Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Pillowcases protect the pillow from dirt and keep the skin clean and mites away when used frequently. This is particularly advantageous for allergy sufferers. The materials vary in feel and use, so one cushion cover may cool in summer while another warms in winter. The variety of colours, shapes and sizes offer the right one for every household.

With our large pillowcase test 2021 we would like to support you in finding the perfect pillowcase for your application. To give you a measurable comparison, we have compared and contrasted the most popular cushion covers. The advantages and disadvantages should help you with your purchase decision and make the choice easier.




Summary

  • Pillowcases protect you and your pillow from dirt and mites, while also feeling pleasantly soft on the skin.
  • Whether cotton, linen or silk, cushion covers are available in many different materials and sizes.
  • As a decorative accent or to create a pleasant room climate, cushion covers are also excellent because they can work wonders with their great colours, motifs or patterns.

The Best Pillowcase: Our Choices

There are cushion covers for every age, taste and preference. But not all cushion covers are the same or convince with their quality and washing machine resistance. We have therefore picked out the best cushion covers for you and put them under the microscope.

Buying and Evaluation Criteria of Pillowcases

To make sure you choose the ideal cushion cover, there are a few features to consider. In the following section, we show you the important features to look out for so that you can compare the many cushion covers.

In the following paragraphs, we define the individual purchase criteria in detail.

Material

The material of pillowcases is at least as varied as the colours and patterns. It is important to choose the right material to be able to fall asleep and lie down well. The head cushion cover in particular should be made of high-quality materials, because this is where there is frequent contact with the head and the sensitive skin of the face.

The most commonly used materials for pillowcases are as follows:

  • Silk: This noble product comes from the cocoons of the silkworm and was already a sought-after raw material in 200 AD. The fineness of the material is soft and delicate like a feather on the skin. The material has an amazing property, while it warms in winter, it feels cool and refreshing in summer. The great breathability also makes the material very desirable. However, cleaning is difficult, here you should go for low temperatures, hand washing or even professional cleaning.
  • Linen: Linen fabric is made from fibres of the flax plant and was originally used to make bed linen, as very high-quality fabrics could be spun from the fibres. When spun, the fibres give off a beautiful sheen and a noble structure. Linen is especially popular on hot summer days because it cools the skin and inhibits the absorption of bacteria. Just like cotton, linen is antistatic and absorbent.
  • Cotton: Fabrics made of cotton are particularly absorbent and allow the skin to breathe well. The natural fibre comes from the mallow plant, Gossypium, which is extremely pleasant to work with and dye. One reason why linen was replaced by cotton in earlier times. Cotton is soft on the skin and extremely robust. Many allergy sufferers choose cotton because the fabric can be washed well at high heat, kills bacteria and mites and yet does not shrink.
  • Polyester: This material is an all-rounder and a collective term for fabric made of cellulose, nylon and acrylic. The threads of these materials are particularly thin, comparable to half the thickness of silk threads. Polyester is very easy to care for and can be easily ironed, dried and does not lint. Although there are advantages for allergy sufferers, as bacteria cannot adhere, the fabric is not very breathable and can cause skin irritation. The silky sheen is also deceptive, as the fine fibres electrically charge other materials.
  • Blended fabric: This fabric is also called polycotton, because it is composed, usually 1:1, of polyester and cotton. The composite materials are very easy to care for. Due to their blended ratio, the fabric retains its shape even after a long time and is non-iron. The cotton content ensures absorbency, air permeability and a pleasant feeling on the skin.
Cushion covers are available in many different materials, so there is a suitable fabric for everyone.

Luxurious and expensive cushion covers are usually made of silk, damask or percale - these are particularly soft and supple materials. Less expensive alternatives are covers made of cotton, blended fabric or polyester.

Of course, there are many other materials or subcategories of the materials mentioned, such as mako satin, cotton satin, seersucker and percale, which are used to make pillowcases.

Haptic

Now that you know the fabrics, we can take a closer look at the haptics, i.e. the feel of the fabric surface. Here, too, you can already tell some differences from the look.

Name Material Haptic
Renforcé reinforced cotton This fabric uses a special weaving technique, plain weave. It has a medium-fine weave and feels smooth against the skin.
Seersucker crepe fabric This weave is very distinctive due to its three-dimensional crumpled surface. The crepe look is created by a certain embossing of the fabric or by a special weaving process in which the fabric shrinks during the first wash cycle.
Percale Egyptian cotton or blended fabric This fabric is woven very tightly and densely, like a blouse fabric. This creates a very fine and extremely smooth surface that is wonderfully soft to the touch.
Beaver woven cotton Beaver has a fine and dense weave that is roughened on one or both sides. This gives the fabric a texture similar to beaver fur. The thick, soft and cosy fabric thus has a warming property and is ideal for winter.
Flannel woven cotton, wool or a mixture of both flannel is very similar to beaver in feel, but flannel is considerably lighter. Unlike beaver, the fabric is also elastic and drapes well. If you want a particularly soft surface and still want to be cosy and warm in winter, we recommend fine flannel.
Terry cotton with microfibre content With this fabric, a distinction is made between terry, fabric loops on one side of the fabric only, and frontier, fabric loops on both sides of the fabric. Due to the loop weaving technique on one side, terry is much lighter. This fabric is popular for home textiles such as towels and bathrobes because it is gentle on the skin and absorbent.

Whether supple, natural or fluffy, there is a material to suit everyone. Depending on the area of application and season, different materials and also associated surface structures are recommended.

Size

Depending on which pillow you are planning a cover for, its size will also vary. A standard pillow according to German measurements has dimensions of 40 x 60, 40 x 80, 60 x 60 or 80 x 80 cm. In Austria, the standard size for a pillow is 70 x 90 or 60 x 80 cm. Because there are so many different sizes of pillows, a standard pillowcase size of 80 x 80 cm is often made.

There are many pillow sizes that also do not apply across countries. So it is ideal that pillowcases are available in just as many size units.

The pillow size is individual and varies according to use, so depending on your choice, you need to pay attention to the shape and size of the pillowcase before buying. It is important to know that if you have an 80 x 80 cm pillow, you should also buy an 80 x 80 pillowcase.

Pillowcases are even available in special formats and are thus also suitable for ergonomic pillows.

Of course, you can also find some special sizes. If you are a back or side sleeper, for example, ergonomic pillows or bolsters are often used, and these usually need a special cover.

However, since most cushion fillings are very flexible, they can be easily shaped when the cushion is covered.

Washing machine resistance

As mentioned in the materials section, pillowcases also come in a variety of fabrics. These also expect appropriate cleaning according to the quality and resilience of the fabric. Not every fabric can be washed in the washing machine without hesitation. However, a 60 degree washable cover is essential for allergy sufferers.

Material Care
Silk (Not) suitable for washing machines - gentle cycle or hand wash at maximum 30 degrees is recommended.
Linen Suitable for washing machines - wash natural linen at a maximum of 60 degrees, wash dyed linen at a maximum of 40 degrees. Use detergents without lead additives.
Cotton Machine washable - Wash white cushion covers at 60 to 90 degrees, do not wash coloured models hotter than 40 degrees to maintain luminosity.
Polyester Machine washable - the degree of washing may vary depending on the fabric blend, 40 degrees is usually recommended.
Blended fabric Please read the care instructions on the label.

The gentler you treat your cushion cover, the longer the colours, shapes or feel will remain on your skin.

Pillowcase : Frequently asked Questions and Answers

Practically everyone needs a cushion cover, and with it come countless questions. Which ones and the most important ones that should be clarified before buying, we have listed and explained in detail in the following section.

For whom is a cushion cover suitable and why do I need a pillowcase?

You probably already have a pillow. Does it feel soft and cosy and is it made just for you? Then you should definitely get a matching cushion cover for your poster. A pillowcase is a very practical and also a good-looking companion, because it keeps your pillow free from dirt and skin particles. This, in turn, is important so that your cushion is not exposed to direct damage and thus remains yours for longer.

Kissenhüllen

Three differently coloured pillowcases draped in pillows on a bed show how pillowcases can be skilfully used. (Image source: Christopher Jolly / Unsplash)

A pillowcase of the most common materials can be cleaned quickly and without much effort in the washing machine. Please follow the washing instructions on your cushion cover. Meanwhile, the cushion can be covered with another cushion cover. By quickly changing the covers, you can bring variety into your room. The many colours, materials and patterns allow you to design your room according to your own taste.

What types of pillowcases are there?

When we talk about types of cushion covers, we usually distinguish between the materials. To help you decide which material is right for you, we have compared the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material.

Silk pillowcase

Silk cushion covers are noble and a real natural product. We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of silk below.

Advantages
  • animal natural product
  • especially soft
  • shiny
  • delicate to robust
  • absorbent and breathable
  • cooling effect on the skin
  • well suited for allergy sufferers
Disadvantages
  • high-maintenance
  • high price

Silk has many positive properties, but is also very expensive to care for.

Linen pillowcase

Linen cushion covers are very stable and have the positive effect of cooling in summer and warming in winter. We show you what else linen can do in our comparison table.

Advantages
  • very soft
  • stable and tear-resistant
  • durable
  • wicks moisture away from the body
  • cools in summer, warms in winter
  • repels bacteria
Disadvantages
  • susceptible to creasing
  • no fabric softener
  • not suitable for spin cycle

Linen is very susceptible to creasing, but it can also give off a beautiful grain.

Cotton pillowcase

Cotton cushion covers are a real all-rounder and can offer many advantages. We show you below which positive ones are contrasted with the less good ones.

Advantages
  • soft
  • robust
  • durable
  • heat-resistant
  • absorbs a lot of moisture
  • easy to clean
  • good for allergy sufferers
Disadvantages
  • wrinkle-prone

The only real disadvantage with cotton pillowcases is that they are not non-iron. To get it really smooth, you will have to iron the pillowcase.

Beaver or flannel pillowcase

Beaver or flannel pillowcases are the perfect winter companion. They are fluffy and soft and keep you warm with their special surface. You can see what other properties the fabrics have in the table.

Advantages
  • fluffy soft
  • elastic
  • resistant
  • heat-resistant
  • warm in winter
  • breathable
  • temperature regulating
Disadvantages
  • not suitable for summer
  • rather heavy

Despite its many great properties in winter, the fabric is rather unsuitable for warm summer days.

Polyester cushion cover

Polyester pillowcases have a good balance in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages
  • particularly thin
  • tear-resistant
  • durable
  • absorbent
Disadvantages
  • charges electrically
  • little air circulation
  • you sweat quickly
  • no fabric softener

As you can see, polyester has both positive and negative properties. One plus point is certainly the material's durability.

Renforcé cushion cover

Renforcé is particularly allergy-friendly and ideal for use as a year-round pillowcase. The reinforced cotton fabric has several advantages.

Advantages
  • soft and particularly smooth
  • pleasant on the skin
  • particularly hard-wearing
  • temperature-regulating
  • ideal for printing on children's bed linen
  • suitable for allergy sufferers
Disadvantages
  • not crease-resistant
  • should be turned inside out when washing

Seersucker pillowcase

Seersucker is ideal as summer bed linen thanks to its three-dimensional crepe pattern and is pleasantly cooling. If you are looking for a pillowcase for hot days, these benefits might interest you.

Advantages
  • soft
  • perfect for hot summer nights
  • especially easy to care for
  • excellent air circulation
  • non-iron
Disadvantages
  • not crease-resistant
  • should be turned inside out when washing

The non-iron fabric is ideal if you don't want the extra effort of ironing. However, if you like the silky smooth feeling of freshly washed bed linen on your skin, then seersucker is not recommended. You won't get this material smooth even with ironing.

There are also several types of closure for pillowcases. Most pillowcases have a zip, but buttons are also very popular. The so-called hotel closure is used a lot in the hotel industry. This has neither a zip nor a button. The cushion is simply put into the cover and both sides of the fabric are overlapped on the back. This can save a lot of time.

What does a pillowcase cost?

Cushion covers have a number of advantages, one of which is the price of a cushion cover. This is significantly cheaper than buying a new cushion every few months. The cheapest models are in the single-digit euro range. If you want longevity and good quality, then you will have to reckon with an amount in the mid two-digit range.

Since there is a large selection of cushion covers, we have compiled an overview of the most popular cushion covers in this cost table:

type cost per piece
decorative or ornamental pillowcase 40 x 40 cm approx. 7 to 30 €
pillowcase microfibre 80 x 80 cm approx. 6 to 10 €
pillowcase cotton 80 x 80 cm approx. 10 to 30 €
Pillowcase linen 80 x 80 cm ca. 15 to 60 €
Pillowcase beaver 80 x 80 cm ca. 15 to 30 €
Pillowcase silk 80 x 80 cm ca. 50 to 100 €

Pillowcases are available in single and double packs, in some cases even with matching bed linen. The double pack is usually even a little cheaper than if you have to buy the bed linen separately.

Kissenhüllen

Pillowcases in a double pack are a beautiful decorative highlight for the bedroom. (Image source: Annie Spratt / Unsplash)

In addition, you have a uniform set of bed linen for a double bed or a pillowcase replacement if one of the pillowcases is in the wash.

What are the alternatives to a pillowcase?

Pillowcases already come in many forms, but there are also many alternatives. In Europe, this option is very popular, but if you look at the USA, a pillowcase is something rather atypical. There, on the other hand, blankets and pillows are directly covered and printed.

In the following overview, we have summarised the alternatives for you.

Alternative Description
Pillow without cover approx. 7 to 30 €
Pillow cover microfibre The filling of these pillows is surrounded by only one fabric, which is somewhat firmer and directly printed or decorated. This fabric is sewn directly and cannot be removed.
Knitted or crocheted A self-knitted or crocheted cushion protector that can be customised and opened.
T-shirt A T-shirt is a simple and uncomplicated solution when things have to go quickly or there is no cushion cover to hand. Simply tuck the cushion in, pull the sleeves to the back and fold the T-shirt over from underneath and tuck it in too.

There are no limits to the creativity of pillowcase alternatives. If you have materials or various fabrics to spare, you can easily sew your own cushion cover with a little skill.

How do I wash a pillowcase properly?

Most cushion covers can be washed in the washing machine at 30 to 60 degrees. It's best to use a colour detergent so that the colours last as long as possible.

  1. Follow the instructions on the label.
  2. Turn the pillowcase inside out.
  3. If possible, use a coloured detergent or even a special detergent for coloured fabrics
  4. Use fabric sprays for persistent odours (e.g. smoke)
  5. Use the delicate wash cycle for a particularly gentle cleaning

If your cushion cover is not machine-washable, you should hand wash it or even have it professionally cleaned. More robust fabrics that should not be washed can be vacuumed carefully with a hoover on a regular basis.

Kissenhüllen

Yellow and white terry cushion covers that are firmly sewn are easy to clean with a few tricks. (Image source: Carolina Sanchez / Unsplash)

One of the things that can be used for dry cleaning is baking soda. The home remedy is sprinkled on the cover overnight and simply cancelled the next morning. For a particularly thorough cleaning, the powder can also be worked in with a damp cloth and also vacuumed off the next day. Please always test this DIY variant in advance before applying it to the entire pillowcase.

Conclusion

With the help of a pillowcase, you can protect your pillow, decorate your room as you wish and create a pleasant room climate. In contrast to using a pillow without a cover, you not only protect your pillow, but also your skin from dirt and mites. That's why you can choose between many different materials for your ideal use when buying a pillowcase.

Cotton covers are the ideal all-rounder because of their texture. Silk covers are exquisite and noble and ideal for allergy sufferers. Beaver or flannel pillowcases are ideal for cold winter nights, while seersucker pillowcases are cool and create pleasant air circulation in summer. Once you have decided on a pillow size, any pillowcase with the same dimensions can be used.

Image source: Yastremska/ 123rf

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