How to Wash Silk

The award-winning silk we sell at This Is Silk is chosen because it is soft, durable and easy and quick to care for. 

It is also easy to care for when you know how. Silk is the strongest natural fibre on earth. It is a myth that silk is a delicate fabric which can only be dry-cleaned. (The only exception to this is dupion silk which needs an extra level of care)

In fact, dry cleaning uses very harsh chemicals that are bad for us. More on that in another blog post.

So cast aside your fears about silk. It is the finest fabric known to womankind and so good for our skin and hair that we should not hesitate to use it every day. Once you know what you can and cannot do it is easy to incorporate silk into your daily life and wardrobe.

Washed and cared for properly, your silk will last for years.

In short, it is fine to put your silk pillowcases and silk hair wraps in the washing machine if you do it properly. Washing by hand is superior because there is less friction on the silk and is therefore gentler.

Here are our guidelines for washing Silk by Hand and in the Washing Machine

Handwashing Do’s

Washing by hand will prolong the life of your silk pillowcases and silk hair wraps and is the gentlest way to clean your silk.

Use a clean bowl, the kitchen sink or the bathtub and fill it with water that is cool or lukewarm to the touch.

Take a capful of non-bio liquid detergent suitable for silk (we like Persil Silk & Wool) and swirl around to mix the soap with the water. 

As an alternative you can use the original Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to clean your silk. Bear with me - as unusual as this seems it is perfectly fine because silk is very similar in structure to our hair and skin.

Submerge the silk pillowcase or hair wrap and ensure that it isn’t left to soak for more than 30 minutes. Stirring the silk around gently will help the soap clean thoroughly.

Rinse to remove the soap and squeeze the excess water out.

Silk dries quickly and is best left to air-dry away from direct sunlight.

Your pillowcases can be ironed on a low heat to bring back their smooth lustre. If you iron on the reverse whilst they are still a little damp you will get the best results.

Handwashing Don’ts

Silk should never be wrung or rubbed to remove excess water as the harsh friction can damage fibres.

Don’t use whiteners, optical brighteners or bleach, as these all damage silk.

Don’t tumble dry silk

Avoid exposing silk to high heat - whether by washing or ironing.

Washing Silk in the Washing Machine

Washing your silk in the washing machine according to the following instructions will help keep it looking desirable for years.

Best practice is to use a mesh laundry bag for the silk to go in as this stops the silk snagging or catching on anything in the machine.This is less necessary for washing machines which are front loading (as in the UK) but imperative for top-loading washing machines. (as are commonly found in Europe)

Do ensure that you wash similar colours together, and always wash whites separately to other colours.

If you don’t have a mesh laundry bag, turn the pillowcase or hair wrap inside out and wash on a delicates cycle.

If you don’t have a specific cycle for delicates, use a low temperature (max 30 degrees) on a gentle cycle.

Use a non-bio liquid detergent suitable for silk such as Persil Silk & Wool 


Silk dries quickly so air-dry your silk pillowcases, keeping them out of direct sunlight.


Washing Machine Silk Don’ts

Don’t use any brighteners, whiteners or bleach as these destroy silk.

Don’t use fabric conditioners as they leave a thin coating on the silk

Don’t use washing powder as the powder creates friction and can damage the fibres and remove colour.

Don’t use stain removers as they can remove colour.

Don’t tumble dry  - it’s not necessary (silk dries quickly) and creates friction, damaging the silk.

Silk is an extraordinarily beautiful fabric but the reason we sell it is because it is incredibly beneficial for skin and hair.

So don’t be nervous - get used to looking after your silk so you can enjoy and use it everyday!