Silk Rescue: Mastering the Art of Removing Hair Dye Stains

Sleeping on silk is great for color-treated hair. Unfortunately, fresh hair color can stain your silk bedding. This article discusses hair dye stain removal for silk pillowcases, sheets, and bedding.

How to Clean Hair Dye from Silk Pillowcases, Sheets, and Bedding

Sleeping on silk is wonderful for your hair: it helps minimize bedhead, frizz, and tangles while keeping your hair naturally moisturized. And that goes double if your hair is color-treated; the gentle, nourishing environment of pure silk helps counteract the damage of hair dye, heat, and sun exposure. (A pillowcase from Mulberry Park Silks is wonderful for all types of dry hair, including gray hair, which tends to be wiry, and any type of coarse or natural hair).

Couple Doing Laundry Together

But as great as silk is for color-treated hair, fresh hair dye can stain your silk pillowcase and bedding (pro tip: until you’ve washed your newly dyed hair once or twice, don’t sleep directly on any high-quality pillowcase). The good news is that by treating the stain quickly you should be able to remove it without damage to your silk bedding.


Steps for Removing Hair Dye from Silk Pillowcases, Sheets, and Bedding

Model About To Wash Silk
  1. Act Fast: If you wake up and see hair dye stains on your silk pillowcase, move fast. You don’t want the hair dye stain to “set” in the silk and make it harder to remove.
  2. Soak the Silk Bedding in Cold Water: Start by soaking your silk pillowcase (or bedding) in cold water. Your Mulberry Park Silks pillowcases and sheets are washable and can be laundered in your washing machine, so get them soaking immediately. Gently agitate the silk between your hands to work on the stain (silk is a delicate fabric so you don’t want to rub too hard).
  3. Rinse under cold water from the “wrong” side of the fabric. Hold the dull side of your charmeuse silk pillowcase under a stream of cold water. The force of the water can help move the stain out of the silk from back to front.
  4. Pre-soak or pre-treat with an enzyme detergent. Although we don’t recommend washing silk with an enzyme-based laundry detergent, you can use it to pretreat a stain. (Note: we typically suggest using an enzyme-free mild detergent to wash silk sheets on a regular basis, as silk is itself a protein-based fabric that can be damaged by regular washing with enzyme detergents. Removing a difficult stain is one of the few exceptions where an enzyme cleaner formula is acceptable). Use a gentle, pH neutral formula and test first on an inconspicuous area.
  5. If the enzyme soak doesn’t work, use white vinegar. Dilute equal parts white vinegar with warm water to make a pre-soak, or—if the stain is stubborn—apply white vinegar to a clean cloth, paper towel, or cotton ball and blot the dye from the reverse side.

Silk Pillowcases are Wonderful for Color-Treated Hair

Model Adds Pillowcase to Mesh Bag

With the exception of the days immediately following color application (to prevent stains) we always recommend sleeping on silk to anyone who has color treated hair. Along with silk’s inherent properties of being soft, smooth, and naturally moisturizing, it’s important to understand the specifics of what the chemical treatment in hair dye does to hair:

  1. Ammonia in dye elevates the pH of your hair which lifts the cuticle. Your hair cuticle is a protective layer with overlapping “scales” somewhat like shingles on a roof. In healthy straight hair, these shingles lay flat (note: the scales on curly hair are already slightly elevated, which is why curly hair is even more susceptible to damage from color).
  2. The peroxide strips the current color.
  3. New color is deposited in the hair shaft.

While you may love the look of your color—we don’t judge, as we are salon regulars ourselves—the process of lifting, stripping and coloring damages your hair. Unfortunately, the effects of that damage are cumulative. Even so called “natural dyes” and simple bleach highlights are a risk for dried out hair and breakage. The more color you use, and the longer you color your hair, the greater the damage.

So for those of us who like to disguise our gray hairs, sleeping on silk is a wise decision. As we mentioned above, silk is a protein-based fiber loaded with moisturizing amino acids; in fact, silk protein, or sericin, is found in many salon-quality hair care treatments and conditioners. Furthermore, sleeping on cotton can exacerbate dry hair, as it is absorbent and pulls moisture away (the last thing we need when our tresses have already been damaged by color.)


Regular Care of Your Silk Pillowcases and Bedding

Older Woman Wqashing Silk
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Choosing the best detergent for your silk bedding is very important for keeping your Mulberry Park Silks bedding looking and feeling beautiful. For regular washing of silk sheets, pillowcases, and bedding we recommend Heritage Park Silk and Wool Laundry Detergent.

Silk bedding and sheets should be washed on the same schedule as any other bedding: whenever it needs it. Follow these simple steps for keeping your silk bedding looking and feeling beautiful and luxurious for a long time:

  • Always launder silk by itself in a 'silk-only' load
  • Turn the silk pillowcases inside out
  • Use mesh laundry bags when washing your silk bedding to prevent snags and tears inside the machine
  • Wash on a gentle or "silk" cycle in cool water
  • Never use fabric softener, which will leave residue on silk, or chlorine bleach, which will cause silk to yellow
  • In general, avoid using a commercial stain remover on silk
  • Don't wring your silk if it is still wet after the wash cycle; instead, blot it on a clean towel
  • Don't put your silk sheets in the dryer. Hang your silk to dry indoors or out side away from direct sunlight (sun can cause silk to fade)
  • Ironing silk is not necessary. Once you make your bed, the wrinkles in the silk will naturally release after a day or so. If you choose to iron, proceed with extreme caution and follow these directions.

To learn more about regular washing and care of your silk sheets, including how to hand wash silk, click here

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.