Recently, I indulged in a pair of silk pillowcases. Anyway, they’ve been on for a couple of weeks and I’m guessing it’s time to clean them, so I’ve taken them off and replaced them with another pair of pillowcases. They look okay, so am I jumping the gun? When it comes to the washing itself, I would appreciate some advice on the mechanics. I know to hand wash with shampoo - though I might see if my local Sainsbury’s stocks Stergene - and cool or cold water, and to not wring, but do I just let the silk sit in the bowl? Stir? For how long?
You know silk is the strongest natural fiber, right? Good grief, drop the suckers into the washing machine with similar colors and regular detergent in warm water, and if you’re worried about them wearing out too fast then just don’t put them in the dryer afterwards.
All the instructions I’ve read say to treat silk with extreme care.
I wear a lot of silk. It depends on the weave, and what it was dyed with, but in general it does completely fine in the washing machine. I put my blouses in a mesh bag and wash with warm water.
Heat will ruin silk. Hot water probably isn’t hot enough to matter, but it’s really easy to ruin silk with an iron. And you need to be careful about the dryer. And it does tend to wrinkle. I put my silk through the dryer on cool/gentle, and pull it out when it’s still slightly damp. That leaves me with only slightly wrinkled silk, which is probably fine for your pillow.
You could hang dry if you’re worried.
Don’t fret too much, and enjoy the pillow cases.
I’m going to preserve a bit of home economics from the 60s.
Washing delicates by hand:
Pre-treat any stains.Try and remove them first if you can.
Put your selected liquid soap in cool or warm water. Mix by stirring with your hand, don’t worry if there’s no foam. Foam is for suckers.
Place you delicate thing in the water move around with your hands so that it’s thoroughly wet through out. Let soak for the time recommended on the bottle of soap.
When you come back, you can drain the water. Do not rub or wring the object if it is something like angora or wool, or have bangles on it, just let the water drain. Now rinse, by letting running water run over it. You’ll turn it to expose it to water to get the soap out.
When the water runs clear out of the object, press the water out of it. Do not wring.
You’ll need a stack of towels. lay one towel flat, lay the object flat on the flat towel, and roll the towel up like it’s a jelly roll with the object as the jelly. Press the rolled up towel end to end to get the water out. If you’re not satisfied with the dampness of the object when you unroll the towel, repeat the process with a new towel.
Depending on what the object is, you can hang to dry or lay flat to dry on a clean dry towel. If you prefer the latter, you will need to turn it over as it dries, and possibly replace the towel.
Or in the case of clothes, take it to the dry cleaner. There’s no reason to do the above anymore except if the object is a costume (in which case you may have to unstitch part of it and clean separately), or it has lots of bangles, or embroidery. If it’s a couture dress, I recommend asking the place that made it what they recommend.
Otherwise, for non-clothes silk, throw it in the cold water delicate cycle; it’s probably not real silk anyway. There’s an amazing amount of fraud in fabric marking (cashmere and egyptian cotton is often mismarked)
These are silk pillowcases from Taihu Snow in China purchased through Amazon, if that helps.