Your Cart

You have FREE shipping!


Cotton Pillowcase (2-pack)

Antimicrobial Sleep | Extra 20% OFF

$35.00 $28.00

Sleepgram Silk Pillowcase

Perfect Skin & Hair | Extra 20% OFF

$75.00 $60.00

Cotton Silvadur™ Sheet Set


$110.00 $88.00

Contour Knee Pillow

Knee & Spine Health | Extra 20% OFF

$50.00 $40.00

Sleepgram Mattress Protector

No Unwanted Stains | Extra 20% OFF

$45.00 $36.00

Home  / News

Cotton vs. Silk Pillow Covers: Which Is Best?

The debate between cotton and silk pillow covers is ongoing. There’s nothing like laying your face against a comfortable fabric when snuggling into bed, but which one is best?

Adequate rest helps improve your brain’s performance and enhances your mood. Disrupted sleep could increase the risk of obesity and heart disease. 

There’s more to a pillowcase than the luxury feel. Choosing a high-quality material also ensures good health for your hair and skin and impacts your overall well-being.

Cotton is an age-old fabric. It’s used for items like clothing, towels, and bedding. Cotton pillow covers draw away moisture from your skin, keeping you cool in warm conditions.

Silk has been trending in recent years. While many choose it for its elegant look and plush feel, it has other benefits, too. Its hypoallergenic qualities offer relief for sensitive skin. A silk pillow cover can also keep you cool while preventing hair breakage and frizz.

Each type of pillow has its pros and cons. Learn about the best pillow covers and discover if silk or cotton is the better choice.

Cotton pillow covers

Cotton is a versatile and extensively used natural fiber. It has unique qualities and various applications. You can find different types of cotton with a range of familiar characteristics.

Here are the main features of cotton pillowcases

  • Softness and comfort: Cotton fiber isn’t initially soft, but it becomes gentler after a few washes. It allows for air circulation with its breathable qualities. This material disperses heat, keeping you cool. Quality and softness make a cotton pillow cover ideal for a peaceful sleep.
  • Durability: Cotton fibers have notable strength and durability. Their resilience can sustain frequent washes and regular use. It also easily retains its shape.
  • Adaptability: Recoloring this fabric is effortless, and it’s also absorbent, making cotton pillow covers suitable for all conditions. 
  • Hypoallergenic: Pure cotton is allergy-friendly. It wicks away moisture, which reduces the risk of fungal and bacterial growth. It’s also unlikely to irritate those with sensitive skin.

Types of cotton

The versatility of cotton shows in the different types that are available. Each variety of cotton has its own distinct qualities.



Prima is ultra soft. It’s one of the few types of cotton that has uniquely long fibers. It’s safe for machine washing and tumble drying. The extra long staples (ELS) make these cotton pillow covers resistant to pilling.


This type of cotton comes from Egypt. Cotton grown in other regions isn’t the same, as this country has the ideal climate for growing it.

The threads are handpicked, adding to the softness and durability. It’s also pill-resistant and doesn’t produce lint. 

Egyptian cotton holds its color well and doesn’t fade easily over time. It’s also breathable, ensuring you remain cool when the conditions are hot. The aesthetic look of this cotton makes it appealing. Some of the softest pillows are made of this fabric.


Upland cotton comes in long and short staple and has hypoallergenic properties. Its permeable qualities prevent overheating. It provides great comfort and welcoming snugness.

This type of cotton doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that are often in synthetic fabrics. It’s a great benefit for those with sensitive skin.


Cotton grown without pesticides is organic. Unlike synthetic fibers, it’s eco-friendly. It’s also hypoallergenic, making it a safe choice for those with allergies. It’s not as harsh as blended cotton, either.

Organic cotton is light, soft, and durable. Its breathable qualities are more prominent than in the non-organic option. It keeps you cool in warmer climates and snug in cooler conditions. Many favor organic cotton pillows, as they promote healthier living.

The pros and cons of cotton pillow covers

Choosing the best pillow covers requires careful consideration of the pros and cons of cotton.

Pros of cotton pillow covers

Cotton fibers have specific characteristics that distinguish them from other fabrics. These features make them a great choice for pillow covers:

  • Cotton is soft and retains its feel for a long time, adding comfort to a quality pillow.
  • Cotton is a strong and tough fiber that’s resistant to wear and tear.
  • The structure of cotton fibers makes this fabric breathable and allows easy airflow.
  • Caring for cotton is straightforward. It’s easy to machine wash and maintains its original shape.
  • Organic cotton is hypoallergenic, which is a safe option for sensitive skin.


Cons of cotton pillow covers

While cotton pillow covers have their benefits, there are some downsides, too. Consider the following factors when deciding whether you want cotton sleep pillows:

  • Cotton is a highly flammable material.
  • It wrinkles easily, so you may find yourself spending extra time ironing.
  • Non-organic cotton isn’t hypoallergenic. Pesticides used in growing this fiber may harm your skin.
  • Its color may fade over time. While cotton holds up well when dyed, its color could bleed. You should wash colored items separately.
  • Washing at high temperatures could shrink this fabric.
  • While cotton permeates your perspiration, it also absorbs your facial moisture. This absorption may leave your skin feeling dry.

Silk pillow covers

Silk pillow covers originate from silkworms, unlike cotton, which grows in a field.

The most popular form of this fabric comes from silkworms found in the mulberry tree. The fiber from this source is mulberry silk. Weavers gather the threads from the cocoon and twist them together. This action creates thicker strands and stronger fabric.

Silk is highly valued as a luxury fabric. It has a stellar reputation as a bedding material. The longer fibers in 100% mulberry silk make it more sought after than the other varieties.

Here are some characteristics of a silk pillowcase:

  • Luxury texture: Silk pillow covers have a smooth, soft feel and add a touch of elegance to your bedding. They also provide exceptional comfort.
  • Natural sheen: Silk, with its natural gloss, has a chic aesthetic appearance.
  • Breathability: This fabric regulates your body’s temperature. It cools you down in warm conditions and retains warmth when it’s cold.
  • Hypoallergenic: As a natural fabric, silk has hypoallergenic properties. It’s gentle to the skin and unlikely to cause any allergic reactions. It repels dust mites and other allergens.
  • Durable: A silk pillow cover may seem delicate, but it’s quite strong. Its durable quality means it holds up well after regular use.

Skin and hair health benefits of silk

The benefits of silk pillows extend to the health of your skin and hair.

Benefits of silk for your hair

While silk absorbs moisture, it’s not as permeable as cotton. It doesn’t cause your hair to become dry and reduces breakage. Your hair will have a much shinier look after sleeping on a silk pillow cover.

The long fibers of this fabric give it a smoother surface, which reduces friction. Silk also lowers the chances of waking up with frizzy “bedhead” hair. All hair types can benefit from a silk pillow cover, but it specifically enhances textured and curly hair.

Benefits of silk for your skin

The smooth surface of silk benefits your skin. It lets you wake up with fewer creases on your face. Over time, you may even see a reduction in wrinkles.

Silk also keeps your skin hydrated. This benefit is a bonus for those with dry or normal skin. Silk can also soothe irritated skin. Those concerned about their acne may find it helpful.

The pros and cons of silk pillow covers

Many regard silk pillow covers as a great investment. While this fabric has unique qualities, it also has a few downsides.

Pros of silk pillow covers

Here are the pros of a silk pillow cover:

  • It improves your skin’s moisture level.
  • It’s hypoallergenic.
  • It regulates your temperature.
  • It may reduce facial wrinkles.
  • It prevents hair damage.

Cons of silk pillow covers

Here are the cons of a silk pillowcase:

  • It’s typically more costly than other fabrics.
  • It requires a higher level of maintenance.
  • It may shrink when exposed to extreme heat.
  • Its color may fade in direct sunlight and may also tear easily.
  • It stains easily.


Comparing comfort and sleep quality

One important thing to consider is the comfort of each fabric. Snuggling into a comfortable pillow cover could help improve your slumber.

Here are some things to consider when looking at silk vs. cotton in sleep quality:

  • Cotton pillow covers, while soft, are slightly rougher than silk. The softer feel of silk produces less friction and prevents the fabric from pulling your hair. 
  • Both fabrics have temperature regulating qualities. They keep you cool in warm conditions and help you rest peacefully on hot summer nights.
  • Organic cotton and mulberry silk are both ideal for those with allergies. Quality sleep comes easily when there are no irritants during the night.


Durability and maintenance

Resilient fabric is the basis of durable pillow covers. The way you care for it also increases its longevity. 


Silk is one of the strongest fabrics. Its hypoallergenic qualities make it resistant to mold and mildew, which adds to its longevity.

The difference in strength doesn’t mean that cotton isn’t durable. The manufacturing process of cotton contributes to its longevity. Cotton, especially organic, has great fortitude, too. Blending it with other materials reinforces its strength.


When it comes to the maintenance of these fabrics, it’s essential to follow the care label instructions.


Cotton is safe for machine washing, but avoid using hot water, as it causes shrinkage. Lukewarm, cold water, or hand wash are safer options.

Maintaining silk pillow covers requires extra effort. While you can machine wash it on a gentle cycle, hand wash is preferable for silk. The detergent should be mild to protect its quality. Avoid using fabric softener.


Cotton pillow care includes air drying and avoiding direct sunlight. When tumble drying, use low heat. Adding wool dryer balls to the dryer helps reduce drying time. 

Silk isn’t as strong when it’s wet. After washing it, avoid wringing it dry or twisting the fabric. Remove excess moisture on silk gently with a dry towel. When needed, tumble dry silk bedding on low heat, removing it while still damp. Finish with air-drying.

Long-term care

Set the temperature on low to avoid scorching silk when ironing it. Place a cloth between the iron and the fabric to reduce the heat. Cotton is more forgiving than silk when it comes to maintenance and care.

Silk stains easily. Spills from food and drink can soil it, along with oils from your skin and hair. Spot treat stains with a mild detergent. Dabbing is better than rubbing due to the delicateness of the fabric.

Add distilled vinegar to your rinse water to reduce stains and soap residue. Try adding ½ cup to a machine rinse or ¼ cup to hand wash.

Wash cotton pillow covers every 3–4 days and silk pillow covers every 5–7 days. After multiple washes and use, the stitched edges of your silk pillow cover may fray or loosen. Resewing these edges will extend its usage.

Avoid creases when storing pillow covers by gently rolling them up. Replacing your pillow covers depends on how often you use and change them. They generally need to be replaced every 1–2 years. Washing your face before bed could extend your pillowcase’s lifespan.

Your perfect pillow: Cotton or silk?

Your bedding matters when it comes to good quality sleep. Choosing pillow covers that bring comfort and offer health benefits is important.

Many people have used cotton pillow covers and bedding for years. With silk becoming popular in recent years, there’s a debate on which fabric is best.

Each pillowcase has its own unique qualities. While cotton is breathable and absorbent, silk is luxuriously soft and strong, providing an aesthetic appearance.

Cotton pillow care is easier than silk, but silk pillow covers have more benefits for your hair and skin. The cost of silk is slightly higher than cotton, but it’s a worthwhile investment when you consider its longevity.

In the end, the choice is yours. Whether you choose cotton or silk, you can find high-quality pillow covers at Sleepgram.