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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.

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