Caring For Your Silk Sheets

After spending several hundred dollars on high-quality silk sheets, the last thing you want to do is ruin them by not caring for them properly although it is not as hard as many people think.

Did you know that besides the cost barrier, the misconceptions about the difficulty to care for them are the biggest reason why people do not purchase silk sheets. While it is true that silk sheets are expensive and are an investment, caring for them shouldn’t scare you or stop you from purchasing them.

The care tips listed below are general for most types of silk and satin-silk sheets. For the specific sheets you have purchased, refer to the care instructions that came with them. If you are not sure how to care for them or are confused by the instructions do not hesitate to contact the place of business where you purchased them or write the manufacturer. And just as a side note, in the case of silk sheets the manufacturer is often who you are buying directly from because high-quality silk sheets are typically made only after an order for them has been placed.

What To Wash Your Silk Sheets In

Keep in mind that silk is a very strong natural fiber. To keep that fiber strong, avoid subjecting it to harsh detergents and soaps that will break those fibers down and strip it of its natural properties. Woolite is a mild detergent that many people use to successfully clean their silk sheets but I have found a few manufacturers who do no recommend it. A commonly recommended soap is Charlies Liquid Laundry soap which can be purchased online. It is non-toxic and completely biodegradable soap.

When you first purchase silk sheets, wash them by hand for the first few washings. Doing this helps to preserve the sheen of the silk and soften the silk fibers.

After hand washing for the first few times you can switch to machine washing if you want to, but always wash the sheets on your machine’s delicate cycle After hand washing for the first few times, you can switch to machine washing the sheets, but always wash them on the delicate cycle and never use hot water. Experts recommend washing silk sheets at 30 degree Centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit) which is water that is barely lukewarm.

If your machine has an option to allow an extra spin cycle to wring as much water out of your fabrics as possible, resist the urge to use it. Use the spin cycle sparing on silk sheets because it is hard on their fibers. That is why it is important to use the delicate or hand washable cycle on the machine.

It is okay to use fabric softener if you would like to. My personal favorite is a lavender scented fabric softener.
Do not use bleach, even color safe bleach – ever, not even if you have stains.

Also, resist scrubbing the fabric vigorously to remove a stain.

Let the sheets hand dry, if possible, but keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents because that is just like putting them in a hot dryer. It is especially important to keep dark colored silk sheets out of the sunlight because it will visibly fade them in a very short amount of time. But, because finding a safe place to air dry large silk sheets, such as king size sheets, can be difficult, some people have had good luck drying their sheets using the lowest temperature setting on their dryer, the one that is just barely higher than “air dry.”

My favorite place to dry silk sheets is outside on a clothesline that is protected from the sun, but because I live in a cold climate it is not feasible to hang out my sheets year around so I utilize my dryer for several months a year.

If you think the sheets need ironing, although I admit I have never ironed silk sheets, you can use a cool iron on them while they are still slightly damp, making sure to iron on the reverse side (the non-shiny side). But I will tell you I have never found it necessary to iron silk sheets. If they are gently washed and dried (translation: not twisted and wrung and beat up), they don’t need to be ironed.

One other note about washing silk sheets – do not put anything else in the washer with them. Wash them separately from your other laundry.

Take Care of Yourself To Help Prolong the Life of Your Silk Sheets

Silk, while durable, can unwittingly be damaged by you. If the heels of your feet get as dry and rough as sandpaper, it is like rubbing your sheets with sandpaper every time you get into bed. The same goes for sharp broken fingernails or toenails. They can pull the threads in your sheets, breaking them. So taking care of your skin and your nails is not only beneficial to you but also beneficial to your skin!

Some Shrinking of Fabric is Normal

It is normal for most silk sheets to shrink a little during the first few washings, usually about three to four percent. It is a normal occurrence and should not make you feel like you are doing something wrong. The manufacturers take shrinkage into consideration when they make the sheets so they should still fit your bed just fine after those first few washings.

As a recap, gentle washing and gentle drying is what your silk sheets want to do to help them last a long time and give you many years of happy dreams on them.

remove blood

Removing Stains From Your Silk Sheets

You have purchased soft, luxurious, and oh so dreamy to sleep on silk sheets. You treat them with loving care, washing them often but washing and drying them gently. But now the unimaginable has happened. You have a stain on your silk sheets and do not know what to do.

Here is a list of common stains and tips on how to remove them. But there is a word of warning with this list. It is a general list for removing stains from silk, but you need to remember that not all silk is created alike. There are many different kinds which means that a method that removes a stain on one type of silk may not work on another type of silk. Always test the method on an inconspicuous section of the sheets first, like on a corner of the fitted sheet that does not show when it is on the bed.

Blood – This is probably the most common type of stain. The earlier you treat it the easier it is to remove it. If it is still fresh, sponge the stain with cold water that has salt in it (1 teaspoon of salt per cup of water). Then rinse with clear water and repeat if necessary.

If the blood stain has set, still try the salted water method before trying anything else since it is the least harsh method of removing the stain. If it does not work, try making a paste out of meat tenderizer and applying it to the stain. Pat gently to work the paste in and then rinse. How does meat tenderizer work on blood stains? It breaks down the proteins in the blood which should release them from the fabric.

A rather unorthodox method recommended by one silk expert for removing dried blood is to use saliva. Put saliva on a Q-tip and dab at the stop until the blood disappears, using a fresh Q-tip for each application of the saliva. Rinse with water.

Coffee and Tea – sponge with lukewarm water. Then apply glycerine (readily available online and at many natural products stores) and gently rub the fabric between your hands. Let it sit for half an hour; then rinse with warm water.

Perspiration Stains – use diluted ammonia (equal part of ammonia and water). Rinse well.

Lipstick and Makeup – try the laundry soap you use to regularly clean the sheets but in a little more concentrated form. If that does not work, try ammonia but be careful if the sheets are a dark color. Test in an inconspicuous place first and use as little as ammonia as possible. Start with 1 part ammonia to 3 parts water. If that doesn’t work increase the strength of the ammonia but never use anything stronger than 1 part ammonia to 1 part water.

Oily or Greasy Stains – try some liquid dishwashing soap letting it sit for few minutes. Rinse with water.

A Few Things To Never Use on Silk

Although many people reach for Biz or Oxi-Clean when they have a stain on something, do not use either of those products on silk. They will damage them.

So will bleach – it will turn your silk an ugly yellow color.

If you do not want to take any chances with stain removal on your silk sheets, take them to your local cleaner and ask if they can remove the stain for you. Or contact the manufacturer of the sheets for tips and help.