How to Iron Silk Pillowcases: A Step-by-Step Guide

I absolutely love the luxurious look and feel of silk pillowcases. There’s nothing quite like slipping into bed and laying your head down on the smooth, cooling fabric.

However, silk is a delicate material that requires some special care, especially when it comes to ironing.

If done improperly, ironing can damage silk pillowcases and rob them of their beauty.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the proper techniques for ironing your silk pillowcases.

You’ll learn the right settings to use, the best practices to follow, and mistakes to avoid.

With these tips, you can keep your silk pillowcases looking pristine and wrinkle-free for years to come. Let’s get started!

folded silk on ironing board

Preparing Silk Pillowcases for Ironing

Before you pull out the iron, there are a few key steps to take to prep your silk pillowcases:

  • Check the care label: Not all silk is created equal, so always verify the recommended care instructions. Most silk can be ironed, but the heat and steam settings may vary.
  • Wash and air dry: Washing and fully air drying your silk pillowcases first allows you to remove body oils and perspiration that can “set” wrinkles.
  • Smooth wrinkles manually: After drying, try to manually smooth any wrinkles by gently pulling and reshaping the fabric. This makes the ironing process easier.
silk fabric hand unwrinkling

Choosing the Right Iron Settings

Silk is extremely delicate and heat-sensitive. Selecting inappropriate temperatures can damage, burn, or discolor the fabric. To safely iron silk pillowcases:

  • Set your iron to low heat. The ideal temp is around 300°F. Most irons have a specific “silk” setting.
  • Use the no steam function, or only a light steam setting for plain silk if necessary. The moisture can leave water marks.
  • If your iron has a wool setting, verify it’s within the safe temperature range for silk before use.
iron adjusted for silk fabric

Always check for heat tolerance first in an inconspicuous area.

Table: Recommended Iron Settings for Silk

Fabric TypeTemperatureSteam
Pure SilkVery low, silk/wool settingNo steam
Heavy SilksLowOptional/light steam
Silk Mix FabricsMediumYes

Step-by-Step Guide for Ironing Silk Pillowcases

Follow these steps to properly iron your silk pillowcases:

  1. Lay the pillowcase face down on your ironing board, with the opening facing towards you. The “inside” silk side is more delicate and prone to shiny marks from the heat, so have it facing down against the padded surface.
  2. Set your iron to the appropriate low temperature. If using a steam setting, ensure the reservoir is filled with distilled water to prevent mineral deposits.
  3. Lay a thin cotton cloth or pressing cloth over the area you are going to iron. This protects the fabric and absorbs excess moisture.
  4. In small sections, gently run the iron back and forth across the pressing cloth, reshaping and smoothing the pillowcase. Avoid using a push-pull ironing motion.
  5. Pay special attention to creased spots and lace or embellished areas. Take care not to press too hard or let the iron sit in one spot on delicate decorations.
  6. Ensure the section you’re ironing is cool and dry before moving or adjusting the pillowcase to avoid setting wrinkles.
  7. After ironing the back and embellishments, flip the pillowcase over and repeat on the front, face up side. Again use a pressing cloth and maintain low heat.
  8. When finished, allow the pillowcase to fully cool before folding or putting a cover on it to avoid re-wrinkling.
damp cloth prep for silk ironing
silk ironing with cotton press cloth layer
silk ironing perfection with cotton layer
silk texture preservation with cotton cloth
silk resting after ironing

Tips for Problem Areas

Seam lines take more finesse – avoid dragging the iron perpendicular across them. Instead, hold it gently along the seam.

For narrow hemlines, use the pointed end of the iron and lift it frequently to avoid imprints.

When ironing vertically down the length of the pillowcase, drape sections over the end of the board to prevent creasing.

Alternatives to Traditional Ironing

While the iron is an effective tool for erasing wrinkles from silk when used properly, there are also alternative methods to unwrinkle these delicate textiles:

  • Hand-steam silk pillowcases using a garment steamer. This avoids direct contact and risky heat.
  • For travel touch-ups, using a garment steamer carefully without direct contact can freshen them up nicely.
  • Try hanging wrinkled silk pillowcases in the bathroom during hot showers so that the steam can relax the fibers.
silk draping in steam shower

While the above techniques work quite well, I still believe nothing beats the results of an actual iron in terms of making silk pillow shams look crisp and newly pressed.

Just be very mindful of temperature control and use a protective cloth barrier.

Common Ironing Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy to damage delicate silk pillowcases if proper precautions aren’t taken:

  • Using excessively high heat that scorches or shrivels the fabric.
  • Allowing the iron to sit too long in one spot, creating a shiny imprint.
  • Applying too much pressure, resulting in permanent creases.
  • Forgetting to use a press cloth, leading to water stains.
  • Skipping steam vents on embellished fabrics, causing water damage on decorations.
  • Moving silk too soon, before heat sets properly, meaning wrinkles quickly return.

Be extremely gentle, keep checking how your silk responds, and remember it’s always better to err on the side of lower temperatures.

Keep the iron moving over the protective cloth rather than holding it stationary.

Lift frequently to check results. With some care and practice, you’ll be expertly unwrinkling silk bedding in no time!

elegant beige silk fabric on wooden table

Additional Care Tips for Silk Pillowcases

To keep your silk pillowcases looking their absolute best:

  • Store them in a dry, dark place to prevent fading and in breathable fabric bags to allow airflow and prevent humidity buildup.
  • For a gentle clean, use a pH-neutral detergent specifically designed for silk.
  • For antimicrobial protection between washing, lightly mist pillows with diluted essential oils like lavender.
  • Avoid overly aggressive scrubbing and harsh chemical bleaches or detergents.

Following a gentle ironing method while incorporating some of these supplementary care tips will help preserve the appearance and integrity of your silk bedding for many years of blissful beauty rest!

I wanted my mornings to feel more luxurious, so I learned how to iron a silk robe correctly.

Can I Iron Silk Pillowcases if the Label Says “Dry Clean Only”?

Most silk pillowcases, even those labeled dry clean only, can be carefully ironed at cool temperatures with a pressing cloth.

Start by testing a small hidden area first.

However, some silks are more delicate or finished in chemical coatings that could melt under heat, so evaluate carefully before ironing anything explicitly dry clean only.

beige silk cloth spread on table

How Can I Add Body Back to a Flat, Limp Silk Pillowcase?

To add some volume and fluff back to flattened silk pillow shams, use the steam from your iron.

Drape and lightly press sections of the pillowcase while hovering just above the fabric, rather than directly contacting it.

The penetrating steam helps restore the loft. Finish by air drying fully stretched out on the pillow itself to recover shape.

Why Does My Silk Pillowcase Have Yellow Stains After Ironing?

Yellow stains or discoloration after ironing indicates slight fabric burn from excessive heat. The delicate proteins in silk have essentially denatured.

Unfortunately, heat damage is irreversible, but you can disguise it by using a matching silk pillow insert going forward.

Be more cautious with temperature regulation next time and always use a pressing cloth!

How Can I Minimize Water Spots on My Silk Pillowcase When Ironing?

Prevent water spots by fully saturating your pressing cloth prior to ironing, and wringing out all excess dampness.

Start with a steam-free iron if possible. Quickly remove the pressing cloth after ironing sections; don’t let moisture linger against the silk. 

or stubborn spots, try dabbing with a microfiber cloth before the water evaporates and leaves a ring.

getting out water stains on silk

Is It Safe to Iron Wrinkles Out of Silk Pillowcases While They’re Still on the Bed?

While it may seem convenient, ironing silk pillow shams in place on your bedding poses risks. The padding underneath is often uneven, causing sections to overheat.

It’s also near other fabrics like cotton sheets that could transfer and stain from the iron moisture.

For best results, iron pillowcases separately on an ironing board always with a protective cover.

Let me tell you about the best way to iron silk pajamas for that luxurious sleep experience.


I hope this guide has equipped you with everything needed to properly care for your silk pillowcases using a clothes iron. 

Always remember to double-check fabric composition, adjust to lower temperature settings, use a protective cloth, and avoid over-ironing delicate areas.

With some precautionary measures, a little patience, and these practical techniques, you can keep luxurious silk pillow shams runway-ready on your own bedroom stage.

Sweet dreams!

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