Do I Need a Special Detergent for Silk? How to Clean Silk Bedding Without Damaging It

This article explains why you need a special detergent for washing silk sheets, pillowcases, and bedding and shows you what to look for when choosing a silk wash.

Silk: A Unique and Wonderful Fiber

When washing silk sheets and pillowcases, you should absolutely use a gentle detergent made to clean and care for silk fabric. You know that nothing compares to the soft, lustrous feel of sleeping on pure mulberry silk. Add to that silk’s unique beauty and wellness benefits , including keeping your hair and skin moisturized, minimizing frizz and facial wrinkles, regulating body temperature, and preventing allergies and irritation. But silk bedding is also an investment and you want to make it last. That’s why Mulberry Park Silks always recommends using a special silk detergent that gently cleans while protecting silk fiber. Read on to learn why a special detergent is necessary for silk and what to look for when buying one. We’ll also offer some simple guidelines for washing silk to keep it pristine and feeling amazing for a long time.

Woman in Silk Duvet


Check Prices on Silk Bedding

Protein-Based Fabric Needs Special Care

Similar to wool and cashmere, silk is a protein-based fabric (this is why silk is so lustrous and wonderful for your hair and skin). And just like cashmere and wool, silk requires a bit of special care to protect the protein fibers. That’s why grocery store commercial detergents—which are loaded with harsh chemicals such as strong surfactants and optical brighteners —are a bad choice for washing silk. Over time, using these products will strip away silk’s natural sheen and weaken its fibers. The abrasive nature of these detergents can also lead to fraying, color fading, and a loss of silk’s luxurious texture. Stay away from these commercial formulas!

Washing Silk in Machine

Gentle Detergents: The Enzyme Conundrum

If you’re even a casual reader of laundry detergent labels, you might be familiar with the term “laundry enzymes.” Enzyme detergent, sometimes referred to as “biological detergent,” uses natural enzymes to dissolve and remove stains. Laundry enzymes work similarly to the digestive enzymes in your saliva, which break down food to be digested. You will often find laundry enzymes in luxury laundry detergent, because they are a natural alternative to harsh chemicals. However, because many stains—including dirt, dairy, and meat—are protein-based, enzyme detergents work by dissolving proteins. That means that, over time, even a mild detergent with enzymes can damage and weaken the fiber of protein-based fabrics like silk sheets and wool sweaters.

Washing Stain from Silk

An Enzyme-Free Mild Detergent is Best for Silk

Because silk is both delicate and protein-based, you should use a gentle-detergent that is enzyme free for regularly washing it. We recommend Heritage Park Silk and Wool Laundry Detergent . This is a concentrated, liquid laundry detergent that is pH-neutral and made without laundry enzymes to clean silk. It contains a short list of plant-based, natural and naturally derived ingredients that will remove dirt and stains while protecting the integrity, feel, and beauty of your silk sheets. (Along with your silk pillowcase and silk sheets, you can also use Heritage Park Silk and Wool Detergent on any type of washable silk garment; be sure to read the care label on your silk clothing and dry clean if it specifically says to do so). You can learn more about choosing the best silk detergent here .

Washing Silk
Check prices on Heritage Park Silk and Wool Detergent

Your Silk Care Protocol: Wash Silk to Preserve Beauty and Feel

One of the best things about Mulberry Park Silks sheets and accessories is that our items can be washed by hand or in your washing machine—no need for dry cleaning. Follow these simple instructions for machine washing silk sheets, pillowcases, and bedding:

  1. Wash a silk-only load and don’t overload the washing machine (if space permits, you can put silk clothes in the same load as silk clothes as long as they are washable and similar in color).
  2. Place each silk item in a mesh laundry bag to protect delicate fabric from damage inside the machine. You can use a large bag for a flat or fitted sheet, and put two pillowcases in a single bag. (Pro tip: a mesh laundry bag is a good idea for all types of delicates, especially lingerie, bathing suits, and exercise gear).
  3. Add the correct amount of silk detergent. NEVER use fabric softener or bleach on silk when machine washing.
  4. Set to a silk or delicate cycle; a delicate wash will use cool water and minimal agitation.
  5. When you take your silk bed sheets out of the washer, give them a little shake. If need be, press out excess water with a clean towel.
  6. Never put your silk sheets or bedding in the drier. Silk dries quickly. Hang it indoors or outside away from direct sunlight which will cause fading.
Using Mesh Bag

It’s easy to machine wash your silk, but hand washing may be easier when cleaning a single silk pillowcase. To hand wash silk pillowcase: fill a basin or sink with cool water and a small amount of silk detergent; submerge your pillowcase; and swish it around. Let it sit for no more than five minutes, and rinse in cool water. Do not wring; roll your pillowcase in a clean towel to remove excess water, and lay flat or hang to dry.As always, the silk experts at Mulberry Park Silks are here to answer any questions you have about caring for your silk!

View Mesh Laundry Bag


Mulberry Park: Accessible and Affordable Luxury Silk

We founded Mulberry Park with one simple mission: to design the highest quality silk items in the market and offer them at an affordable price. And we've done just that, with a full range of silk products made from 100% pure mulberry long strand silk fabric. The silk fabric used for our silk sheets and silk pillowcases has also been OEKO-TEX® Certified (Standard 100) to be free of chemicals.

Visit us online or call us at (800) 860-1924 to learn more about our silk sheets, silk pillowcases, duvet covers and shams, and real silk accessories including sleep masks, travel pillows, and silk hair scrunchies.