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Luxury silk sheets can easily be washed and cared for at home. There's no need to dry clean! This article offers simple washing instructions and product recommendations that will keep your silk sheets looking and feeling beautiful.
Here at Fine Linen and Bath, we think silk sheets are not only an indulgence but also fantastic investment in hair, skin and sleep quality. They are also, of course, a luxury that you want to last. The good news is that you can care for your beautiful silk bedding at home. By following these tips, you'll be able to keep your silk bed linen soft, luxurious, and welcoming over time.
When you first unbox your sheets, read and follow the care directions. You'll discover that pure silk is actually quite simple to care for, and requires only a bit of extra attention.
DO use a pH-neutral detergent. Silk is a natural fiber. Washing it in detergents that are either too acidic or too alkaline will cause those fibers to harden. Look for a detergent clearly labeled as having a neutral pH. Additionally, use an enzyme-free formula that will clean effectively while maintaining the integrity of your silk fabric (see below for more information).
DO wash silk separately from other items in a silk-only load.
DO turn silk pillowcases inside out before laundering.
DO invest in fine mesh laundry bags to help keep the silk from tearing. This is particularly important if your machine has an agitator mechanism. Silk is light and delicate; it can sometimes get caught under the agitator and tear and pull. The agitator and the inside of your machine can also have tiny nicks, burrs, and rough edges caused by other laundry items like zippers or buttons. A mesh wash bag will help protect your sheets from damage.
DO line or hang dry your silk -- outdoors or inside -- to preserve the fabric. Use a clothesline, a non-slip hanger, or a drying rack out of direct sunlight. Avoid wooden drying racks which can leech dyes or stains into silk. Your silk should dry in about 45 minutes depending on temperature and conditions.
DO iron sparingly, only on the coolest setting with sheets and turn your pillowcases inside out. A light steam will enable the iron to glide smoothly over the fabric. You can also place a cloth between the iron and your silk item. Keep in mind that all silk wrinkles in the wash; the threads will start to relax and straighten after a few nights' uses. If you prefer to iron, we recommend ironing just your pillowcases (since they're all that show!) on the lowest setting available.
DO store silk carefully in breathable bags, away from direct sunlight, with moth repellent lavender sachets or cedar balls in close proximity.
DON'T wash in hot water. Temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius) can damage silk significantly. It is best to wash all silk products in cold water.
DON'T use bleach, which will harm the fabric and cause it to yellow.
DON'T use fabric softener. The natural thread fibers of silk and the specialized charmeuse weaving technique create the softest silk available. Fabric softener is unnecessary and will leave an unpleasant residue on the fabric.
DON'T dry clean. While it won't damage your silk sheets, dry cleaning is unnecessary. There's no benefit to incurring the extra expense. If machine washing is not an option, we recommend hand-washing with a small amount of detergent.
DON'T wring silk out. Roll it between white towels to blot, or lay white towels out on the bed and blot sheets on top of them.
DON'T hang silk in direct sunlight, outdoors or inside. Exposure to sunlight can damage the silk fibers, and may cause colors to fade, especially in darker colored silk.
DON'T put your silk items in the dryer if you can help it. Heat can damage delicate silk fibers. If dryer is absolutely necessary use only 'air' setting for 15 minutes or less with NO fabric sheets or dryer balls. Remove sheets and pillowcases before completely dry.
Sheen: It's normal for silk to lose a little of its original luster after repeated washing. If your silk looks absolutely dull, you may have used too much detergent which has left a coating. (Of course, double-check to make sure your pillowcase isn't inside out!). A touch up with a cool-warm iron will help restore the sheen and bring your silk back to life. Use a steam setting to ensure the iron glides smoothly across the fabric.
Stains: Spot treat stains with caution since some stain removal products can cause your silk sheets to discolor. We recommend using a bit of gentle stain-fighting detergent such as Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent to pre-treat stains before laundering. This detergent does contain enzymes and should be used for spot treatment only; test on an inconspicuous area of silk first. (Note: stains do not constitute product defects; stained items will not be accepted for return.)
Snags: While silk is quite strong and durable, a small tear can quickly grow and compromise your fabric. To avoid this type of damage, use extra caution when washing; as we recommend above, a mesh laundry bag is ideal. When using your sheets, be mindful of anything that can tear or snag, including (but not limited to) rings, earrings and other jewelry; zippers, Velcro or hooks on clothing; sharp surfaces; long or broken nails; rough skin; and pets. Even facial hair or stubble can cause pilling and wear leading to tears over time.
Choosing the proper detergent can help extend the beauty and integrity of your silk bed sheets. Heritage Park Silk and Wool Laundry Detergent is the best choice for safely washing silk bedding. It is formulated it to gently and effectively clean delicate fabrics like silk sheets without causing damage. The concentrated, pH neutral detergent contains unique cleaning agents blended specifically for wool, silk, and other natural fibers.
CONCENTRATED. Made for high efficiency, front load, and traditional top-loading washing machines. Wash more loads of laundry with every bottle.
EFFECTIVE. Perfectly balanced powerful cleaning ingredients are capable of removing tough odors and set-in stains while remaining gentle on your favorite linens.
SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY. Contains no sulfates, phosphates (optical brighteners), chlorine bleach or caustic chemicals. It has a neutral pH and is biodegradable. Concentrated formula with thoughtfully-sourced ingredients and no fillers or excess water.
SCENT FREE. Heritage Park liquid detergent is fragrance-free and a perfect detergent for sensitive skin or those prone to an allergic reaction or skin irritation from harsh chemicals in other laundry products. (Note: for those who prefer a subtle scent, we also offer our Silk, and Wool Laundry Detergent in a delicate lavender mist scent.)
ENZYME FREE. Detergents that contain enzymes are very effective at breaking down stains but can damage silk (see below for a more detailed explanation).
ETHICALLY PRODUCED. All Heritage Park Laundry Essentials products are Leaping Bunny Approved. They are 100% cruelty-free and never include ingredients tested on animals.
VERSATILE. This specialized gentle detergent can be used to machine wash home linens and garments made not only of silk, but also wool, cashmere, fur, and other natural fibers.
If you've read our Fine Linen and Bath care guides for cotton sheets and towels, you may see that we often recommend Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry detergent for washing; this concentrated detergent contains a blend of proprietary enzymes that work to break down common stains. (You can learn more about laundry enzymes here).
When it comes to washing silk sheets, however, you want an enzyme-free detergent. Why? Laundry enzymes work by breaking down protein to remove stains. Silk fiber is actually protein based, which means that consistently washing it with an enzyme detergent can degrade the fabric over time. Along with silk, there are a number of other protein-based fibers that should be washed with enzyme free detergent. These include washable versions of the following:
The good news is that Heritage Park Luxury Silk and Wool Detergent is specially formulated to clean and care for these luxury fabrics without causing damage. This concentrated silk detergent can be used for both hand- and machine washing wool, silk, cashmere and more. Of course, always follow manufacturer care labels and NEVER use bleach or fabric softener of any kind on these fabrics.
Care note: As mentioned above, you can use an enzyme detergent to pre-treat stains on silk sheets if needed on an occasional basis.
At Fine Linen and Bath, our mission is to deliver a concierge luxury linen shopping experience with online convenience. When you need answers, consultation, or help to narrow your choices, our team of expert design consultants is here to assist. We offer individualized recommendations, personal consultation, and even complimentary swatch samples for your review. We'll help you make the right buying decisions for your style, budget, and design goals. Please connect with us online or -- even better -- give us a call at (866) 352-4522. We would love to get to know you!