Silk is a delicate natural fabric which requires special care. In order to use your silk sheets for long time, you must follow the instructions on the labels coming with your original product package.
Generally, there are three ways to clean silk sheets: dry clean, hand wash & machine wash. No matter which cleaning method you choose, three points must be remembered:
- Never use bleach.
- Do not vigorously scrub the fabric to remove stains.
- Wash silk sheets separately from other clothes.
“Dry Clean Only” Silk Sheets
If it says “Dry Clean Only”, then you need to take your silk sheets to dry cleaners. Use green and organic dry cleaning services with non-toxic cleaning methods. “Dry Clean Only” silk sheets generally are sheets with bright colors or with multiple patterns. Dry cleaning silk sheets saves your time and effort but costs money as well. If the label doesn’t say “Dry Clean Only”, then you can try the following options: Hand wash & Machine Wash.
Hand Wash Silk Sheets
Hand washing is the safest method for cleaning your sheets and preserving silk fabric properties. Hand wash can apply to all kinds of silk fabrics, from silk sheets to silk sleepwear, even silk ties. The key of hand washing is cold water.
- Fill cleaning container with cold water. Silk is a natural fiber consists mainly of protein, which can be damaged under hot temperature. So, always use cold water (under 20° Celsius/ 68° Fahrenheit).
- Use mild detergent. Buy some gentle detergents from local store, these detergents usually have labels indicates “For Silk”. Baby shampoo is an alternative if you can’t get detergents easily. Harsh detergents will weaken silk and cause it to tear. Don’t use bleach or detergents containing bleach elements, in case of making silk yellow.
- Soak sheets for several minutes. Avoid scrubbing and twisting, which can damage silk. Most silk will shrink a little after soaking. This is normal.
- Rinse silk sheets for several minutes. Drain cleaning container and refill it with cold water. Move it around to get soap out of silk sheets. Distilled, white vinegar is useful for removing soap residue.
- Dry silk sheets. Let sheet hand dry, avoid sun direct. Keep it away from the heating vents. More importantly, keep dark silk from the sun. Otherwise, it will noticeably fade in a short time. However, it is difficult to find a suitable place to air dry king size sheets or other large silk sheets. Therefore, some people choose to dry them on their dryer with the lowest temperature setting.
- Iron silk sheets if needed. If you want to iron sheets, you should use a cool iron to iron the reverse side of silk while they are still slightly damp. In general, if you gently wash and dry it, you may don’t need to iron it.
Machine Wash Silk Sheets
Before machine washing silk sheets, you need to make sure the sheets are “Machine Washable Silk Sheets”, which can be found on the product labels or asking the manufacture. Many silk products are not machine washable, for these, you can only dry clean or hand wash them. For machine washable silk sheets, follow the steps below:
- Sort silks according to their colors. Put the color close together. Separate silk from other laundry.
- If you have a top-loading washing machine, you can place the fabric in an exquisite/underwear pocket to protect the delicate fabric. The bag is not required but can still be used if you have a front-loading machine.
- Set the machine to a gentle cycle and a minimum rotation period to prevent your silk from being ripped apart. Use the cool water setting.
- Use a mild cleanser to prevent fabric fall. Any too strong soap may damage silk.
- Dry silk. Avoid sunlight or heat. You can also try drying it in the dryer with on air fluff setting or a no-heat setting. Any additional heat may shrink or break silk.