How to Wash and Care for Velvet Bedding
Caring for velvet comforters, blankets, pillow covers, and sheets is simple if you take the time to read the care label instructions. Genuine velvet is made from silk, but today's velvet pieces are more likely made from natural or synthetic fibers or a blend. Washing velvet bedding at home or in a laundromat doesn't require any special products and is easy if you follow just a few rules to keep everything soft and lint-free.
All bedding sold in the United States is required to have a care label that will tell you if the item is washable and what water temperature and drying cycle to use. Most velvet bedding can be machine-washed on the gentle cycle or by hand, though the manufacturer may recommend dry cleaning only due to the instability of dyes or the inner structure of a pillow or comforter.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Bathtub or large plastic tub
- Clothesline or drying rack
- Gentle laundry detergent
- Wool dryer balls
|How to Wash Velvet Bedding|
|Water Temperature||Cool or cold|
|Washer Cycle||Gentle or hand-wash|
|Drying Cycle Type||Low heat or air-dry|
|Special Treatments||Pre-treat stains and wash only with fabrics that do not produce lint|
|Ironing Settings||Use a steamer or steam iron to lift fibers; do not use hot iron|
|How Often to Wash||Weekly for sheets, pillowcases; whenever needed for throws, comforters|
How to Machine-Wash Velvet Bedding
Make sure to read the care labels on your velvet bedding. Velvet fabric can be made of several different materials, and this will determine the best way to wash it. Most bedding items sold as velvet are actually artificial velvet, made from nylon, polyester, rayon, or blends, and these can be easily washed in a machine.
Sort the Laundry
Velvet bedding should be washed with similar colors to prevent dye transfer. Ideally, velvet should be washed alone or with fabrics that do not produce lint. Never wash with cotton towels or bedding; they will shed and leave little balls of lint on the velvet fibers.
If there are visible stains, pretreat the area with a few drops of a gentle detergent. Use your fingers to work the detergent into the stain and let it sit for five to 10 minutes before washing.
Prepare the Washer
A large-capacity front-loading washer is best for large velvet comforters or duvets. Velvet bedding should be machine-washed in cold or cool water and rinsed in cold water. If using a washer, choose the gentle cycle, which has less agitation and a slower spin cycle to help prevent damage to the fibers. Use a gentle detergent without added fabric softeners to wash the bedding.
Do not use too much detergent. Any residue left in velvet fibers will make them stiff and cause matting. Never use harsh detergents or any type of bleach on velvet.
Load and Wash the Bedding
If using a washer with a center agitator, load the bedding evenly around the washer drum. Never overload the washer with too many pieces, or your velvet will have excessive wrinkling.
Dry the Bedding
Velvet bedding can be air-dried on a clothesline or drying rack or dried in an automatic tumble dryer on low heat. Never dry on high heat.
Add some wool dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the velvet and speed drying.
How to Hand-Wash Velvet Bedding
Velvet bedding made with genuine silk or a silk-synthetic blend should always be washed by hand, and most items will advise air drying rather than machine drying. But always follow the advice of the care labels.
|Dryer Cycle Type||Low-temperature fluff cycle, or air-dry|
|Special Treatments||Spot treat stains before washing|
|Iron Settings||Do not iron|
|How Often to Wash||Weekly for sheets, pillow cases; whenever needed for throws, bedspreads|
Visible stains should be treated with a few drops of gentle detergent rubbed into the stained area with your fingers. Let the detergent work for five to 10 minutes, then proceed with hand-washing.
Mix Washing Solution
Fill a bathtub, large sink, or plastic tub with cool water and a small amount of gentle detergent. Use your hands to disperse the detergent throughout the tub.
Wash the Bedding
Add the bedding and gently push it into the water so it is thoroughly wet. Leave the bedding soak for about 10 minutes. Then, use your hands to gently squeeze the soapy water through the bedding. Do not scrub or squeeze too much.
Drain Wash Water
Lift the bedding from the tub, gently squeezing out the water. Do not wring. Drain the soapy water and refill the tub with clean, cool water.
Rinse the Bedding
Add the bedding to the rinse water and swish through to rinse. Repeat if needed if the water seems very soapy. After rinsing, gently squeeze the excess water from the bedding.
Dry the Bedding
Follow the advice of the care tag when drying your bedding. With true silk velvet, the instructions may indicate that it must be air-dried, but most forms of velvet can be dried in a clothes dryer set to fluff or low-heat.
What Is Velvet Bedding?
Velvet bedding lends an air of luxury and elegance to any bedroom. The plush textures are soft, cozy, and perfect for relaxing. However, the term velvet bedding is a bit of a misnomer, since almost all bedding with a plush feel—velour, microfiber, flannel, or real velvet—is marketed and sold as velvet bedding.
True velvet is a silk textile woven with vertical tufted fibers that are cut short to create a dense pile that is exceedingly soft to the touch. Modern forms of silk velvet are often blended with additional rayon or synthetic fibers—pure silk velvet is rare, especially for bedding. Whether they are pure silk or a silk-synthetic blend, this type of velvet fabric is quite expensive.
But it is more likely that your "velvet" bedding is actually synthetic velvet—made entirely from polyester, nylon, rayon, or a blend of synthetics, but woven using the classic silk-velvet method that creates a short pile that is wonderfully soft to the touch. Another form of artificial velvet, usually known as velveteen, is a cotton or cotton-silk blend.
Treating Stains on Velvet Bedding
Most stains on velvet bedding are easily treated by simply rubbing in a little gentle detergent on the stained area prior to washing. If the stain is especially oily, some ordinary grease-cutting dish soap often does the trick. With stubborn stains such as blood, you may have success with hydrogen peroxide. Never use bleach on velvet. Commercial spot cleaners generally use harsh chemicals; don't use them on velvet before testing them out on a hidden area of the item.
Velvet Bedding Care and Repairs
Keep velvet throws and blankets out of direct sunlight, if possible, as this can cause colors to fade. Velvet can become matted and crushed with heavy use, and you can restore the softness of the pile by brushing it with a soft brush. Using a steamer on the back side of the fabric may also help restore the crushed nap.
Tears in velvet fabric can be stitched, but such repairs will be quite visible. Another method is to use an adhesive flannel patch applied to the back side of the fabric—commercial patch kits are widely available. Carefully pressing the edges of the torn fabric together against the patch can sometimes successfully hide the flaw.
Storing Velvet Bedding
Avoid stacking folded velvet bedding under other items, as the pressure can crush and flatten the nap. Before storing velvet sheets and blankets away for the season, it's best to launder and thoroughly dry them. Velvet items are best stored in a manner that allows them to breathe, rather than in sealed plastic bins, where they may grow musty. If you want, you can separate stacked items with craft paper to improve air circulation.
How Often to Wash Velvet Bedding
Velvet sheets and pillowcases should be washed weekly to remove body soil. If you are using top sheets and don't have pets on the bed, velvet blankets, comforters, or duvet covers require washing no more than once a month, or when spills or stains are visible.
Tips for Washing Velvet Bedding
- Always follow care label instructions.
- Odors can be removed by adding a little white vinegar to the wash water.
- Lift matted fibers and remove wrinkles with a clothes steamer.
- Never wash or dry velvet with lint-producing fabrics
What is the advantage of dry-cleaning velvet?
With true velvet made with natural silk, dry-cleaning will protect the pile and prevent it from becoming flat and crushed, as can sometimes happen with hand- or machine-washing in water. But it is not necessary with most modern forms of velvet, which are usually blended with other fabrics.
Is "velvet flannel" a true velvet?
The term "flannel" is used for a fabric woven with especially soft, fluffy threads that create a very soft material. When a flannel item is described as "velvet flannel," it is intended to resemble the pile-weave of velvet. But it does not use the genuine velvet weave method; it is usually made of cotton that has been brushed to make it soft and fluffy. Thus, "velvet flannel" is not a genuine velvet fabric, but rather a form of cotton.
What is "velvet microfiber"?
You may see some bedding and clothing items marketed as "velvet microfiber." These are not true velvet, but rather a fabric made from polyester fibers cut and woven in a manner that gives it a feel and texture similar to velvet, though with a different manufacturing process. washing microfiber items is done the same way as for velvet.
What is "velvet microfleece"?
Microfleece is a textile made of polyester fibers woven in a manner that gives it the feel and performance characteristics of wool. When the term "velvet" is added to the name, it means that the microfleece has closely clipped fibers that give the fabric a velvet-like feel. This fabric, too, can be washed using the same techniques described above.