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Silk vs Cotton Pillowcases – Advantages, Disadvantages, and Which Is Better for You?

More and more people have started to realize the big role of pillowcases, especially on skin,  hair and sleep quality. When it comes to the fabric of pillowcases, silk and cotton are regularly mentioned and debated. Both of them are the epitome of high-quality natural fabrics and boast different properties. Are they alternatives to your old pillowcases? Torn on which one is better?

If your answer is yes, this post is for you. In the following text, we will walk you through the main characteristics of silk & cotton pillowcases, including their advantages and disadvantages. Please read to the end, then you can figure out the factors to consider in your choice and decide which is the right one for you.

silk pillowcase vs cotton pillowcase

Silk Pillowcases: Choice for Comfort and Beauty

If you are a rush reader, here comes the result you need. You are supposed to choose silk pillowcases when: 

  • You enjoy the special comfort of silk. Silk pillowcases offer a cool feeling with their exceptionally soft and smooth touch.
  • You are an allergy sufferer. Silk pillowcases are hypoallergenic by fabric and have good hygiene.
  • You attach importance to appearance and texture. Silk pillowcases are of aesthetics and luxury.
  • You are a beauty obsessive. Silk pillowcases are beneficial for the skin and hair.

Cotton Pillowcases: Choice of Cost Performance

On the other hand, you can choose cotton pillowcases when: 

  • You are on a tight budget. Cotton pillowcases are cost-efficient but durable.
  • You are not a stomach sleeper or seldom toss and turn at night. 
  • You are a night sweater. Cotton pillowcases have superior absorbency.
  • You do not want to pay extra attention to washing your pillowcases. Cotton pillowcases have low demands in maintenance.

An Ultimate Comparison of Silk vs Cotton Pillowcases

Before deepening the debate between silk vs cotton pillowcases, let us quickly browse these two things. 

Silk Pillowcase Cotton Pillowcase
texture soft, smooth; cool but not chilly fluffy, soft, not-so-smooth
appearance a natural sheen; luxurious and exquisite matte effect
moisture retention less absorbent; able to release water out highly absorbent
hygiene able to keep hygiene Lesser cleanliness
possibility of allergy low more respiratory allergens
durability durable under good maintenance highly durable
sustainability sustainable and eco-friendly impacting environment
maintenance require extra care saving time and energy

Composition and Texture

Silk pillowcases, without doubt, are made from one of the finest natural fabrics, silk. It derives its raw materials from the protein fibers of silkworm cocoons, which are soft, smooth and long. Moreover, they are tightly woven into fabrics. That being so, silk pillowcases exhibit exceptional softness and smoothness. 

Cotton pillowcases, are manufactured by one of the oldest natural fabrics, cotton. It stems from the plant cellulose within the cotton bolls. Endowed with the mission to protect seeds and facilitate seed dispersal, the fibers of cotton are soft, light and fluffy(able to both envelope seed and fly with the wind). Basically, cotton fibers are not very long and a common cotton yarn consists of several fibers twisting together. Consequently, some tiny fine hairs split out, and the cotton fabric’s surface is not as smooth as silk. Therefore, cotton pillowcases are an excellent touch of soft and fluffy, but not so smooth. 


Silk pillowcases assume an unparalleled luxury and elegance in appearance. One of the main reasons lies in that the delicate silk fibers are capable of refracting natural light from different angles. Thus, silk pillowcases radiate an exquisite sheen, and their dyeing hues display a vibrance within the natural luster. Besides, the shape and aesthetics of your pillows can fare better with silk’s superior draping performance.

Cotton pillowcases, on the other hand, keep a low profile in appearance. They assume different hues with an understated matte effect.

Breathability and Absorbency

Silk pillowcases are renowned for good breathability and hydroscopicity. They have a good performance in ventilating and absorbing excess water. Furthermore, they possess an incomparable regulation of moisture. To be precise, silk pillowcases not only wick away extra moisture but also release them away afterward. It is this excellent prowess that contributes to silk pillowcases’ prominent hygiene. Also, you enjoy the cool but not chilly feeling of silk pillowcases for this reason, that is, the fabric balances temperature while circulating air and moisture.

Cotton pillowcases have been long praised for their breathability and absorbency. They are better at moisture absorption and provide better breathable comfort than their silk counterparts. However, they release the absorbed moisture very slowly. Instead, they can retain a substantial amount of moisture. So in a humid environment, your cotton pillowcase will be damp.


Good hygiene is one of the determinants for choosing a pillowcase. From this perspective, the silk pillowcase reigns supreme. Above all, their tightly woven surface leaves little room for microorganisms and dust. Further, they absorb less human sweat and moisture in the air. Thus, they are less likely to get the odor attracting bacteria and are inhospitable for the breeding of microbes. 

On the contrary, cotton pillowcases’ rougher surfaces have some nooks and crannies. The common enemies of hygiene, like dust, pollen and mites, will accumulate and collect in them. Further, the high absorbency of cotton creates a positive environment for bacteria. All in all, cotton pillowcases do badly in the maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene.

Possibility of Allergy

Both silk and cotton are highly hypoallergenic. Unlike synthetic ones, natural fibers possess biocompatible properties and thus are extremely friendly for the skin. Silk and cotton are highly revered for this quality for they barely cause any irritation on the skin.  

However, the possibility of allergy does not fully hinge on the fabric itself. Cotton pillowcases have difficulty in maintaining good hygiene. For this reason, you may inhale more respiratory allergens while sleeping on cotton pillowcases, though cotton itself is hypoallergenic.


Silk pillowcases are durable conditionally. Their delicate fabrics have an obvious drawback, that is, snagging easily. So you should avoid the touch between your expensive silk and sharp or rough objects. However, silk fibers have a strong tensile strength and they can last for years under elaborate maintenance.

Cotton pillowcases have an unrivaled durability. They can withstand almost all the tests your everyday use sets to them. But here is one point, cotton pillowcases’ short fibers are liable to pilling under intensive tearing and wearing. You can change them regularly in case they pill. 


Silk pillowcases are made of sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics. Silk fabrics originate from animal fibers of silkworm cocoons. Scientifically, silk fibers are naturally resistant to bacteria and pests in order to protect the vulnerable pupae. What’s more, the manufacture of this fabric contains fewer chemical treatments. Additionally, silk pillowcases out-of-use can be recycled for retreatment and their degradation poses less pressure on the environment.

Cotton sheets are also biodegradable. However, the cultivation of traditional cotton involves much usage of water, fertilizers and pesticides. For sustainability pursuers, organic cotton is a preferable choice as it excludes much environmental contamination.


Silk pillowcases carry the high price of silk commodities. They are less affordable as luxuries.

Cotton pillowcases, by contrast, are much more economical. They provide long-lasting comfort at a lower cost. Therefore, the cotton pillowcase is a solid choice for customers with a low budget.


Silk pillowcases are more finicky in maintenance. They prefer hand washing and need extra care- cold water, mild detergent, gentle touch, etc. This may bring some disturbance for an occupied one.

Instead, cotton pillowcases are machine washable and require no special attention in maintenance. For those who hate the hassle and toil of laundry, cotton pillowcases are for you.

hand washing silk pillowcase

Silk vs Cotton Pillowcases, Which is Better for Your Skin and Hair?

There is likely to be a surge of interest in beauty now. Sleeping is not only just for rest, but also a chance to retain rejuvenation and improve beauty. Have you heard that the silk pillowcase is an investment for your skin and hair? Is it true?

For beauty pursuers, the debate between silk and cotton pillowcases can be settled quickly – Silk pillowcases tower over cotton ones. If you tend to toss and turn or are a stomach sleeper at night,  silk pillowcases help you decrease the creases caused by friction and extrusion. Oppositely, cotton pillowcases may pull and tug your facial skin. Do not overlook these marks, because they may be the onset of wrinkles and fine lines.

Besides, silk pillowcases absorb less moisture from your skin. They also have no interest in your expensive facial cream. That being so, you can have your beauty sleep with moisture and skin products staying on your face and wake up the next morning with your skin hydrated and nourished.

Another preoccupation for beauty obsessives is whether their pillowcase is good for their hair.

Silk pillowcases are both gentle on hair and able to retain hair’s moisture. As we mentioned above, their exceptionally soft and smooth surfaces rarely snag hair and cause less tangles and friction. Also, they are relatively low absorbent of the water in your hair. 


For customers, a greater level of clarity &understanding of products is necessary. Silk and cotton pillowcases differ in several aspects; each type has its own merits and demerits. You should have careful consideration before making a decision.

Sinosilk is a professional wholesaler of silk and silk products, and we provide custom silk pillowcases of high quality and the best services. If you are finding a trustworthy partner, have a conversation with us and we will not let you down.

More Resources

Bamboo vs silk pillowcasesSource: Sinosilk

How to wash silk pillowcases Source: Sinosilk

Silk vs cotton sheetsSource: Sinosilk

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