A Beginner's Guide to Buying Silk Pillowcases

A Beginner's Guide to Buying Silk Pillowcases

Silk pillowcases are becoming increasingly popular due to their many benefits for hair and skin. Unlike cotton pillowcases, silk pillowcases provide a smooth, non-absorbent surface that doesn't strip moisture and natural oils from skin and hair while you sleep. Using a silk pillowcase can help reduce bedhead, split ends, facial creases, and even acne breakouts. The slippery texture of silk also allows you to reposition your head on the pillow with less friction compared to cotton. This may lead to fewer sleep interruptions. Overall, upgrading to a silk pillowcase can make a noticeable difference in the health and appearance of your skin and hair over time.

Types of Silk

Silk pillowcases come in a few different types of silk fabric. The two most common are mulberry silk and tussah silk.

Mulberry Silk

Mulberry silk is the highest quality and most popular type of silk. It comes from silkworms that are fed a diet of mulberry leaves. This results in a very soft, smooth, and lustrous fabric. Mulberry silk is delicate yet durable. It has natural hypoallergenic and moisture wicking properties that make it ideal for pillowcases. Mulberry silk pillowcases are less likely to absorb dirt and oil compared to cotton pillowcases. And you can check our Downyhaven mulberry silk pillowcase for more details.

Tussah Silk

Tussah silk, also known as wild silk, comes from silkworms that feed on oak and juniper leaves. This type of silk has a coarser texture and a subtler sheen compared to mulberry silk. Tussah silk pillowcases are more affordable but not as soft and delicate as mulberry silk. However, tussah silk is still moisture wicking and gentle on hair and skin. It's a decent option if you want silk pillowcases on a budget.

Thread Count

When shopping for a silk pillowcase, one of the most important factors to consider is the thread count. Thread count refers to the number of threads woven together per square inch of fabric. For silk specifically, here are some guidelines on ideal thread counts:

  • 600-800 - This is generally considered the sweet spot for silk pillowcases. A thread count in this range will provide a nice balance of softness, durability, breathability and affordability. Silk with a count in this range feels smooth and luxurious against the skin.

  • 400-600 - Silk on the lower end of this range can still feel soft, but may be a bit thinner and less durable over time. The quality can vary more in this range, so be sure to read reviews. Still, a 400-600 thread count silk pillowcase can be a good budget option.

  • 800-1200 - A higher thread count silk pillowcase will feel extremely soft, smooth and potentially last longer. However, once you get above 1000, the difference becomes less noticeable. And higher thread counts come with higher prices. So an 800-1200 thread count silk pillowcase is great for a luxury splurge.

  • Above 1200 - Exceptionally high thread counts above 1200 start to provide diminishing returns. The silk may feel a tiny bit softer, but the difference is negligible versus an 800-1200 thread count. And very high thread counts are usually the most expensive options. So they are not necessary for most people.

The bottom line is aim for a thread count in the ideal 600-800 range for the best balance of quality, comfort and price in a silk pillowcase. Go higher if you want an ultra-luxurious splurge pillowcase. But very high thread counts above 1200 are not essential to get a good night's sleep. Focus more on construction, breathability, certifications and reviews to find your perfect silk pillowcase match.


When shopping for silk pillowcases, you'll need to pay attention to the size to ensure a proper fit on your pillow. There are a few standard pillowcase sizes to be aware of:

  • Standard - These are designed to fit most pillows and measure around 20 x 26 inches. They will fit twin or queen pillows.
  • King - For larger king size pillows, look for pillowcases that measure around 20 x 36 inches. King pillowcases are longer to accommodate the larger pillow size.
  • Euro - Euro pillowcases are sized at approximately 26 x 26 inches and fit square shaped pillows.
  • Body - These extra long pillowcases measure around 20 x 42 inches to fit body length pillows.

Knowing your pillow dimensions before shopping is helpful to find the right silk pillowcase size. Measure your existing pillows to determine if you need standard, king or another special size. Some silk pillowcase sets will include pillowcases in more than one size to accommodate different pillows on the bed.


The construction of a silk pillowcase is an important factor in determining its quality and durability. Two key elements to look for are French seams and envelope closures.

French Seams

A French seam is a special sewing technique where the raw edges of the fabric are fully enclosed inside the seam. This creates a clean finished edge on both the front and back of the pillowcase. French seams are more durable, help prevent fraying, and give a pillowcase a more high-end, luxury feel. The extra step of folding the fabric inwards and sewing a second line of stitching ensures no raw edges are exposed.

Envelope Closures

Envelope closures are the preferred closure style for silk pillowcases. An envelope closure forms an overlapping flap that tucks inside the pillowcase opening. Often there are small ties or ribbon loops sewn into the flap and case to keep the pillow secure. Envelope closures allow the pillowcase to have a tidy, seamless look compared to closures with zippers or buttons. The overlap design also prevents the pillow from slipping out during the night.

French seams and envelope enclosures are hallmarks of well-constructed, quality silk pillowcases. When shopping, look for these features to ensure durability and longevity.


Silk pillowcases require gentle care to preserve their soft, smooth texture. Here are some tips for properly washing, drying, and storing your silk pillowcases:


  • Handwash or use a gentle cycle in the washing machine with cold water. Hot water can damage silk fibers.
  • Use a mild, gentle detergent made for delicates. Avoid regular detergents which can strip the natural oils in silk.
  • Do not bleach or use fabric softener, as these can leave residue on the silk.
  • Wash similar colors together, as silk is prone to color bleeding. Wash whites separately.


  • Allow pillowcases to air dry on a flat surface or drying rack. Do not hang silk or it may stretch out of shape.
  • Avoid direct sunlight which can fade colors. Dry in a shaded area.
  • You can also dry on low heat in the dryer if needed, but air drying is best.


  • Fold pillowcases gently and avoid harsh creases. Store in a cool, dry place like a drawer or linen closet.
  • Use fabric bags or boxes to prevent snagging.
  • Avoid plastic containers which prevent airflow and can encourage mildew.
  • Refrain from ironing silk pillowcases when possible. If needed, use lowest heat setting.

Following these care guidelines will help silk pillowcases retain their luxurious feel and prevent damage over time. With proper washing, drying, and storage, high-quality silk can last for many years.


Silk pillowcases can range quite a bit in price depending on the quality of the silk fabric and construction. Here are some general price ranges:

  • Low ($20-50) - These are often polyester or silk-polyester blend pillowcases. They may feel nice initially, but likely won't stand up over time.

  • Mid ($50-100) - Look for 100% mulberry silk in this range. Avoid "silk-like" fabrics. Construction may be decent but not excellent. A good option for trying out silk.

  • High-End ($100-200) - Premium long-strand mulberry silk with excellent construction. More durable, softer, and longer-lasting. Worth investing in if you'll use it daily.

  • Luxury ($200+) - Top-of-the-line silk with very high thread count, like 22 momme. Often handmade with French seams. The ultimate silk pillowcase experience.

The most important factors are the type of silk and the quality of construction. With proper care, even a mid-range silk pillowcase can last several years, while a cheap polyester one may only last months. Invest in the best quality you can afford. Your skin and hair will thank you!

Quality Indicators

When purchasing a silk pillowcase, there are a few key indicators to look for to ensure you are getting a high quality product. Always check for the certifications before buying pillowcases, as they can ensure the quality.

  • OEKO-TEX certification - This certification indicates the silk was tested for harmful substances and meets certain environmental and safety standards. OEKO-TEX tests for over 100 potential harmful substances, so it provides peace of mind.

  • GOTS certification - The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification ensures the silk was produced sustainably and ethically from start to finish. From the mulberry farms where the silkworms are raised to the dye houses, GOTS tracks and audits the entire supply chain.

  • Certified organic - Organic silk comes from silkworms fed only organic mulberry leaves and is not treated with chemicals during processing. Look for reputable organic certifications like USDA Organic.

Here at Downyhaven, we have certifications for all of our pillows, and we got them not because we want to show them off, but because we are confident about our pillows.



Silk pillowcases can make a luxurious addition to your bedroom and provide various benefits like reducing bedhead and wrinkles. Here are some final tips when shopping for silk pillowcases:

  • Focus on finding 100% mulberry silk or charmeuse silk for best quality. Avoid "silk blend" pillowcases.

  • Look for a momme weight of at least 19 momme, preferably 22 momme or more. Higher momme count means more durable, long-lasting silk.

  • Carefully check sizing charts and measure your pillow to get the right fit. Fitted silk pillowcases are ideal.

  • Examine the construction quality - look for French seams, tight stitching, and reinforced seams. Avoid loose threads.

  • Hand wash in cold water and hang dry for best care. Avoid bleach and ironing directly on the silk.

  • Expect to pay $50-100+ for a quality silk pillowcase. High-end brands can cost over $200.

  • Read reviews and buy from reputable brands known for silk bedding like Slip, Lilysilk, or Brooklinen.

With some diligent shopping, you can find beautiful, comfortable silk pillowcases to enhance your sleep experience. Focus on quality over price alone for the best long-term value. Enjoy the luxurious feel of silk!