Choosing the Best Detergent for Washing Your Silk Pillowcase, Silk Sheets, and Bedding: What to Use and What NOT to Use

Your silk pillowcases and sheets can be washed at home, but choosing the right detergent is a must. This article reviews four popular silk detergents to help you choose the best one for your washing your silk bedding items.

Protect Your Investment in Silk Pillowcases 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 (no need to dry clean!). We recommend using a gentle or delicate cycle, cool or cold water, and placing your pure silk bed linen in fine mesh bags to protect the delicate fabric. Lastly, we suggest using a mild detergent specially formulated to wash silk. And not all "silk detergents" are created equal. In fact, some products marketed to wash silk can actually damage your fine silk.

Silk Detergent Brands

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

Heritage Park Silk & Wool Laundry 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 Silk and Wool Laundry 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 septic systems and 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. Heritage Park Silk and Wool Detergent is available in Fragrance-Free (Hypoallergenic), Lavender Mist, and Spring Magnolia. 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!

Do we recommend?YES!

The Laundress Delicate Wash*

*Consumer alert:We reviewed The Laundress Delicate Wash in an earlier version of this blog, and were unable to recommend it due to the fact that it contained laundry enzymes, which are damaging to silk. In December 2022, The Laundress recalled ALL of its detergent products, including Delicate Wash, due to concerns about contamination. The Laundress Delicate Wash has since been relaunched as a reformulated product without laundry enzymes. As the product is so new, we are at this time unable to recommend it.




the laundress


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.

Do we recommend? Yes, but not our top choice.

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, over time, the harsh ingredients in Woolite are not ideal for silk. Additionally, we had to conduct a fairly aggressive search on the parent company's website to get even a vague mention of environmental initiatives. Woolite is not certified cruelty-free.

Best for: Wool only, and even then there are better choices! The ingredients are too harsh for silk.

Do we recommend? No.

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.
Gentle silk wash
30 oz.
16 oz.


$24 $30 $29 $4.97


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 (large or heavily soiled load)
32  (medium)
64 (hand wash)
29 Loads 8 to 10 Loads

Cost per load

$1.14 HE
$1.50 regular
$0.38 hand wash
$1.87 large
$.93 medium
$.47 hand wash
$1.00 (HE and regular) $0.62 (HE and regular)

Recommended temperature

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


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

Pediatrician and dermatologist approved
Allergen-free Hypoallergenic
Dermatologist approved


100% biodegradable
No dyes or harsh chemicals
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 No

Recommended for (by manufacturer)

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 -- --


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

Ingredients listed on the website

Yes, with detailed information Yes Yes, with detailed information Yes

Organic ingredients

Yes, plant-based -- -- --

Septic/Greywater safe

Yes -- -- --

Made in


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

*Prices at the time of publication-subject to change.

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.

Check Silk Detergent Prices


Silk Sense: Why Enzyme Detergent is Bad for Silk Fabric

One of the most gratifying aspects of our work at Mulberry Park Silks is being able to educate our clients to the many benefits of silk. We often tout that silk is wonderful for hair and skin because it is a natural, protein-based fiber. This is a good thing! However, when it comes to choosing the best detergent for silk, silk’s protein structure must be taken into consideration, and this means avoiding any detergent (even a gentle one) that contains laundry enzymes.

Why is this? Laundry enzymes are natural compounds that are included in detergents to break down stains. Many stains—including blood, sweat and other body fluids, eggs, cheese, dairy, and more—are protein-based. Even fatty and oil-based stains contain some protein. Enzyme laundry detergents break down the various proteins found in common stains. Because silk is protein-based (made from the cocoon of a silk worm), regularly washing silk bedding, a silk garment, or any silk item with an enzyme detergent will break down its fibers and damage the integrity of the fabric. This is why you should never use an enzyme or biological detergent to wash silk or other protein-based fibers such as wool, cashmere, alpaca, furs, or feathers.

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.