Pillowcase Fabric 101

A girl hugging a large pink pillow.

There's nothing like crawling into bed after a long day. Your pillowcase can make all the difference between a good night's sleep, and a night of tossing and turning. The pillowcase touches your face, so you should make sure it is a soft material.

Most materials are available in a wide selection of colors. To decide what fabric you like best, consider making a small test pillow and see how it feels. The deciding factors will probably be the cost and the feel of the material.

These eight fabrics all make good pillowcases. Read this guide and sleep on it, while you decide which is best for you.

1. Satin

Smooth and sensuous satin has been seen as the deluxe pillowcase material for many years. The smooth and shiny surface of satin is kind to your skin and seldom bunches up to leave crease marks on your face when you wake up in the morning. It is even believed by some that satin can help prevent facial wrinkles. Another benefit of satin is that your hair does not get as tangled at night as it does when your pillowcase is made of other materials. Instead of getting held by the satin, your hair slides across it.

2. Cotton

Freshly laundered and lightly starched cotton has a very crisp feel to it. It is absorbent and gentle on your skin. Cotton pillowcases will bunch up, however, and can make non-permanent crease marks on your skin. Cotton is cool to sleep on and absorbent. Cotton is generally affordable and can be found anywhere.

3. Flannel

A variety of pillows.

Flannel is a soft, loosely woven cotton material that gives a rustic appearance. Flannel is absorbent and warm to the touch, even in the cold.

4. Winceyette

Winceyette is a double-napped material also made from cotton. It feels similar to flannel in many ways but is lighter and cooler. The fabric can be turned inside out when one side is worn, which means it lasts longer than other pillowcases.

5. Nylon

Nylon is often used for pillowcases and is sometimes made to look like satin. Nylon is not absorbent and can make your face sweaty but is an easy-care fabric and dries quickly after being washed.

6. Velvet

A variety of pillows on a bed.

Ideally made of silk, velvet is a fabric with a pile that is very comfortable against your skin. Velvet can be made from cotton and polyester as well. Cotton velvet is frequently used for pillowcases. The deep pile of velvet can be hot in the summer but it is pleasantly warm most of the year. Velvet can be washed, but only gently.

7. Polyester

Polyester is a man-made fiber that is very popular for bed linens. It doesn’t feel like a natural fiber but it lasts a long time. Polyester is not absorbent and is often mixed with cotton to make it more absorbent.

8. Linen

Linen is a natural product of flax. Once commonly produced, linen is now quite expensive because it is no longer made in bulk. Linen has a very unique feel to it and it cannot be mistaken for any other material. Like satin, it is recognized for its quality.

These eight materials are all soft, making them excellent choices for a pillowcase.