How to Wash Silk Pajamas: A Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide

Silk pajamas are the ultimate luxury. Their soft, smooth texture feels amazing against your skin.

But keeping silk pajamas in good condition requires special care, especially when it comes to washing them.

As a beginner handling delicate silk fabric for the first time, you may be unsure about the best cleaning methods.

Don’t worry – this guide will teach you everything you need to know about properly washing silk pajamas.

By following the techniques I describe, you can keep your silk sleepwear looking and feeling brand new for years to come.

beige silk cloth elegance

Preparing to Wash Silk Pajamas

Before you even begin cleaning your silk pajamas, there are a couple of key steps you need to take:

Check the Care Label

The first thing to do is carefully read the care instructions on the label. This will tell you important details like:

  • Recommended washing method: hand wash or machine wash
  • Maximum water temperature
  • Any specific detergents or bleach that can be used

Following the care label is the safest way to clean your silk pajamas without risking damage. 

If for some reason the label is missing or worn off, use the gentler hand-washing method I describe later in this guide.

silk fabric care label

Sort Laundry Correctly

Silk should always be washed separately from other fabrics, especially rougher textiles like denim, cotton towels, or synthetic blends.

Washing silk with other materials can cause pilling, pulls, snags, and other surface damage.

Make sure to separate out your silk sleepwear and launder it independently in its own load for the most pristine results.

Now that you’ve prepped your silk pajamas for washing, it’s time to choose the right detergent and water temperature.

Choosing the Right Detergent and Water Temperature

Washing silk requires extra special care when it comes to both detergent selection and water temperature.

Use a Delicate Laundry Detergent

Harsh detergents can dry out and damage the fibers in silk fabric. Specialty silk soaps are available, but a fragrance-free liquid baby shampoo or wool wash also works well.

Some examples of gentle detergents suitable for washing silk pajamas:

  • The Laundress Delicate Wash
  • Soak Wash
  • Eucalan Delicate Wash
  • Forever New Fabric Wash
  • Baby shampoo

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.

using heritage park detergent for silk washing

Check that the detergent you choose is free of bleach, optical brighteners, dyes, and strong perfumes.

All of these additives can diminish the vibrancy and sheen of expensive silk pajamas.

Wash in Cool or Lukewarm Water

Silk protein fibers are extremely heat-sensitive. Exposing them to hot water, even in the machine, can cause irreversible damage.

Always use the coolest temperature possible when washing silk garments.

The ideal water temperature for silk pajamas is cool or lukewarm. Here are the recommended settings:

  • Cool – 65°F (18°C) or less
  • Lukewarm – 85-95°F (29-35°C)

Washing in cool water preserves the shape, size, and appearance of the silk fabric. Hot water makes silk prone to shrinking, warping, and fading.

Now that you know how to prep your detergent and water temperature, let’s go over the techniques for hand washing and machine washing silk pajamas.

silk fabric hand wash using basin

Hand-Washing Silk Pajamas

Hand washing is the safest, most gentle cleaning method for delicate silk sleepwear.

With the right technique, you can wash silk pajamas by hand without compromising their quality at all.

Follow these steps for successfully hand washing silk:

  1. Fill a sink, tub, or basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of your chosen delicate detergent. Agitate the water lightly to form suds.
  2. Submerge your silk pajamas fully underwater. Let them soak for 2-3 minutes so the detergent can loosen any oils and dirt.
  3. Swish the pajamas gently back and forth in the water. Do not wring, twist, scrub, or tug too hard. The fabric is fragile when wet.
  4. Drain the water and refill the basin with fresh, clean water at the same lukewarm temperature. This rinses away all soap residue.
  5. Drain again, then gently press the water out of the silk. Do not wring or twist forcefully.
  6. Lay the pajamas flat on a towel and roll up to absorb excess moisture. Unravel, smooth out, and let air dry fully before wearing or storing.
filling basin with water
hand laundering beige silk cloth
gentle hand rubbing of beige silk
laying silk on towel to dry

The key is to handle the wet silk garments as little and as gently as possible. Never rub or scrub vigorously at stains on silk fabric either. This can cause tears and pulls.

Machine Washing Silk Pajamas

While hand washing is ideal for silk, machine washing is possible if done with extreme care. Always check the garment care label first though – some silk items are too delicate for the washer.

If machine washing is recommended, follow these precautions:

  • Use a mesh laundry bag to prevent pulling and friction damage.
  • Wash on the delicates or gentle cycle with cool water only.
  • Choose a mild detergent like Soak or The Laundress that is safe for silk.
  • Skip the wash and rinse spin cycles – the agitation is too rough.
  • Lay flat or hang to dry. Never put silk pajamas in the dryer!
laundry mesh bag silk washing in machine
using laundry mesh bag for machine washing silk
washing machine silk care with mesh bag
delicate cycle for silk in washing machine

I also recommend washing other gentle fabrics like lingerie in the load for more padding and friction protection.

Below is a quick checklist of the ideal machine-washing settings for silk pajamas:

CycleDelicates or Gentle
TemperatureCool or Lukewarm
SpinTurned Off
DetergentMild and Silk-Safe
DryingLay Flat or Hang Dry

Take your time and treat your silk sleepwear with care for the best laundering results. Now let’s go over how to dry your silk pajamas once washed.

This article provides essential tips for caring for and washing silk pants.

Drying Silk Pajamas

Drying is just as vital a step as washing when it comes to keeping silk pajamas in flawless condition.

Always Air Dry

Silk should never, ever be put in the dryer, even in a low-heat setting. The tumbling and hot air will cause irreparable creasing, shriveling, and breakage.

Always opt for air-drying silk fabrics. This helps them retain their shape and texture.

There are two methods you can use to air-dry washed silk pajamas:

Lay Flat to Dry

This is the ideal way to dry silk without creating wrinkles or bunching. Simply arrange the freshly washed pajamas in a single layer on top of a clean, dry towel or drying rack.

Smooth out any lumps or rumples. Allow them to fully air dry before wearing or storing.

wet silk fabric drying naturally

Hang to Dry

You can also hang silk pajamas from a clothesline or drying rack using plastic or wooden clothespins.

Clip onto garment seams rather than the delicate fabric. Make sure to shape the silk smoothly and evenly on the line before leaving it to dry. Don’t allow the silk to bunch up.

Hanging silk pajamas to dry will take longer than laying flat. But it can help prevent creases from developing.

I recommend laying flat to dry after hand washing for the quickest and easiest results. But test out both methods to see which you prefer.

How to Dry Silk Quickly

When you need to wear your silk pajamas again ASAP, here are some tips for safely drying them faster:

  • Roll up the damp silk fabric in a dry towel to absorb excess moisture, then air-dry
  • Use a portable fan to circulate air – this speeds up evaporation
  • Dry on a drying rack instead of hanging for quicker results
  • Lay flat on bath towels, which absorb water better than other surfaces
  • Change towel underlayment halfway through drying if it gets damp
gently patting silk with towel to dry
towel wrap for drying silk material

With these tricks, you can cut the silk pajama drying time in half while still avoiding heat damage.

Just remember – never attempt to speed dry silk with an iron, hairdryer, or dryer. The intense direct heat will ruin the fabric. Air drying is the only safe accelerated method.

Once your silk sleepwear is fully dry, it’s ready to be ironed and stored. Let’s go over best practices for ironing delicates and keeping them in prime condition.

Ironing and Storing Silk Pajamas

To return silk pajamas to their original sleek, polished state after washing, proper ironing and storage methods are key.

Ironing Silk Garments

Silk can be lightly ironed, but only at the right temperature setting with a bit of finesse:

  • Set your iron to the “silk” fabric option if available. If not, use a low temperature like “polyester” or “nylon.” Never use the cotton or linen setting.
  • Place a thin cotton cloth or damp pressing cloth over the silk as you iron. This prevents direct heat damage.
  • Iron delicately on the inside seams first – test a hidden area to ensure the temperature is correct.
  • Always iron while the silk is slightly damp – never attempt to iron bone-dry silk fabric.
  • Iron in long, smooth motions. Don’t press down too firmly. Allow the shape of the garment to guide you.
  • To minimize creases, hang or fold the silk pajamas right after ironing.
silk clothes ironing technique

With a careful approach, you can safely touch up your washed silk as needed. Just don’t over-iron or apply too much heat and pressure.

Storing Silk Pajamas

How you store your silk pajamas in between wears also impacts their longevity. Here are some storage tips:

  • Hang silk garments on wide, padded hangers to maintain their shape.
  • Use garment bags for long-term storage to protect from dust and light damage.
  • Fold silk delicately if storing it in a drawer – never bunch it tightly. Smooth creases out before folding.
  • Keep silk pajamas in a climate-controlled environment. Exposure to moisture or humidity can damage silk over time.

Proper storage keeps your expensive silk pajamas looking impeccable and extends their lifespan significantly.

Now that you know how to safely clean and care for your silk sleepwear, let’s go over how often it needs to be washed for maintenance.

white beige silk fabric combination

Frequency of Washing Silk Pajamas

One of the benefits of silk is that it repels odors, soil, and stains quite well. You don’t need to launder silk pajamas nearly as often as other fabrics.

Here are some guidelines on wash frequency:

  • Hand Wash – After every 3-4 wears or whenever soiled
  • Machine Wash – As needed, but preferably not more than once a month or as needed

Washing silk pajamas after 1-2 wears is overkill and will shorten their lifespan. You can comfortably re-wear them multiple times between washes.

Some exceptions would be if your silk sleepwear becomes noticeably smelly, sweaty, or dirty.

Then you may want to wash it earlier. But in general, too frequent laundering does more harm than good with delicate silk fabrics.

Uncover tips on washing silk tops to preserve their beauty and texture.

beige and white silk fabric blend

Special Considerations

Silk pajama care does come with a few special cases and considerations:

Dry Clean Only Silk

Some silk garments are labeled “dry clean only” – this means hand and machine washing are too harsh for them.

Take them to a professional dry cleaner versed in delicate care for the best results.

Shrunken Silk

If your silk pajamas shrink after an improper wash, soak them again in lukewarm water. 

Gently stretch and massage the fabric back into shape, then lay flat to dry. This should return them close to the original size.

Men Versus Women Silk Pajamas

There are no significant differences in washing guidelines based on gender. However, women’s silk nightwear often has more delicate lace trimmings and embellishments.

Take extra care around these decorative accents when laundering.

refined beige silk fabric


And that covers all the essentials for keeping your silk pajamas looking their absolute best! Let’s quickly recap the key points:

  • Always check the fabric care label and wash silk separately from other garments
  • Use a gentle, fragrance-free detergent in cool or lukewarm water
  • Hand wash for best results or machine wash sparingly on delicate cycle
  • Never put silk in the dryer – lay it flat or hang it to air dry only
  • Iron very gently on low heat with steam and a cloth barrier
  • Store silk properly between wears to prevent damage
  • Wash less frequently than other fabrics – usually after 4-5 wears
  • Handle silk gently and treat stains immediately for the best results

Following these instructions will keep your silk pajamas soft, vibrant, and lustrous for many years.

Don’t be intimidated by the delicacy of silk – with the right techniques, you can keep your silk sleepwear looking flawless.

So go ahead and enjoy the luxurious feel of silk against your skin.

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