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How to Care for Silk Sheets

by L. Sefcik

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Silk sheets need a bit of care

When you choose to buy silk sheets, you're making a long-term investment in your personal comfort. Silk sheets are smooth and pleasing to the skin, retaining heat in the winter and keeping your body cool in the summer. Some consumers may be deterred from purchasing silk sheets because they fear they'll get stuck with a "delicate" fabric that falls apart after washing. Rest assured that silk is not only one of the sturdiest fabrics available, but it's also not prone to pesky wrinkles like other types of linens. Quality silk sheets can give you a lifetime of comfort and ask that you give them only a little tender loving care in return. Take a look below to learn how to care for silk sheets.

Caring for Silk Sheets:

  1. Break them in gently. Wash silk sheets by hand the first few times after purchase and use. This protects the silk's sheen and softens the fibers. Use only lukewarm water and a gentle, biodegradable detergent or a detergent specially formulated for silk. Resist the urge to rub the fabric vigorously, and don't let silk sheets soak too long. When removing the excess water from your sheets, don't wring them with your bare hands. Wrap the sheets in a large towel and gently twist.

  2. Move up to a washing machine. Machine wash silk sheets after your first few hand washings. Always use the delicate wash cycle and tepid water no warmer than 86 degrees Fahrenheit. When machine-washing your silk sheets, wash them alone without any other clothing or towels. Use one spin cycle only to preserve the integrity of the fabric.

  3. Line dry silk sheets when possible. Keep the sheets out of direct sunlight, as this causes the fabric to fade, particularly in darker-colored sheets. If you don't have an outdoor clothesline or the weather is prohibitive, you can machine dry your sheets. Use the lowest temperature setting or set the dryer to "air."

  4. Iron them. Iron silk sheets when they're barely damp. In most cases, ironing won't be necessary, as washed and dried silk quickly returns to its former shape unless it has been through vigorous wringing. Still, you may want your silk sheets to have a crisper look. Apply a cool iron on the reverse, non-shiny side of the sheet only.

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