We use pillowcases to cover our pillows and add decorative flair to our beds. While most people use one common type of pillowcase, there are actually several different pillowcases on the market, each with its own advantages. So what are the different kinds of pillowcases available? We've researched them all to get the answer for you.
There are three main designs of pillowcases:
- Housewife - with an opening on one side with an inside flap at the open end used to tuck in the pillow.
- Oxford (including Mock Oxford) - a pillowcase with a thick border or flap along all of the edges. These are also used as sham pillows.
- Bag - this pillowcase has a simple opening on one side with no inner flap. Hotels and other lodgings typically use this type of pillowcase.
Pillowcases also differ by the fabric. There are five types of pillowcases by material -
- Cotton Pillowcases
- Polyester Pillowcases
- Satin Pillowcases
- Silk Pillowcases
- Flannel Pillowcases
- Throw Pillowcases
While most households use the housewife type of pillowcase, there are some benefits to the other kinds. We've outlined below what makes each kind unique. Keep reading to learn which pillowcase makes the most sense for your needs.
- Different Types of Pillowcases Designs
- Types of pillowcases by fabric
- Do I need to use a pillowcase?
- How do you keep pillowcases on?
- How often should I wash pillowcases?
- What can you do with pillowcases?
- In Summary
Different Types of Pillowcases Designs
The housewife is the most popular type of pillowcase. One side is sewn closed, while the other side has a wide opening for inserting your pillow. Pillows fit snugly in this design, and an inside piece of fabric on the open end secures your pillow in the pillowcase. This is the most widely available and affordable pillowcase on the market.
Oxford pillowcases are a little fancier than the housewife style. They have a border around all the edges, usually around two inches wide. A simpler or plain oxford pillowcase can be used as a primary pillow, but many use oxford pillowcases as decorative shams for their beds.
Bag pillowcases are most commonly used by hotels and other accommodations in the hospitality industry. They have an opening on one side for inserting the pillow but no inner flap to keep the pillow in the pouch. Hotels often fold the opening flap under the pillow to secure it in place. While still primarily used in hotels, bag pillowcases are becoming more common for the household market and included with bedding sets.
Types of pillowcases by fabric
Pillowcases come in many different fabrics and textures. You can choose which fabric to use based on comfort, durability, ease of care, or other factors. Some pillowcase fabrics offer unexpected benefits, such as claiming to be better for your skin. Below are some pros and cons of some of the more popular fabrics available on the market.
Cotton is a natural fabric that is durable and soft. It's breathable, which means your pillowcase will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Many find pure cotton pillowcases to be luxurious and easy to care for, but luxury also costs more than synthetic fabrics.
You can find cotton pillowcases in all sizes - standard, queen, king, and a body pillow. They also come in various colors, but they tend to be solids rather than elaborate designs. Some cotton products also tend to wrinkle. While you will pay more upfront for cotton pillows, many believe they will last long enough to make it worth the money.
This synthetic fabric is an affordable option for pillowcases. It is wrinkle-resistant and lightweight. Some are spun to mimic cotton, woven tightly into a microfiber, while others have a silky feel. But polyester can also run hot, absorbing your body heat and making you warm at night. Bedding experts also say polyester is more likely to have pilling problems and static cling. You can find polyester pillowcases in all standard sizes on the market.
Satin pillowcases are made from polyester but are processed to feel like silk. Many love sleeping on the smooth, cool fabric, and some bedding experts claim that satin pillowcases smooth out frizzy hair. It may also help reduce fine lines and wrinkles from developing on your face.
Silk pillowcases offer many of the same benefits as synthetic satin pillowcases; they may reduce frizz and facial wrinkles and are cool to the touch. But silk is a natural fiber, and many believe they provide an even better surface for your skin at night than satin. Silk pillowcases can also cost more than twice as much as satin pillowcases.
Flannel is soft and cozy, and many people eagerly await cold weather so that they can throw flannel sheets onto their beds. But that warmth may be too much for some sleepers and make their heads hot at night. If you have long hair, flannel may promote knots and frizziness. You also need to follow care instructions diligently, or you may damage the flannel. When choosing which flannel pillowcase to buy, try to choose a high-quality flannel. It will cost more, but cheaper flannel will pill and become ruined easier.
Do I need to use a pillowcase?
A fresh pillow is fluffy and sturdy, and some may be tempted to sleep on it without a covering. But a pillowcase protects your pillow from absorbing the dirt, oil, sweat, and skin that rubs off of your face and head at night. You can also regularly wash your pillowcase to ensure a clean spot for your head and face at night; if pillows are washed too often, they can become misshapen and lose their volume.
How do you keep pillowcases on?
Most pillowcases are designed to fit snugly around your pillow. But pillows can sometimes slip out of the side openings, especially if you move around a lot at night. The housewife pillowcase's inner flap was created to help prevent this problem, but some find that is not always enough. Here are some tips on keeping your pillow inside your pillowcase:
You can sew or glue velcro strips to the open end of your pillowcase. After you insert your pillow, connect the velcro for a semi-sealed opening.
If you are fairly proficient with a sewing machine, you can sew a zipper onto the end of your pillowcase to secure it closed. Or you can opt to buy a zipper-enclosure pillowcase.
For those who are not great at sewing, securing safety pins at the pillow opening is a simple and quick way to keep your pillow inside its casing.
Try a smaller pillowcase
Sometimes, pillows slip out of pillowcases that are too large. Measure your pillow before buying a pillowcase to ensure it will fit snugly and be less prone to allowing your pillow to slip out.
How often should I wash pillowcases?
Bedding experts say you should wash your pillowcases at least every two weeks, along with your sheets. Regular washing removes the sweat, dirt, and other buildup that accumulates on the bed while you sleep. If you have sensitive skin, washing once a week can help prevent skin issues. Those who are acne-prone or have more severe skin issues should wash pillowcases more often; experts recommend washing them or switching them out every two to three days.
What can you do with pillowcases?
While your pillowcase's primary job is to cover your pillow, there are many other ways you can use it around the house. So before you throw out those old pillowcases, give them new life by using them for these everyday tasks.
- Clean ceiling fans: Pull the pillowcase over each fan blade, hold the sides of the fan blade within the pillowcase gently, then pull along the edges of the fan blade to collect all the dust into the pillowcase. Repeat with all the fan blades. Dump out the dust in the trash can, then wash the pillowcase.
- Dust ceilings, corners, and other hard to reach areas: Tie a pillowcase around your broom and run it along your ceiling, tuck into corners, under sofas, or other hard to reach areas. The dust will collect on the pillowcase, and you can wash it as you normally would. You can clean surfaces without worrying about scratching them.
- Use as a delicates bag: Instead of investing in an expensive lingerie bag, throw your delicates into a pillowcase. Tie the open end, then throw it in the wash with your other delicates.
- Wash stuffed animals or shoes: You can wash your stuffed animals or shoes in the washing machine by first throwing them in a pillowcase. This will protect the plush fabric and keep your shoes together in one place during the spin cycle.
- Use as storage: You can tuck your folded sheets into a pillowcase to keep all the bedding pieces together. Store sweaters in pillowcases to create flat and more uniform spaces in your drawers. Or keep your shoes and purses in pillowcases to keep the dust off.
There are three primary types of pillowcases - housewife, oxford, and bag. The housewife and bag are most commonly used as regular pillowcases, while the oxford is often used for sham pillows. Pillowcases come in a variety of fabrics and colors, so you have lots of options when looking for the perfect pillowcase for your home.
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