Can You Wash Satin Pillowcase?

The glossy finish on your satin pillowcases might have you wondering whether or not you can wash them at home. And if yes, using what technique?

You can wash satin pillowcases, but first find out the fiber used in their construction as different fibers have different wash instructions. Cotton satin pillowcases can be washed in the washer and by hand using cold, warm and even hot water for disinfection. Polyester and nylon satin require a bit more moderate wash settings, whereas silk should only be clean using the gentles techniques and settings of both hand and machine washing. 

Let’s learn more about satin care and maintenance below. 

Satin is more than just silk

There is a popular misconception that satin and silk are one and the same. However, that’s not true. You can have a satin material that isn’t actually silk based. 

You can have satin made from polyester, cotton and even nylon. And guess what, different fibers require different washing instructions. The way you clean silk satin is definitely going to be different from the way you clean cotton or polyester satin, because each fiber has different chemical composition that makes it fare differently with washing. 

How To Wash Silk Satin Pillowcases

When we ask about washing a specific type of satin fiber, then we’re actually asking a question. How do you clean a “ silk satin” pillowcase? 

The process is very simple. If you know how satin copes with water, then you are halfway there!

So how does silk behave in water? 

Silk, because of it’s linear, beta-configuration and also its rigid crystalline structure, becomes weakened when immersed in water. 

The reason is because such configuration permits the formation of hydrogen bonds (which inturn makes the material stronger), but the same hydrogen bonds get hydrolysed in water and make silk weaker! 

With a silk that is now weak and vulnerable, little agitation can easily affect it negatively. Agitation, like that experienced in the washer or from scrubbing, can cause the linear, beta-configuration polymers of silk to slide past one another which will cause distortion, wrinkles and creases.

Hot water too, because its molecules are in constant rapid motion, penetrates deeper into silk than cold water, thus weakening the fabric even more. This means that all the side effects experienced from agitation will now be more pronounced in hot water. 

Hot water can also cause dyes to run off and also the fabric to fade. The latter is caused buy the breakage of hydrogen and peptide bonds at temperatures above 10°C. 

In the dryer, you have heat and motion, which are elements already established as being detrimental to the integrity of silk.

So having gone through all of these, how then are you able to safely clean silk in the washing machine or by hand?

Going out of the scope, the safest way to actually clean silk is to dry clean it. Dry cleaning fluid doesn’t wet fibers and therefore make filaments weaker.

If you cannot dry clean for one reason or the other, the next best technique to follow is handwashing. Hand washing is preferred over machine washing because with handwashing, you have more control over the amount of agitation you put on your silk material. 

We have written a comprehensive guide on how to properly wash silk by hand. Make sure to check it out. 

Read: How to wash silk by hand

With the washer, there definietly is going to be agitation, ao make sure to opt for the most gentle. Washers nowadays come with a silk cycle, you can use that if your washer has one. 

We’ve also written a comprehensive guide on how to wash silk clothing using the washing machine. Make sure to check that out too. 

Read: How to wash silk in the washer

How To wash Satin Pillowcases made using other types of filaments

So if you have a satin pillowcase that is made using a different type of fiber for example, cotton, polyester or nylon, then good news, because you have a bit more flexibility to work with now. 

Cotton is a durable material and thus can be subjected to heavy duty settings without fear of any repercussions. When you need to sanitize, which you should actually be doing once a month, feel free to use hot water on your cotton satin. 

For polyester, warm water is the max you should opt for. Hot water shrinks polyester, especially when it’s used on it consistently. 

But you CAN actually use hot water on polyester, like when you need to sanitize, just make sure to avoid making it a habit as the polyester will eventually shrink. 

For nylon, it’s just as sturdy as polyester and cotton, and because of that, you can get away with using cold or warm water on it. 

How Often Should You Wash Satin Pillowcases?

Because it’s a pillowcase, which means it collects dirt, oil, perspiration, bacteria and dead skin cells, you want to wash it at least once a week. 

Final Thoughts

Satin pillowcases are perfectly washable, but before you can wash them, make sure you know the specific type of threading or fiber used for your satin. 

You can have satin pillowcases made using silk, polyester cotton and even nylon, and each has a different method for cleaning. 

For silk, make sure to go gently and avoid heavy duty and harsh conditions. If you have nylon, cotton or polyester, you can get away with using warm to hot water, a moderate cycle and a mild detergent.