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How to Wash Silk: The Ultimate Care & Maintenance Guide

Pure silk fibre is the strongest known natural fibre, however, it loses 30% of it's tensile strength when wet, so it becomes a delicate fabric during washing. Wet silk needs a little more care, so it is important to know how and when to wash silk.

This is your "how to guide" for washing silk pillowcases, silk bed sheets, silk sleep masks, silk clothes and silk garments.

Silk is often recognised as the finest and most luxurious fabric in the world.

Sleeping in silk is an investment in your sleep, health and beauty as its benefits are numerous. Silk garments and silk clothes emulate not just style and class but are ultra-soft, breathable and thermoregulating, providing the utmost comfort.

Silk is a precious and expensive fabric and so it is important to follow its care instructions to ensure the longevity of the silk's natural properties.

7 Tips for How to Wash Silk:


It's crucial that you only use a 'delicate' liquid detergent that's specifically designed for silk/wool and is clearly marked on the label.

'Delicate detergents' differ from the standard / eco / non-bio / bio / detergents, even ones that claim to be 'gentle'.

Delicate detergent should be pH neutral, without enzymes, without optical brighteners, without bleaches and uses different surfactants to dislodge dirt / oils / stains from the fabric than standard detergents use.

Delicate detergents are also designed to operate at lower water temperatures (max 30ºC / 86ºF).

Delicate detergents shouldn't leave any residue on the silk fibres, ensuring the soft natural beauty of the silk protein fibres are preserved.


When washing silk, you should always refer to the manufacturer's care label/instructions. The guide below will give more specific instructions for washing Mayfairsilk.

As a general rule, separate your whites, lights and dark silk fabrics and run a separate wash.

It is important to buy silk items from a reputable brand that ensures colour fastness so that your machine washed items do not bleed colour.

How to wash silk effectively with the 3 most common approaches:

washing machine with door open

2.1 Washing silk in a washing machine

Machine washing silk is easy with the progress of modern technology.

Turn inside out the delicate garment or sheet and machine wash on a delicate cycle / gentle wash cycle, in cold to tepid water (wash temperature < 30ºC / 86ºF).

We recommend using a mesh laundry bag which is also called a delicates laundry bag as they add an additional layer of protection for silk in the washing machine.

2.2 Handwash silk

Many prefer washing delicate garments and silk fabric by hand wash.

For hand washing silk clothing or silk bedding, it is best to add a small amount of delicate detergent and cool water to a washing bowl, swirling and gently rubbing areas that may have perspiration stains or other marks, keep it moving in the water, don't leave to soak.

Pour the detergent water out, and replace with fresh water, swirling the silk. Do this a few times to remove all detergent residue from the silk.

Hand washing silk has been a practice for centuries, long before the invention of the machine washing.  

handwashing symbol in black and white
dry cleaning symbol, no trichloroethylene

2.3 Dry clean

If you're hesitant to wash your silk bedding, silk clothing, or silk garment at home, turning to a professional dry cleaner can be a prudent choice. It's crucial to select a well-regarded dry cleaner with positive reviews.

When considering the dry cleaning process, it's essential to choose a cleaner that utilises gentle solvents.

Siloxane-based solvents, like decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) used in the GreenEarth Cleaning system, are preferred for their eco-friendliness and tenderness on fabrics.

Direct your cleaner's attention to specific stain removal areas and ensure they avoid using trichloroethylene, which can harm delicate fabrics, particularly silk. Adhere strictly to care labels that indicate "dry clean only" on silk items.

While dry cleaning silk and other delicate articles can be costlier, it offers a hassle-free and safe cleaning solution.


If you performed a machine wash on a delicate cycle, remove the wet silk garment from the mesh laundry bag and gently squeeze out some of the excess water.

Do not twist or wring as this will distort the garment and stretch the fibres.

Lay a clean dry towel flat on the floor or bench, and position the silk over it. Now place the silk flat on the fresh towel and gently fold the towels with the silk garment inside and press lightly.

Depending on the size of the silk garment or bedding, you might require one or two towels. If needed, repeat the process.

The cotton towels, will absorb the surplus moisture, with each towel capable of soaking up to 27 times its weight in water.

After removing the excess water from the silk bedding or garment with the cotton towels, lift the silk, give a gentle shake and reshape to remove creases and place on a drying rack in the shade, avoiding direct sunlight or heat, as this can makes the fibres weaken.

Beware of hanging over sharp / rough objects (eg. hanging over a door is not recommended), or wooden hangers / rods as the wood stain may leach into the silk.

Do not tumble dry silk.

white laundry hanging on the line


The creases will naturally relax over a few days, but if you prefer, you can use a hand-held steamer to relax creases (using the silk attachment - we recommend the Fridja F10 Handheld Steamer for Bedding and are now stocking it in our online store).

Alternatively, you can use an iron and ironing board, with the iron set to low heat / delicate. Ensure the silk item is inside out, whilst still slightly damp.



To effortlessly dress your pillow in a silk pillowcase without subjecting it to stress and potential tearing over time, employ a swift and gentle technique.

Begin by folding the pillowcase into a compact ring, resembling a doughnut.

Now fold your pillow lengthwise into a bow-tie shape, gently inserting it into the looped pillowcase.

Align the pillow’s corners with those of the pillowcase, delicately unrolling the silk fabric with your free hand.

Once unfurled, ensure the pillow corners are perfectly matched with the pillowcase corners, sealing the envelope pocket.

With a gentle shake and a soft fluff, your pillow is perfectly encased, poised, and ready to grace your bed!

Duvet Cover

Each of our meticulously crafted duvet covers comes equipped with corner ties, designed to seamlessly secure to your duvet, ensuring a snug, shift-free fit throughout the night.

To fully utilise this thoughtful feature, ensure your duvet is also furnished with corresponding corner loops or ties.

Fitted Sheet

Slipping on Mayfairsilk's fitted sheets is a breeze, designed with your ease in mind.

Each sheet boasts a generous 35cm deep pocket, accompanied by resilient elastic all around, gracefully accommodating mattresses of substantial depth, including those augmented with mattress toppers. The thoughtful design ensures a snug, smooth fit with minimal effort, providing an inviting, ultra smooth and an irresistibly comforting surface for you to sink into nightly.

With Mayfairsilk, prepare to experience not only unparalleled luxury but also the joy of effortless living.

duvet corner ties to prevent movement of duvet at night


Storing your Mayfairsilk treasures is uncomplicated and effortless.

For silk sheets and other precious items, we advise placing them in breathable cotton bags. This method allows the delicate fibres to breathe, preserving the fabric’s integrity and luxurious finish.

If you opt to store in plastic bags or boxes, ensure they are not airtight to allow adequate air circulation, protecting the silk from potential yellowing or mildew accumulation over time.

With proper storage, your Mayfairsilk will retain its unmatched softness and lustrous appeal, ready to grace your bed with its exquisite presence whenever you desire.


If you encounter stubborn stains that resist removal through regular washing and pre-treatment with delicate detergent, consider Vanish Oxi Action Multi Power Gel that has been formulated to be safe on silk.

Ensure to only use the exact version of Oxi Action linked above, or Vanish Oxi Action Crystal White Gel for white delicates - as only these two versions are designed to be safe on silk and your other delicates.

Do not use any other version of Oxi Action - and there are many - as these are not safe for use on silk. Check the labelling.    

These two Oxi Action Gels are excellent at tackling tough stains while preserving the integrity of your silk items, serving as a reliable backup for maintaining your silk’s pristine condition.

Our testing has found these products work well on stains, but it's always best to test on a small area first.

  1. 1. Pour 2ml of Vanish gel directly onto the stain and gently rub.

  2. 2. Leave the product in contact with the stain for 10 mins max.

  3. 3. After pre-treatment, wash as usual with an extra dose of Vanish Oxi Action Gel.

  5. For more details on using the Vanish Oxi Action gel for stain removal read their tips here.

CONCLUSION: Simple Steps for Lasting Luxury

Caring for your silk and your Mayfairsilk bedding need not be a daunting task.

With the right approach and careful attention to our provided instructions, maintaining the pristine condition and luxurious feel of your silk is effortlessly simple.

Whether it's washing, drying, ironing, or storing, each step is crucial to preserving the elegance and longevity of your silk products.

By following these top tips, not only will you enjoy the unmatched comfort and beauty of our silk, but you'll also extend its life, making every night a splendid symphony of comfort and luxury.

Dive into our FAQs below for more insights and answers to your silk care queries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of detergents should I use and avoid for silk bedding and silk clothes?"

Do not use standard detergents for cotton and synthetics as they consist of enzymes that damage the silk fabric.

Based on community feedback, we are placing an advisory not to use the 'Clothes Doctor No. 4' Silk & Delicates detergent, as it appears to leave residue and streaks on dark coloured silk.  

Can I machine-wash Mayfairsilk? 

Yes, dry cleaning is a safe option for Mayfairsilk products if you prefer not to wash them at home.

Ensure to choose a reputable dry cleaner experienced with silk fabrics. Opt for cleaners who use gentle, eco-friendly solvents, such as those in the GreenEarth Cleaning system, which are kind to both your silk and the environment.

Specifically, request the use of siloxane-based solvents like decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), and advise against trichloroethylene, as it may damage silk.

Always adhere to care labels, especially those indicating “dry clean only.”

While dry cleaning may be pricier, it provides a reliable and stress-free alternative to cleaning silk items at home.

Can I wash silk in lukewarm water?

Lukewarm water is generally considered to be between 32ºC to 38ºC (90ºF to 100ºF). However, when it comes to washing silk, it’s best to use cold to tepid water.

Washing silk in water that is too hot can cause the fibres to tighten and harden, leading to shrinkage and potential damage over time.

Cold to tepid water is gentle on the silk fibres, helping to preserve the fabric’s natural sheen, elasticity, and softness while preventing colours from fading.

Always read and adhere to the care instructions that come with your specific silk product to ensure it maintains its quality and longevity

Can I wash silk in cold water?

Absolutely, washing silk in cold water is advisable!

Cold water up to tepid water, under 30ºC (86ºF), is gentle on silk fibers, helping to maintain its natural sheen, softness, and durability.

Avoid using hot water as it can cause the silk to shrink and lose its natural luster.

Always refer to the specific care instructions provided with your Mayfairsilk products for the best results.

"Shall I iron silk or steam it - which is better?"

The choice between ironing and steaming silk boils down to your personal preference.

However, at Mayfairsilk, we have a penchant for using a high-quality handheld steamer for our silk bedding.

Steaming is not only quick and straightforward but also tender on the delicate silk fibres, enhancing the fabric's exquisite handfeel.

Besides, it's an efficient alternative, saving you the time and hassle associated with setting up an ironing board!

Is it safe to dry clean Mayfairsilk?

Yes, dry cleaning is a safe option for Mayfairsilk products if you prefer not to wash them at home.

Ensure to choose a reputable dry cleaner experienced with silk fabrics. Opt for cleaners who use gentle, eco-friendly solvents, such as those in the GreenEarth Cleaning system, which are kind to both your silk and the environment.

Specifically, request the use of siloxane-based solvents like decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), and advise against trichloroethylene, as it may damage silk.

Always adhere to care labels, especially those indicating “dry clean only.”

While dry cleaning may be pricier, it provides a reliable and stress-free alternative to cleaning silk items at home.

How often should I wash my silk bedding?

The frequency of washing silk sheets depends on personal preference and usage.

Generally, it's advisable to wash them every two to four weeks.

If you sweat more than average, or if the sheets are visibly dirty or stained, consider washing them more frequently.

Washing silk too often can wear down its fibers more quickly, so it’s crucial to balance keeping your sheets clean with preserving their durability and softness.

Using a silk-friendly detergent and following proper washing and drying guidelines will also aid in maintaining the quality and longevity of your Mayfairsilk sheets.

For consistent freshness, you may alternate between sets of sheets to reduce the washing frequency of each set.