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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Silk Bedding

Guide to buying silk beddingDid you recently sleep on silk for the first time and decide it was the perfect fabric for you? Maybe you purchased silk sheets in the past and loved them, but can’t seem to find new ones that are as nice? Whether you are a first time buyer or a longtime fan of sleeping on silk this guide is for you!

 

  1. Why Should You Buy Silk Bedding Over Other Fabrics?
  2. Types of Silk and How They Compare for Quality.
  3. Summer vs. Winter Silk Bedding.
  4. Choosing a Silk Duvet.
  5. Choosing Your Bedding Colors.
  6. Buying Silk Bedding for Your Guest Bedroom.
  7. Caring for Your Silk Bedding.

Why Should You Buy Silk Bedding Over Other Fabrics?

This is a question we are frequently asked by new customers. They have heard that silks sheets are superior, perhaps from their mother or grandmother, and they are interested in giving silk a try. So why is silk considered the most luxurious fabric for bedding?

  1. Silk is incredibly smooth and feels great on skin.
  2. Silk is a naturally hypoallergenic fabric and resists dust, fungus, mold and many other allergens.
  3. Silk is great for all climates, from cold winter nights to broiling summers, you can sleep in silk and be incredibly comfortable (more on this below)
  4. Silk is the longest lasting natural fabric.
  5. Silk is great for your skin and hair, it helps you retain moisture and reduce damage caused by higher friction fabrics.

Choosing to buy silk is like choosing to buy Amish furniture – it lasts much, much longer than anything else you could purchase. When you get tired of purchasing new sheets each season, then it’s time to purchase silk. Silk outlasts every other natural fabric and has a lifespan on par with polyester. Unlike polyester, silk is wonderful feeling and good for you. That’s why it’s the best fabric.

However, be careful not to buy poor quality silk, as you’ll learn in the next section, the quality of silk sheets matters just as much as the thread count with cotton sheets.

Types of Silk and How They Compare for Quality.

When you begin shopping for silk you should first educate yourself on the varieties of silk available and the way in which silk is measured for quality. In general, it is helpful to know the following types of silk:

Charmeuse Silk is the most commonly recognized type of silk, it is used in everything from bedding to dresses to shirts. This type of silk is lightweight and has a natural elasticity, which makes it the ideal fabric for use in sheets, pillow cases and other kinds of bedding. The front of the fabric has a satin sheen to it while the back has a dull finish. Charmeuse is a cultivated silk, meaning that the silk worms which produce it are farmed for their silk.

mulberry silk mothMulberry Silk is the highest quality of silk and the most sought after for bedding. Most mulberry silk is actually charmeuse silk that was cultivated from a special type of silkworm which is fed a very strict diet. The Bombyx mori is the silkworm which produces mulberry silk and it prefers to eat the leaves of the mulberry tree. This particular type of silkworm has been bred in captivity for over 5,000 years! The careful breeding for quality and the strict diet of mulberry leaves are what make the end product, mulberry silk, the very finest silk available today.

Tussah Silk is actually silk made from wild silkworms which have not been bred. As the worms are not fed a strict diet or protected in the same way that cultivated silkworms are, this type of silk is not as soft or durable as cultivated silk. Most wild silk comes from India and not China.

Habotai Silk is another great silk that is commonly used for making sheets and bedding. Habotai is less expensive but also less durable than charmeuse. Often this type of silk is “washed” with sand to make it feel as soft as charmeuse. However this washing process also destroys the fibers in the silk, which means it doesn’t last as long.

Duppoini Silk is strong, lustrous but coarse and not ideal for sheets and most bedding. Sometimes it can be used in duvets, but because of its quality it does not work as well to maintain temperatures. The lower quality is due to the fact that this silk is made from irregular cocoons that are not of the same quality you would find in charmeuse silk.

Now that you know that mulberry silk is the very best silk you also need to learn a little about something called “Momme Weight”. Pronounced “mummy”, the momme weight is basically a measurement of the weight of the silk. This measurement was actually developed by the Japanese and is also used to measure things like pearls.

To calculate the momme weight you need to measure a piece of fabric that is 100 yards long and 45 inches wide. If this piece of fabric weighs 12 lbs then the momme weight of the fabric is 12. Obviously this isn’t something you can do for yourself while out shopping, so be sure to check labels for the manufacturer’s listing.

The type of silk also helps determine the momme weight of the silk. For instance habotai silk is usually only found with a momme weight of 5-15, while charmeuse silk can be anywhere from 12 to 30.

Ideally you want to look for a momme weight of greater than 14 for bedding. Here at ElleSilk all of our bedding is made with a momme weight of 22. You will almost never see bedding at a higher momme.

Summer vs. Winter Silk Bedding.

Silk throw blanketYou might not believe this, but silk is actually perfect for all seasons! Your silk pillowcases and sheets do not need to be switched out from summer to winter. If you get particularly hot or cold nights then we do recommend you purchase a different silk duvet for summer and winter. You can also try purchasing a silk blanket for winter, for a little extra warmth.

Why is silk so flexible? To start silk doesn’t bunch up, which means it provides you entire body even heat. So your feet are just as insulated as your upper body, and your own body can better regulate temperate.

Ever wake up in the middle of the night sweating buckets from the heat of your bedding? That’s because most synthetic fibers and other traditional bedding materials like down trap air. Over the course of the night your body heat slowly builds up until it becomes unbearable. Your sweat is also trapped inside the bedding and unable to evaporate, so you end up with disgusting wet sheets that are impossible to fall back to sleep in. This is especially problematic for women who are going through menopause, as their body cycles from hot to cool to hot again the typical cotton sheets can’t accommodate the changes in heat and they wake up continuously from discomfort.

The beautiful structure of silk at a microscopic level is what allows a small, but effective, amount of air to naturally help your body regulate its temperature. As you overheat your body perspires and silk’s breathable nature allows that moisture to escape thus cooling your body, this is known as a wicking effect. As you cool off less moisture is produced and silk helps your body retain the natural heat it produces. Not only that but silk gives an even amount of cooling throughout the night so your body doesn’t need to be constantly readjusting.

You could buy expensive synthetic bedding which also has the same effect, but why? You are only introducing more chemicals into your environment and silk is a completely natural fabric that provides the same wicking effect.

Choosing a Silk Duvet.

The first thing you must do when choosing a silk duvet is consider the season you’ll be using it for. As we mentioned above, having a different duvet for winter and summer is recommended. Thicker silk duvets are ideal for winter as they trap more of your body’s natural heat, while thinner ones are ideal for summer as they allow more air to cool your body.

When shopping for silk duvets you should look at the tog to identify how warm or cool the duvet is. The tog is a rating of how insulating a particular duvet or other kind of fabric is.

Summer weight silk duvetThe ideal summer duvet is usually between 2-4 tog and has no additional fabrics added to it. Making sure that this duvet is pure silk is very important if you want to stay cool all summer long. Take a look at our very own summer silk duvet for more information.
Fall spring silk duvet Some individuals also like to use a spring and fall duvet, these typically have a tog of around 8-11. If you live in more moderate climate you might also opt to use this kind of duvet for most of the year. A fall or spring duvet can also be helpful if you are looking to save money and only want to purchase a single duvet.
mulberry silk duvet for winterDuring winter you’ll want many layers of silk to keep you warm, we recommend at least 12 tog and our winter duvet has 13 tog. For especially cool climates you might want to consider a cotton covered silk duvet. For the most part, you will find that even our pure silk duvet is extremely warm throughout the winter.

Choosing Your Colors.

Finally! The fun part of shopping for silk bedding. Choosing a color combination that works for you and your decor is very important. Not only will the colors you choose enhance your mood but they can also help you fall asleep easier.

dark blue silk duvet coverLuxury silk bedding set

Blue – is a beautiful color but did you know that it’s been proven over and over again to have an impact on sleep? A study in 2013 show that individuals sleeping in a blue room had the most sleep. When you think of blue thoughts of peace and calm enter your mind. Blue is a naturally calming color and if you are not using blue in your room already then consider buying a blue duvet or a blue bedding set to really make an impact on your sleep.

If blue is the best color for your bedroom then what are the worst? You might automatically think red or yellow would have the opposite effect, but actually purple, brown and grey were ranked the worst! If possible avoid these colors for your wall paint, bedding and anything more than just accents.

If you are looking to enhance your love life then colors like gold, yellow and orange have been shown to increase libido. While in the same 2013 study it was found that red decor did not lead to increased romance in the bedroom.

Want a great night’s rest but not sure if blue is the color for you? Green and orange decor also have a positive effect. Mix and match these colors for a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep!

Buying Silk Bedding for your Guest Bedroom

If you want to enhance the stay of your guests and impress them at the same time then silk bedding is definitely the way to go. Not only is it a real treat for those that have never slept in silk before, but with all of silk’s health and sleep benefits it will help cut down on crankiness from jet lag.

luxury silk bedding setThe perfect guest bedroom should look elegant, which is why we recommend purchasing one of our luxurious silk bedding sets. Our 8 piece sets include a duvet, flat sheet, oxford and housewife pillowcases and silk mattress covers. The incredible designs will enhance any room and make them appear incredibly elegant!

If you really want to make your guest’s stay special then purchase a silk eye mask for them to take home with them. These eye masks are ideal for helping your guests get to sleep and are an affordable thank you gift for their stay.

Beyond purchasing a silk bedding set you should also purchase a silk blanket or throw for them. These blankets are warm, soft and perfect for the guest who is fickle about how much or how little coverage they want at night.

Caring for Your Silk Bedding

Now that you’ve been sleeping in silk you’re probably wondering – how often do I need to clean my sheets? Can I wash them? Do they need to be dry cleaned?

The wonderful thing about high quality silk is that it naturally repels dirt, dust, oils and other grime that your bedding will accumulate. Silk bedding can thus be washed less often than traditional cotton or synthetic fibers.

Most silk can be machine washed and air dried, although you should always see the specific instructions for that product. In general we recommend the following:

Basic rules for washing silk:

  • Never use bleach or any bleaching agents! These damage the fibers and shorten the lifespan of your silk.
  • Never machine dry! High heat and the tumbling motion can damage the fibers as well.
  • DO machine or hand wash your silk with cold water.
  • DO air dry your silk.
  • DO lightly iron your silk on the cool setting on the inside of the fabric.

Some items like silk blankets, duvets and pillows require special care. Please see our full care guide for more information on each product.

Some Shrinking of Fabric is Normal

silk duvetsThere might be some shrink occasions happened on your silk bedding, do not worry about that, it doesn’t present it is not a quality one. It is normal for most silk sheets to shrink a little during the first few washings, usually about three to four percent. It is a normal occurrence and should not make you feel like you are doing something wrong. The manufacturers take shrinkage into consideration when they make the sheets so they should still fit your bed just fine after those first few washings.

As a recap, gentle washing and gentle drying is what your silk sheets want to do to help them last a long time and give you many years of happy dreams on them.

Prolong the Life of Your Silk Sheets

After spending several hundred dollars on high quality silk sheets, you definitely want to sleep on it as long as possible. Although it is already durable, can unwittingly be damaged by you, but the longer, the better. If the heels of your feet get as dry and rough as sandpaper, it is like rubbing your sheets with sandpaper every time you get into bed. The same goes for sharp broken fingernails or toenails. They can pull the threads in your sheets, breaking them. So taking care of your skin and your nails is not only beneficial to you but also beneficial to your skin! And later, long life your silk bedding sheets.

Wash your silk sheets- Step III

The last step is to dry it out. Let the sheets hand dry, if possible, but keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents because that silk duvetsis just like putting them in a hot dryer. It is especially important to keep dark colored silk sheets out of the sunlight because it will visibly fade them in a very short amount of time. But, because finding a safe place to air dry large silk blankets, such as king size sheets, can be difficult, some people have had good luck drying their sheets using the lowest temperature setting on their dryer, the one that is just barely higher than “air dry.”

If you think the sheets need ironing, you can use a cool iron on them while they are still slightly damp, making sure to iron on the reverse side (the non-shiny side). But I will tell you I have never found it necessary to iron silk sheets. If they are gently washed and dried (translation: not twisted and wrung and beat up), they don’t need to be ironed.

One other note about washing luxurious silk bedding – do not put anything else in the washer with them. Wash them separately from your other laundry.

Wash your silk sheets- Step II

The silk linen of course better to be handwashed, but if you want to, you could get rid of this. After hand washing for the first few times you can switch to machine washing but always wash the sheets on your machine’s delicate cycle and never use hot water. Experts recommend washing silk sheets at 30 degree Centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit) which is water that is barely lukewarm.

If your machine has an option to allow an extra spin cycle to wring as much water out of your fabrics as possible, resist the urge to use it. Use the spin cycle sparing on silk sheets because it is hard on their fibers. That is why it is important to use the delicate or hand washable cycle on the machine.

It is okay to use fabric softener if you would like to. My personal favorite is a lavender scented fabric softener.

Do not use bleach, even color safe bleach – ever, not even if you have stains on your favorable silk bed sheets.

Wash your silk sheets- Step I

Briefly introduced the care method for your silk blanket, you may still puzzled about how to wash and clean them, here I would like to list the detail ways to care for your silksilk sheets sheets. Well, let’s start!

Keep in mind that silk is a very strong natural fiber. To keep that fiber strong, avoid subjecting it to harsh detergents and soaps that will break those fibers down and strip it of its natural properties. Woolite is a mild detergent that many people use to successfully clean their silk linen but I have found a few manufacturers who do no recommend it. A commonly recommended soap is Charlie’s Liquid Laundry soap which can be purchased online. It is non-toxic and completely biodegradable soap.

When you first purchase silk sheets, wash them by hand for the first few washings. Doing this helps to preserve the sheen of the silk and soften the silk fibers.

Cons for your silk comforter

Everything has pros and cons, never absolutely good and bad, so does silk blankets, and what cons it has?

First, it takes much cost. There is no getting around the fact that a high quality silk comforter and cover is doing to be an investment. The manufacture of silk is a time consuming, exacting, and demanding process.

Second, the caring porcess. Though we have already said it is not hard to care for, but it, after all, not the same with others, so it also cannot be treated like other comforters. Silk batting does not like to be laundered. An occasional airing out is all that is required. For that reason a  www.ellesilk.com silk is a necessity. But, what happens if something is spilled on a silk comforter? It will need to be cleaned – professional cleaning is best. If things get spilled on it often, the frequent cleaning required will shorten the life of the silk sets. That’s it. Those are the only two negative things it comes to silk comforters.

Shopping for silk comforter

We have known that silk originated from China, which is still, now be the largest country to produce hight quality silk bedding. And more often, you are unlikely to find a quality silk comforter at yoursilk sheets local discount store. How about at your local department store? It’s not likely you will find it there either unless it is a high end department store. You are likely to find the highest quality and best price by ordering online such as www.ellesilk.com, by mail, or via the telephone. Why is that? High quality silk bedding is typically made to order and not mass produced and stocked on shelves or in warehouses somewhere

When purchasing any silk bedding, you get what you pay for. Huge discounts and slashed prices on quality silk bedding are not a common occurrence and often only occur when a certain color or style is being discontinued. If you want to bargain shop, go the flea market and haggle over the price of a throw rug or beaded necklace.

Shopping for silk comforter Whether seam on the cover

Everyone wants a complete piece of silk bedding, without any seams and thrums on it, but do not just pay attention to the surface beauty, seams are always not worse than you thought.

If you are purchasing a 100 percent silk duvet cover, seams aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Much of the silk made is only 45 inches wide so it makes sense that a silk duvet cover is going to have to have a seam or two somewhere. Seamless duvet covers can be purchased but the wider silk is more expensive so expect to pay a premium for it. Be wary of “too good to be true” prices on any seamless silk bedding. It’s probably not a pure silk product.

If you do purchase silk sheet with a seam, there will either be a seam down the middle or two off center seams that are closer to the side edges. If you sleep alone and sleep in the middle of your bed choose bedding with off center side seams so you are not laying on or directly covered with a seam. If you or if you and your significant other sleep on either side of the bed, opt for the seam n the middle.

Shopping for silk comforter -Don’t Forget a Duvet Cover

The third character have to be considered is a  silk duvet cover. A silk filled comforter should always be encased in a removable duvet cover that can be laundered regularly. The covers are available in a vast array of materials from different weaves and grades of silk to ones made of organic cotton to a combination of materials. There are various kinds of duvet covers you could choose. Which to choose is up to you, but I recommend a silk cover for the silk comforter. Why skimp on the cover? But if the silk comforter you are buying is for a child, opt for a cotton cover because it is going to stand up to the wear and tear a child will subject it too better than a silk duvet cover will.

You could choose either according to your joy and love, but do remember, comfort is first!

Shopping for silk comforter Silk Fill Weight

Silk weight have to be taken as a reference for silk bedding shopping and also for silk comforters. Most silk comforter manufacturers have at least two weights of comforters available; one that is more suitable for summer use and a heavier one more suitable for cooler weather. In climates where the weather gets extremely cold it is suggested to use the summer weight and heavier weight comforter together to ensure you will be comfy and cozy no matter what the weather is. However, some  cot silk blanket manufacturers do offer an extra warm silk comforter for extremely cold weather use.

As a general rule, summer weight comforters are 4 -5 pounds; fall weight are 6-10 pounds; and anything 11 pounds or over is for winter weather. When you shop for your silk comforters, this should be considered exactly!