How to Wash Silk Sheets Like a Pro

A woman holds a sheet above her head in a field on a sunny day.
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    If you’ve just received a pair of silk sheets, congratulations! You’ve just made a worthwhile investment in luxury and unmatched comfort. So, it should come as no surprise that caring for this special bedding will be a little different than cleaning other bed sheets.

    Some manufacturers will provide instructions for how to wash silk sheets; when this information is provided, be sure to follow it closely. After all, no one will know better than your sheets’ creator on how best to care for your new silky linens.

    If no instructions are provided? Don’t worry; we’ll walk you through the process of caring for silk sheets, step by step.

    How to Wash Silk Bed Sheets

    The number one thing to remember when washing silk bedding? Be gentle! This luxury fabric can be delicate, and any form of harsh handling can ruin the integrity of the sheets.

    For the first few washes, it’s a good idea to do everything by hand. After, you may use a washing machine to get the job done. We’ll go into further detail about each method below.

    What You'll Need

    A hand holds a mesh laundry bag against a gray background.

    First things first, though. Before you get started washing your sheets, you’ll need two key items: a mesh bag (for the machine method) and detergent.

    What detergent is good for silk sheets?

    Your detergent should be gentle, with absolutely no harsh chemicals like bleach, fabric softeners, color brighteners, or enzymes.

    How to Wash Silk Sheets by Hand

    A white silk sheet soaks in soapy water.

    Before putting sheets on the bed and for the first couple of washes after, many manufacturers recommend washing your sheets by hand. The process may vary slightly based on brand, but the following steps outline the basic process for hand-washing silky sheets:

    1. Fill a tub (or other basin) with cold or lukewarm water.
    2. Add your gentle detergent.
    3. Wash the sheets. Be sure to be gentle. That means no rough rubbing of the sheets and definitely no wringing them.
    4. Do not let the sheets sit in the water for too long as soaking can mean damaging the fabric.

    How to Wash Silk Sheets by Machine

    The inside metal barrel of a washing machine filled with water.

    Once you have tired of washing your bedding by hand, you can make use of your washing machine (unless the manufacturer states otherwise).

    1. Add your gentle detergent to the machine.
    2. Set the wash cycle to delicates and the water temperature to cold.
    3. Put your sheets in a mesh bag. This step is crucial for avoiding snags.
    4. Add your silk sheets to the washing machine. Be sure to wash just the sheets, though. Adding other materials can not only create damaging friction, but it can result in overloading, which will mean your silk sheets don’t get a proper washing.
    5. Remove your sheets from the machine as soon as the cleaning cycle is complete.

    How to Dry Silk Sheets

    A clothespin holds up a sheet to air-dry on a sunny day.

    Obviously you can’t just throw wet sheets onto your bed; you’ll need to dry them first! As with washing, you have a few options for drying silk sheets.

    The gentlest method? Simply hang up the sheets and let them air-dry. Fortunately, this method is quicker than most people would think, thanks to silk’s thinness.

    Unless the manufacturer states otherwise, you may also toss silk sheets into the dryer. When doing so, be sure to keep in mind the following:

    • Set to tumble dry low.
    • Do not put dryer sheets or similar items in the dryer.
    • Dry the sheets by themselves. Other fabrics may rub up against the silk and damage the sheet set.

    Final Thoughts

    A bunched up red silky sheet; how to wash silk sheets concept art.

    Silk fiber is a luxury item that not only feels good, but typically has a lighter environmental impact than other textiles, like cotton. So, those looking for a sustainable sheet set that feels as great as it looks need look no further than this smooth material.

    However, silk sheets are an investment. Protect that investment by taking proper care of them. Remember, while every manufacturer may offer different guidelines for caring for your silk sheets, all will require that you be gentle with them.

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