How to Wash Silk Bedding: Luxury Maintenance Guide

The delicate nature of silk fabric means it requires more care than your average cotton or synthetic sheets.

But don’t let that scare you off from investing in silk bedding. With the right washing techniques, even the most delicate silk can be kept clean and beautiful for the long haul.

Here’s what you’ll learn by reading this essential guide to caring for your silk bedding:

  • The best practices for keeping your silk bedding stain-free and luminous
  • Step-by-step instructions tailored specifically to washing silk sheets, pillowcases, and comforters
  • Tips on when it is and isn’t safe to machine wash your silk bedding
  • Techniques for properly air drying your silk bedding to avoid damage
  • Storing and spot-cleaning methods to keep your silk bedding fresh between washes

Follow these tips, and you’ll be sleeping luxuriously on clean, brilliant silk sheets for years to come.

beige silk bedding

Preparing to Wash Silk Bedding

Before we get into the washing process, let’s go over what you’ll need to properly hand or machine wash your silk bedding.

Hand Washing Silk Bedding Supplies Checklist

  • Mild liquid detergent formulated for silk or delicates
  • Large sink, tub, or basin for washing
  • Soft towels and sponges
  • Clothes drying rack
  • Fabric conditioner or silk wash (optional)
silk garment basin wash technique

Machine Washing Silk Bedding Supplies Checklist

  • Gentle detergent made for silk or cold water delicates
  • Mesh laundry bag or pillow protector
  • Access to a washing machine with a delicate or hand-wash cycle
  • Clothes drying rack
mesh bag for silk garments in washing machine

It’s critical to always check the care label on your silk items for any special washing instructions or temperature guidelines. 

Many high-quality silk bedding pieces will have detailed care labels indicating if machine washing is allowed and what settings to use. Follow these instructions closely.

When in doubt, washing by hand is the safest method for delicates like silk.

The exception is very high-quality silk specifically labeled as machine washable – these can typically be gently washed on the delicate cycle.

Step-By-Step Guide to Washing Silk Bedding by Hand

Ready to learn how to hand wash and care for your silk bedding? Follow these steps for the best results:

Gather Your Supplies

  • Fill a sink or tub with cool water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Agitate the water to create suds.
  • Use a soft sponge or washcloth. No rough scrubbing!
filling basin with water

For anyone with silk garments, Heritage Park Laundry Detergent (link to Amazon) is a must-try. It’s gentle on the fabric, yet powerful enough to remove any dirt or stains.

Submerge and Soak

  • Fully submerge silk items in the soapy water.
  • Let soak for 3-5 minutes so the detergent can penetrate fibers.
hand laundering beige silk cloth

Wash Gently

  • Move items in a swirling motion to evenly distribute soap without agitating.
  • Avoid harsh twisting, pulling, or rubbing that can damage silk.
  • Don’t let silk bedding sit in suds for more than 5 minutes.
hand washing process for beige silk

Rinse Thoroughly

  • Drain the washing vessel and refill it with clean, cool water for rinsing.
  • Rinse until all soap residue is removed.
  • Avoid hot water as it can cause silk fibers to shrink.

Optional Conditioning

  • For added softness, dissolve a capful of fabric conditioner or silk wash in the rinse water.
  • Let items soak for 2-3 minutes, then drain.

Air Dry

  • Roll items in a towel to absorb excess moisture. Don’t wring or twist.
  • Lay flat on a drying rack or rod to air dry.
silk garment drying with absorbent towel
towel wrap for drying silk material
laying wet silk out for air drying

Press and Finish

  • Once fully dry, use a cool iron on the lowest silk setting to press out wrinkles.
  • Use steam sparingly and iron inside seams first.
smoothing silk with iron

And that’s it – your silk bedding is washed and ready to enjoy!

Machine Washing Silk Bedding: Can You Do It?

While hand washing is the gold standard care method, high-quality silk marked machine washable can be gently cleaned in the washing machine.

When Machine Washing Silk, Follow These Precautions:

  • Use a mesh wash bag to protect silks in the machine.
  • Wash on the lowest, most delicate setting with cool water.
  • Avoid fabric softener, bleach, or other harsh detergents.
  • Take extra care when moving silk pieces when wet – they’re most vulnerable to snags and tears.
laundry mesh bag silk washing in machine
delicate cycle for silk in washing machine

Safe Machine Washing Steps for Silk Bedding:

  1. Pre-treat any stains on the silk delicately before washing.
  2. Place pillowcases, sheets, or comforters inside a mesh laundry bag and secure the fastener.
  3. Select the hand wash or delicate cycle with a cool water temperature.
  4. Use a mild detergent made specifically for delicates or silk.
  5. Allow extra rinse cycles to fully remove detergent residue.
  6. Remove from the washer gently while still damp and lay flat to dry.
  7. Steam or iron while still slightly damp on the lowest silk setting if needed.

Find out the best practices for fabric care in my guide on mixing silk with other textiles in laundry.

silk washing technique using mesh bag in machine

When washing silk in the machine, err on the side of caution. When in doubt, opt for hand washing instead to safely clean your silk bedding.

Drying Silk Bedding: Techniques and Tips

Drying silk bedding properly is just as important as washing it. Follow these guidelines to dry your silk sheets, pillowcases, and comforters without causing damage:

Can Silk Bedding Go In the Dryer?

  • No! Never put silk items in the clothes dryer – the heat and friction can destroy silk fibers.
  • The dryer can cause puckering, tearing, and shrinkage in delicate silk fabrics.
  • Always air-dry silk bedding to prevent irreversible damage.

Best Way to Dry Silk Bedding

  • Lay flat or hang on a clothing line to air dry. Allow the silk to dry fully before putting it back on the bed.
  • Air drying prevents heat damage from dryers and allows silk fibers to dry evenly.
  • Proper air drying maintains the vibrancy, softness, and integrity of silk fabrics.

How to Air Dry Silk Pillowcases and Sheets

  • Lay pillowcases and sheets flat on a drying rack or furniture surface. Smooth to prevent creasing.
  • For sheets, periodically flip/rotate to ensure even drying without mildew.
  • Air dry silk pillowcases and sheets out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.

Find out the right way to wash silk sheets to preserve their softness and sheen.

silk textile air dry method

Drying Silk Comforters

  • Lay comforters flat to air dry, periodically flipping sides.
  • For thicker comforters, use a spacious drying rack or clothesline.
  • Avoid hanging silk comforters vertically, which can stretch out the delicate fabric.

Proper air drying keeps your silk bedding pristine, while machine drying can wreak havoc on delicate silk fibers.

Follow these air-drying tips, and your silk bedding will maintain its exceptional softness and vibrancy wash after wash.

Maintaining Silk Bedding Between Washes

You don’t need to launder your silk bedding after every use. Here are some care tips to keep your silk clean and flawless between washes:

  • How Often to Wash Silk Sheets/Pillowcases – Every 2 weeks for regular use. Wash immediately if soiled.
  • Let Silk Breathe – Avoid making bed immediately after washing. Allow time to fully dry out first.
  • Spot Clean Spills and Stains – Use a gentle stain remover formulated for silk. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
  • Use Silk Pillowcase Covers – Adds a layer of protection from skin oils, hair products, and make-up.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight – Fades silk over time. Close blinds or curtains when not in use.
  • Smooth Out Wrinkles – Steam or gently iron on low heat between washes if needed.
  • Store Properly – Refold and keep silk bedding in a breathable, dry place like under the bed.

By taking a little extra care, your silk can stay luminous and last years longer.

elegant beige silk fabric on wooden table

Troubleshooting Common Silk Washing Issues

Even when armed with the best silk-washing practices, you may occasionally encounter an issue with your beloved bedding.

Here are some common silk laundry troubles and how to resolve them:

Your silk sheets or pillowcases have a funky, mildewy odor.Re-wash using distilled white vinegar – it kills odors and removes mildew.
Your freshly washed silk has soap residue or suds left behind.Re-rinse multiple times with clean water until it’s all removed.
You notice greasy stains on your silk pillowcases.Use an ammonia-free stain remover safe for silk to tackle skin oils and hair products.
Your comforter has water stains or discoloration after washing.Unfortunately, stains may be permanent after setting. Consider using a comforter.
blotting out stains on silk


I hope this comprehensive guide takes the mystery and anxiety out of properly caring for your luxury silk bedding.

While silk requires gentle care, the investment is well worth it for an elevated sleep experience.

Here are some key tips to remember:

  • Always read and follow fabric care labels when washing silk
  • Handwash in cool water with mild detergent for best results
  • Only machine wash silk specifically labeled machine washable
  • Lay flat or line dry – never put silk in the clothes dryer!
  • Spot clean stains promptly and store silk properly between washes
  • Take silk delicates to the dry cleaner if you’re unsure how to wash

Treat your silk bedding with care, and it will treat you to many peaceful, luxurious nights of sleep.

Just follow these guidelines, and you’ll get to enjoy the beauty of silk sheets, pillowcases, and comforters while keeping them looking luminous.

So go ahead – sleep like royalty in your silk bedding!

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