The Complete Guide to Pillow Case Cleaning

Your pillowcase is the closest bedding material to the skin of your face. Don't be deceived by its looks, your pillowcase picks up dust, sweat, and sometimes saliva which can all end up giving you rashes and blisters over time if not properly cleaned.

But how do you clean a pillowcase? You should check your user manual to get information on how to best wash your pillowcase. But depending on the material of your pillowcase, there may be a few variations on how to wash it properly. Keep reading for a complete guide to your pillow case cleaning.

The Pillow Case Cleaning Basics – What You Need to Know

Your pillowcase is delicate because it comes in direct contact with your skin. As such, you need to treat them in a similar manner as you would treat your own clothes.

Before washing your pillowcase, it is of great importance to first go through the fabric care label carefully to understand what is acceptable and what is not.

You should make it a habit of washing your pillowcase every week. If you cannot keep up, however, then make it every 2 weeks at least. 

Apart from timing, you need to take note of the material from which your pillowcase is made of. It will guide you to properly wash your pillowcase. 

Different Pillow Case Materials And How To Hand Wash Them


Cotton pillowcases are very common. They are breathable and easy to wash. Put a cotton pillowcase in warm water and add a detergent then scrub gently.

If your cotton pillowcase is bright or dark colored, then avoid washing it in warm water to prevent fading of the pillowcase.


Nylon is a synthetic fiber and a common pillowcase material. It is easier to wash compared to cotton and dries pretty fast.

Excessive washing of nylon pillowcases using washing machines may cause wearing of the pillowcase reducing the lifespan of your pillowcase. Hand washing your nylon pillowcase is the best option for an optimized lifespan.

Handwash your nylon pillows with any regular detergent in cold water for effective washing.


Satin is a high-quality bedding material. Its smooth texture is perceived in its pleasant feel to the skin.

It is best to hand wash your satin pillowcase in cold water using a gentle detergent after 5 minutes of soaking. Never twist your satin pillowcase after washing to prevent damaging it permanently. 


Silk pillowcases are very similar to the satin pillowcase, they are just more delicate and should often be hand washed to maintain the quality and lifespan of the pillowcase.

Wash your silk pillowcase in cold water using a gentle detergent. Air dry your pillowcase and choose the coolest setting when ironing. 


Linen is a durable and lightweight fabric used as bedding material.

For hand washing, use a mild detergent to soak your linen pillowcase in lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Don’t twist or wring the pillow to prevent stretching the pillowcase.

How to Machine-Wash Your Pillow Case 

Before using a washing machine for your pillowcase, ensure you have read the care label and adhere strictly to the instructions.


The cotton pillowcase can be washed with a machine. Warm water and a normal cycle will get your cotton pillowcase sparkling clean. If after washing, your pillowcase becomes too wrinkled, get it ironed and you are good to go. 


To machine-wash a pillowcase made of nylon, always use cold water to reduce the tendency for wrinkling or fading which is very common with nylon pillowcases. Also, use detergents that are specific for synthetic materials like nylon for a cleaner result.


It is best to handwash your satin pillowcases, but if you have to use a machine, then set it up for a cold water wash with a gentle detergent. Do not squeeze your satin after washing to prevent altering its normal shape


Always hand-wash your silk pillowcase whenever possible. For a machine wash, put your silk pillowcase in a washing bag to protect it from rough spots within the machine. Use a gentle cycle along with a gentle detergent to get the best result.


Linen pillowcases are easy to wash. Just use a gentle detergent and a cool temperature set-up. Air dry your pillowcase once you’re done.

How to Dry Your Pillow Case After Washing it in the Washing Machine

The best option to dry your pillowcases after washing them in a washing machine is to air dry them on a drying rack.

Air drying your pillowcase comes with a lot of advantages. 

  • It is cost effective
  • Environmentally friendly 
  • Helps maintain the quality of your pillowcase over time.

However, if time does not permit for air-dry, you can use a tumble dryer. For a pillowcase made of cotton, operate at a high-temperature setting.

Use a low-temperature setting for pillows made of either nylon or linen. 

Do not use a dryer for your silk pillowcases as they may get destroyed except if the label manual permits it. 


Can I Tumble Dry Pillowcase Made Of Silk?

Silk pillowcases are best air-dried. Even at low temperatures, their texture may still be negatively impacted by your dryer. However, always turn to your label care manual for the best options available on drying your pillowcase.

How Often Should I wash My Pillowcase?

Wash your Pillowcase every one to two weeks or whenever they’re dirty.

How Often Should You Change Your Pillowcase?

You should change your pillowcase every 1 to 2 years.

As we have discussed

Cleaning your pillowcase is as important as cleaning our clothes as they both come in contact with our bodies. It is even more important to keep our pillowcases clean since they come in contact with the skin of the face which is more sensitive and can be irritated easily. There are different materials from which pillowcases are made and each has its different properties and ways of cleaning. It is important to reference your care manual on how best to clean your pillowcase.