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    Choosing the Best Detergent for Your Silk Pillowcase, Silk Sheets, and Bedding

    Here at Mulberry Park Silks, we realize that silk pillowcases, sheet sets, and bedding are an investment. That's why we work so hard to help you get the best value when you're shopping for silk. We also want to help you take the best care of your silk items; this will keep them looking and feeling beautiful for a long time.

    We're happy to report that caring for silk can be easy. In fact, our mulberry silk pillowcase collection, sheets, and silk bedding can easily be laundered at home in your washing machine, or by hand wash. We recommend using a gentle cycle, cool or cold water, and placing your silk bed linen in fine mesh bags to protect the delicate fabric. Lastly, we suggest using a mild detergent specially formulated to wash silk.

    Which of these detergents are best for your silk pillowcase and silk sheets

    In this blog, we'll put several popular silk detergents to the machine wash test, and evaluate each based on price, performance, purity of ingredients, and more.

    Heritage Park Fine Silk & Wool Detergent

    The promise: Heritage Park has created the ultimate luxury laundry detergent to gently, yet effectively, clean without causing damage to silk and other protein-based fabrics. This specialized laundry detergent contains powerful cleaning agents formulated to clean and remove stains and odors while being gentle on silk, wool, cashmere, and other natural fibers. Heritage Park Fine Silk and wool detergent contains no cleaning enzymes, which can damage and degrade protein-based fabric. This neutral-pH formula contains no dyes, sulfates, phosphates (optical brighteners), chlorine bleach, or caustic chemicals. It is biodegradable and safe for even grey-water systems. It is concentrated and can be used for front- and top-load machines as well as for handwashing. The scent-free-formula is lab certified (AMA Laboratories) to be hypoallergenic; is dermatologist and pediatrician approved for sensitive skin; and certified cruelty-free with no animal testing by Leaping Bunny. The plant-based ingredients are organic and are listed on the bottle and website, where they are explained in detail. The Heritage Park website features laundry tips and a blog and highlights several companion products including silk & wool wash, wool dryer balls, mesh laundry bags, and more.

    Learn more about Heritage Park Luzury Silk and Wool Detergent

    The performance: As always, Heritage Park delivers. The fragrance-free formula still has a "clean" scent. It left our bed sheets and pillowcases smelling fresh and well-laundered. To protect our silk sheets, we used a mesh laundry bag. Heritage Park Fine Silk and Wool Detergent thoroughly cleaned even our king-sized flat sheet and fitted sheet. The cost for Heritage Park Fine Silk and Wool Detergent averages about $1.09 a load.

    Best for: Silk pillowcases, sheets, bedding, and clothing (follow manufacturer directions); washable wool; washable cashmere. This is a versatile detergent!

    The Laundress Delicate Wash

    The promise: Made for silk, synthetics, and blends. The Laundress positions its Delicate Wash as an eco- and budget-friendly alternative to dry cleaning (for silk) and as a way to clean "synthetics and blends" (by this we surmise delicate lingerie and athletic wear, based on the fabrics they enumerate). From the website: "this special formula removes perspiration, body oils, and stains while cleaning and preserving fabrics. Ideal for silk, synthetics, spandex, polyester, nylon, rayon, acetate, and blends." The website says the formula contains "plant-derived anionic and nonionic surfactants, stain-fighting and cleaning enzymes (protease, amylase, lipase), mineral-derived cleaning enhancers (sodium gluconate and calcium chloride), essential oils, and fragrance" while being "free of petroleum, phosphate, phthalates, and artificial color." The "Lady" scent is a pleasant herbal/citrus blend. The product is cruelty-free (certification unclear) with no animal by-products. The Laundress company was recently purchased by Unilever, a multinational home and lifestyle brand conglomerate.

    the laundress

    The performance: We are going to give this product a hard pass for multiple reasons. First, The Laundress cap (used for measuring detergent) is incredibly messy, awkward, and wasteful (lots of spillage). Additionally, this detergent left white marks on our pillowcases and sheets (which we washed inside mesh bags). Lastly -- and most importantly -- The Laundress Delicate Wash contains enzymes, which are an absolute no-no for washing silk. Enzymes naturally break down protein (this is why they are so effective at removing protein-based stains such as egg and gravy). However, silk IS protein-based. Over time, a detergent with enzymes will degrade the fabric of silk bed sheets. This is a baffling situation for a company as big and well known as The Laundress. Your silk linen deserves better!

    Best for: workout clothes and lingerie but you can probably do better with an all-purpose detergent on a gentle cycle for those items.

    SLIP Gentle Silk Wash

    The promise: Created as a brand extension for Slip pillowcases, this Gentle Silk Wash is designed for hand- or machine-washing in cold water on delicate. This is a clear formula that, according to the label, is "hypoallergenic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing, dermatologist tested." It is free from synthetic fragrances, dyes, harmful chemicals, and toxins. It contains no enzymes, which are damaging to silk.

    Slip Silk Detergent

    The performance: SLIP Gentle Silk Wash smells really good. Similar to Heritage Park, it is "unscented" but has a clean, pure smell that we really liked. The directions are a bit odd, saying to use 30 ml per load (it's a good thing we kept our old cough syrup caps to measure in!). And while we wanted to like this detergent, the unfortunate news is that it really did not work very well. We had to wash our pillowcases twice to get them smelling clean and fresh. That means the cost per load jumps from $1 to $2, if we want to get the items clean.

    Best For: Slip brand loyalists and even then, we think you can do better.

    Woolite Delicates

    The promise: Woolite Delicates is one of the original products in this category and a household name. It can be used for hand or machine washing in the gentle cycle on fabrics like silk and wool. According to the website, Woolite Delicates "is a hypoallergenic product that does not contain harsh ingredients like bleach, phosphates or enzymes and is therefore gentle on hands, skin and clothes." It contains some plant-based ingredients, but also has a number of ingredients that are chemically based and difficult to pronounce. The floral scent is pleasant without being overwhelming and the cost is a budget-friendly 59 cents a load. Woolite is a product of Reckitt Benckiser, a multinational consumer goods company headquartered in England.

    Woolite Delicates

    The performance: Woolite does a fine job; there is a reason this brand pioneered the gentle detergent category. It left our pillowcases clean and smelling good at an affordable price. However, we remain concerned that the manufacturer is not entirely transparent. Some ingredients were prominently highlighted on the bottle but the full ingredient list was more extensive. Additionally, we had to conduct a fairly aggressive search on the parent company's website to get both the ingredient list and even a vague mention of environmental initiatives. Woolite is not certified cruelty-free.

    Best for: Budget-conscious consumers.

    Comparison Chart of the Best Detergent for Your Silk Pillowcase, Silk Sheets, and Silk Bedding

      Editor's Choice      

     

    Heritage Park
    Laundry Fine Silk and Wool Detergent
    32 oz.

    The Laundress
    Delicate Wash Lady
    16 oz.
    SLIP
    Gentle silk wash
    30 oz.
    Woolite
    Delicates
    16 oz.

    Price

    $23 $20 $29 $4.69

    Compatibility

    HE / Standard / Handwash HE / Standard / Handwash HE / Standard / Handwash HE / Standard / Handwash

    Loads per bottle

    21 loads (HE)
    16 loads (reg)
    64 (hand wash)

     

    16 (HE)
    8 (reg)
    32 (hand wash)
    29 Loads 8 to 10 Loads

    Cost per load

    $1.09 HE
    $1.43 regular
    $0.36 hand wash
    $1.25 HE
    $2.50 regular
    $0.63 hand wash
    $1.00 (HE and regular) $0.59 (HE and regular)

    Recommended temperature

    Cold or follow care label Cool or warm Cool Cold or follow care label

    Scent

    Fragrance-Free, clean scent "Lady," an herbal and citrus blend of rich amber, bergamot, lavender, and musk. Fragrance-Free, clean scent Light, floral scent

    Other scent options

    Lavender Mist -- -- --

    Allergies & Sensitive skin

    Hypoallergenic
    Pediatrician and dermatologist approved
    Allergen-free Hypoallergenic
    Non-irritating
    Non-sensitizing
    Dermatologist approved
    Hypoallergenic

    Environment

    100% biodegradable
    No dyes or harsh chemicals
    Biodegradable,
    Non-toxic
    Readily biodegradable Parent company website vaguely mentions environmental initiatives.

    Cruelty-free / no animal testing

    No animal testing Yes
    *But parent company Unilever does conduct animal testing on other products
    Not stated but made without animal byproducts --

    Third-party cruelty-free certification

    Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free -- -- --

    Cleaning enzymes

    No Yes No No

    Recommended for

    Silk, wool, and protein-based fibers

     

    Silk, synthetics, spandex, polyester, nylon, rayon, acetate, blends Silk Wool, silk, cashmere, cotton, satin, polyester

    Neutral pH

    Yes -- Yes --

    Spot treat

    Yes Website recommends additional products for this -- --

    Dye-free

    Yes No artificial color Yes Yes

    Made without

    No enzymes sulfates
    phosphates, chlorine bleach, brighteners
    No petroleum, phosphate, phthalates, and artificial color No synthetic fragrance, dyes, 1,4 dioxane, harsh chemicals, enzymes, sulfates, phosphates, phthalates, animal by-products No bleach, phosphates, enzymes, dyes

    Ingredients listed on the bottle

    Yes Yes Yes Yes, in two places one list not complete

    Ingredients listed on the website

    Yes, with detailed information Yes Yes, with detailed information Yes but need to search the parent company website

    Organic ingredients

    Yes, plant-based -- -- --

    Septic/Greywater safe

    Yes -- -- --

    Made in

    USA USA USA USA

    Website info/cleaning tips

    Tips, FAQs, laundering blog Yes, but "tips" and "how-tos" often link to ancillary products like stain treatment, fabric softener, scent boosters, etc. Yes, tips, how-tos, safety data sheet available Yes, a robust website with instructions and helpful guides to fabric symbols

    Companion laundry products

    Fine laundry detergent (all-purpose), mesh laundry bags, wool dryer balls Many companion products across multiple cleaning disciplines -- Woolite Darks, Woolite Clean and Care

    So Which Silk Detergent is Best?

    With this information in hand, we can rule out The Laundress Delicate Wash immediately because it contains enzymes that can damage silk. This detergent should NOT be used on silk. Slip Gentle Silk wash has clean ingredients, but the formula doesn't work well and requires a second wash and that can get expensive. Woolite Delicates works well, but has some ingredients that we think are questionable, and is not certified cruelty-free.

    Our choice: Heritage Park Fine Silk and Wool Detergent

    This formula is safe, effective, and cruelty-free. It is also the most affordable of the three premium brands we evaluated. Heritage Park is also transparent when it comes to its ingredients and safety certifications, which earns our trust. It is also an independent laundry detergent company, not a division of a consumer products conglomerate.

    Mulberry Park Silks: Accessible and Affordable Luxury

    At Mulberry Park Silks, we design and sell the highest quality silk items in the market at fair and affordable prices. We offer a full range of silk products made from 100% pure Grade 6A mulberry silk fabric. All the silk fabric used for our sheets and pillowcases are OEKO-TEX Certified (Standard 100) to be free of chemicals. Please connect with us by visiting our store or call us at (800) 860-1924 to learn more about our silk sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers and shams, and accessories, including sleep masks, eye pillows, travel pillows, and hair scrunchies. Learn more about Oeko-Tex certification here.