wikiHow to Wash Silk Sheets

Three Methods:Washing by HandWashing Silk Sheets in the Washing MachineCaring for Your Sheets

Silk is a wonderful, natural fabric. Although it seems delicate, it is a strong fabric that will last for a long time. In order for sheets to last, you must wash them with special care and attention. It is best to hand wash your sheets. However, dry cleaning and the washing machine are an option as well.

Method 1
Washing by Hand

  1. Image titled Wash Silk Sheets Step 1
    Fill your bathtub with water. Wash your silk sheets in lukewarm or cold water because silk does not do well with hot temperatures. The water should be 30° Celsius/85° Fahrenheit or lower.[1] Do not wash your silk sheets with any other items (e.g. towels, clothing, etc.)
    • If you have hard water, add a spoonful of Borax to the water before you begin washing.[2]
    • Hand washing silk is the safest method for cleaning your sheets and preserving the quality.
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    Wash with a mild detergent. Add about two teaspoons of detergent to the water before you put your sheets in. Gentle detergents such as Woolite or[3] Ivory Liquid are best for your sheets.[4]Harsh detergents can weaken the silk fabric and cause it to tear.[5] If you do not have a gentle detergent, you can wash your sheets with baby shampoo or a gentle adult shampoo. There are also detergents that are formulated for washing silk available as well.
    • You can also ask the manufacturer or store where you purchased sheets to recommend a detergent for washing your sheets.[6]
    • Never use bleach or detergents containing bleach to wash your sheets. Bleach will turn your sheets yellow.[7]
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    Put your sheets in the water. Once the detergent has been added to the water, put your sheets in the tub. Your sheets should be completely soaked with the water. Gently swish the sheets around in the tub. Avoid scrubbing and twisting the sheets as you wash. You do not want to damage them.[8][9]
    • Only soak your sheets for a few minutes.[10]
    • Your sheets will actually become softer after a few washes.[11]
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    Rinse your sheets. Drain your tub and refill it with cool water. Move your garment around in the water to remove the soap. Smell your sheets to make sure you have gotten all of the soap out. You may have to rinse your sheets a few times.[12]
    • Add a few drops of distilled, white vinegar to remove soap residue[13] Rinse your sheets again after you add the vinegar to remove the scent of the vinegar from your sheets.[14]
    • You can also add a few drops of hair conditioner to make your sheets feel nice and silky.
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    Dry your sheets. Gently squeeze out any excess water. Avoid twisting or wringing out your sheets. Hanging your sheets to dry is best, but avoid drying them in direct sunlight.[15] Direct sunlight will damage the silk fiber and cause discoloration.
    • You can also roll your sheets in a towel to remove excess water.[16] You may have to use multiple towels to get all the water out.
    • If you are unable to hang dry your sheets, lay them flat on a clean towel or bed to dry.
    • Do not hang your sheets on a wooden rack to dry. Dyes and finishes used on the wood can stain your sheets.[17]

Method 2
Washing Silk Sheets in the Washing Machine

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    Use a front loading machine. Front loading machines are more gentle than top loading machines. If you use a top loading machine, put your sheets in a laundry/wash bag before you put them in the machine.[18] Wash your sheets separately from other items.
    • Use a mild detergent to wash your sheets. Avoid any detergents with brighteners and enzymes.[19]
    • It is best to hand wash your sheets a few times before you wash them in the washing machine.
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    Use the delicate cycle. Select the "delicate" or "hand wash" cycle on your washing machine. Choose whichever cycle has the shortest spin cycle. Excessive spinning will break down the silk fibers and damage your sheets.[20] Wash your sheets in cool water as well.
    • If your machine does not have a delicate cycle, you should hand wash your sheets instead.[21]
    • Separate your sheets by color if you are washing multiple sets. Silk will release dye when being washed.[22]
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    Dry your sheets without heat. If you dry your sheets in a dryer, use the heatless, air fluff setting on your dryer. High heat can dull the fabric, shrink your sheets, and weaken the fibers.[23] You can dry your sheets using the lowest heat setting if you would like, but the heatless setting is the best.
    • Remove your sheets from the dryer when they are about 80% dry.[24]
    • You can also hang dry your sheets once you remove them from the washing machine. This is the most gentle drying option.

Method 3
Caring for Your Sheets

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    Iron your sheets. Your sheets may be wrinkled after you wash them. Iron your sheets while they are slightly damp to remove the wrinkles. Turn your sheets inside out (i.e. shiny side down) when you iron them and use the "silk" setting on your iron.[25] Always keep your iron moving and do not iron the same part for more than 5 seconds. Silk can burn very easily.[26]sheets.
    • Ironing is optional. Your sheets will smooth out once you put them on your bed.
    • You can also use the steam from your iron to remove the wrinkles without actually putting the iron on your sheets.
    • If you do not want to iron them, hang your sheets in the bathroom while you shower. The steam from the shower helps get rid of the wrinkles.[27]
    • Have spray bottle handy when you are ironing your sheets. You can burn your sheets if they are completely dry when you iron them.[28]
    • Put a towel or pressing cloth between the iron and your sheets for some extra protection.
    • Allow your sheets to cool completely before you fold them and put them away.
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    Remove stains immediately. Spot clean your sheets if you notice a stain. It is best to use cleaners that are formulated for silk. However, cold water and mild detergent can be applied to the stain as well.[29] Gently rub the stain with a sponge and then rinse with cold water. You can apply detergent and rinse again if necessary.
    • Always pre-treat a stain before you wash your sheets. If you are unsure about treating the stain yourself, take your sheets to a professional dry cleaner.
    • Never use bleach or hot water to remove a stain.
    • The longer you wait to treat a stain, the less likely it is to come out.
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    Dry clean your sheets. If you do not want to wash your sheets yourself, take them to the dry cleaners. Make sure your dry cleaner has experience with cleaning silk fabrics. Look for dry cleaners that use green or organic dry cleaning services. These types of dry cleaners use non-toxic cleaners that are safer for your sheets.
    • Visit the Green Earth Cleaning website to find a green dry cleaner near you.[30]
    • If your sheets are brightly colored or have a pattern on them, dry cleaning may be a better option than washing the sheets yourself.[31]


  • There is a shampoo that can be used as a detergent to wash pure silk sheets.
  • Use special detergent for wool, silk and other delicate material; it's normally liquid, not the powder stuff you normally have.
  • Store your sheets in cool place and away from direct sunlight.
  • Store your silk with cedar balls to keep moths away.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Bedding and Mattress Care | Washing Delicates