and twisted out of shape.
Use a gentle detergent. Washing silk isn’t the time for heavy-duty silk removers, bleach or other harsh chemicals. Use a gentle detergent
Use cool water. Never use warm or hot water to wash your silk pillowcase as it will damage the fibers and cause the pillowcase to shrink.
Turn down the spin cycle. If your washing machine has a “delicates” option, use that. Otherwise, select the lowest strength spin cycle on your machine.
2. Dry It Gently
You’ve got the silk through the wash – hurray! That’s half the battle. Next, you’ll need to dry your satin pillowcase correctly to ensure it doesn’t stretch, shrink or wrinkle. To dry a satin pillowcase:
Don’t wring or twist it. Never wring or twist your silk pillowcase, especially if you’re washing it by hand. Water makes the fibers more elastic, and the twisting movement will make your pillowcase warp.
Don’t put it in the dryer. Even on a gentle, no-heat cycle, a dryer isn’t a great idea for a silk pillowcase. You need to protect it from being twisted or stretched.
Take care if hanging it on a clothesline. Clotheslines aren’t a good idea if your silk pillowcase consists of silk or wool because these fibers can stretch under their own weight. Polyester satin can hang on a clothesline as long as the tag doesn’t read lay flat to dry.
Lay it flat on a fluffy towel. When in doubt, the safest way to dry a silk pillowcase is to lay it flat to dry. Those fluffy bath towels we warn against using for your hair are actually great in this case. Put one down on a flat surface and lay the pillowcase there. It will help the pillowcase dry more rapidly on both sides.
3. Store It with Care
Once it’s clean, you’ll need to protect your silk pillowcase from getting wrinkled. If you need to iron your pillowcase, use the lowest possible setting and no steam. Otherwise, fold the pillowcase into as you normally would and store it in an airtight container. Those plastic closet organizer containers work great.