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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.

Shopping for Silk Sheets- Weight and Thread Count

Are you ready for shopping your own silk sheets? Let’s go for it!

silk bedding

When looking at silk bed sheets such as silk pillowcases or quilts, thread count is important, but not as important as the “momme” (pronounced like the word “mummy”) weight. Silk is typically measured by momme weight because it is such a fine and light fabric. The higher the momme number on a set of silk sheets, the heavier the fabric. If you are looking at sheets with a momme weight of only 6-9, those sheets are not going be very durable or last long. Silk with a momme weight of 12-19 is good for sheets.

Don’t completely disregard thread count. Look for sheets that have a thread count of at least 400 which is also a necessity for high quality of silk sheets sets.

Long Lasting of silk

Common quilts should be replaced for several years maybe two or three, for there may be parasites on the quilts which will do a harm to person especially for old and young. What will be a good choice for you? The answer is silk!

silk bedding

High quality silk bedding will last for many years. As long as a silk comforter is not abused, and by abused I mean subjected to harsh detergents and frequent laundering, it can easily last upwards of 20 years. Because natural silk originally repels dirt, odors, and pesky things like dust mites a silk comforter does not need frequent laundering. In fact, many silk experts recommend avoiding laundering of a silk linen unless it is absolutely necessary, such as in the case of spilling something on it. But, they also say a silk duvet should always have a duvet cover to protect it. The duvet cover should be laundered frequently and kept clean, as well as the silk sheets.

Why will high quality silk last for so long? Mulberry silk is the king of silks. It is made from the cocoons of a special type of silkworm that is pampered with a steady around the clock diet of chopped mulberry leaves and a temperature controlled environment free of strong odors and loud noises from the time they are hatched to the time they meet their demise when their cocoons are harvested for their silk. Great care is taken to not allow a moth to hatch from a silkworm after it has spun its cocoon. This is so the long single filament silk thread the silkworm has woven as its cocoon does not get broken.

When the silk filament thread from a single cocoon of a cultivated silkworm is unwound, it can be as long as 1,600 yards. The long threads in mulberry silk along with its natural tendency to adhere and bond with itself creates a fabric that is very durable and long lasting.

Whatever the profit and the advantage, silk bedding all could be the most perfect choice for your whole family.

Distinguish typical momme weight for different silks

Truly understand the momme weight, some skills are given below to distinguish some natural silk whether it is in high quality or inferior one.

The typical momme weight range for a few of the different silks are as follows:

Habutai silk – 5 to 16 momme weight

Raw silk – 35 to 40 momme weight

Chiffon – 6 to 8 momme weight

Gauze – 3 to 5 momme weight

Momme weight is usually shown as “mm.”

silk bedding

When you are shopping for silk bedding or silk quilt and the salesperson starts talking about “momme weight” you will know exactly what they are talking about. And if he or she tries to sell you silk sheets with a momme weight of 8, you can educate that salesperson and tell him or her that 8 momme weight sheets are too lightweight to be a good choice for silk comforter and that they can try and sell their inferior product to someone else because you are not buying them. You are going to look for higher quality silk sheets that will last you a long time.

Just like you are an expert, and you will get the silk in a reasonable price and high-quality.

Bargain silk, wary choice

Silk is considered as an expensive cost fabric. So some of the venders sometimes promotes a “bargain price” to attract the consumers. However I think you should avoid purchasing silk sheets.WHY?

silk bedding

In the world of silk bedding you truly do get what you pay for. If you spend $150 dollars (or the equivalent) on a bargain set of silk sheets for your king size bed, you will be getting a bargain set of silk sheets that is made from a lower quality silk and that likely also contains other non silk fibers in the weave. The bargain sheets will not hold up well over time and will be destined for the scrap heap in a short amount of time. It reminds me of a saying my Mom had which went like this, “If it looks like a bargain, feels like a bargain, and smells like a bargain, be very wary because it is probably no bargain at all.”

There are typically only a few occasions where high quality silk bedding sheets will be reduced in price to the point of a being a real bargain. If a color or style is being discontinued manufacturers will discount the silk linen. There may also be periodic sales or special pricing if silk sheets, a silk comforter, and a silk duvet cover are all purchased at the same time.
Do not just fell in love with the price and forget the quality, buying inferior silk bedding indicates you will spend more a year later.

How to choose quality silk bed linen

  1. Finding quality can be a daunting taks. There is a vast amount of silk bed linen on the market today ranging hugely in both quality and price. Knowing what to look for can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips that if followed will ensure you buy a quality silk bedding product that will last for many years.
  2. Insist on 100% mulberry silk. There are many varieties of silk on the market. When purchasing silk bedding insist on 100% mulberry silk. Only 100% mulberry silk consists of a continuous strand of silk. Wild silk, commonly known as Habotai silk is often passed off as mulberry silk but is never of the same quality as mulberry silk. Habotai or China Silk as it is sometimes called is often made up of broken strands of silk and non-silk fibres and is more suited for silk scarves and items requiring shorter fibres. Habotai silk does not have the same durability as 100% mulberry silk. Only 100% mulberry silk can offer the consistency and durability required in quality silk bed linen.
  3. A thread count of 400 or more. When considering making a purchase of silk linen, always check the thread count. The higher the thread count, the tighter the silk is woven. An ideal thread count for silk linen is above 400. Anything lover than 400 will not be as durable and not last as fine silk linen should.
  4. Momme weight explained. You may have heard of momme when purchasing silk items. Momme is the gauge used to determine the physical weight of silk. The basic measurement for momme is weighing a piece of silk that is 100 yards long and 45 inches wide. If the total weight comes to sixteen pounds then the silk will be graded as 16 momme. If the silk is heavier then a higher momme grade will be given and visa versa. Silk with a lower momme number will have physically less silk in the item than one with a higher number. Your silk bedding should have a high momme number, at the very least above 12. Traditionally silk with a momme of fewer than 12 has been reserved for light silk clothing, while a momme of 12-19 is used for silk bedding. A momme of 22 would be durable enough for a tailored suit. Silk bedding with a momme of 19 will be more durable and easier to care for than a say a momme of 14.
  5. Beware of a false economy. Silk sheets and bedding sets are often offered at hugely discounted prices. Although at the time of purchase the price may seem a bargain, be sure the bedding meets the above criteria. If not, the bedding will not last like 100% mulberry silk bedding. When properly cared for 100% mulberry silk bedding with a momme weight of 19 and a thread count of 400 will far outlast cotton bedding and prove to be a sound investment.

Silk bedding can also be of benefit in the following areas

silk beddingOsteoarthritis – Silk bedding and duvets drape over us, moulding around our bodies which eliminates single points of pressure. Conventional duvets and blankets do not drape over our bodies but rather from a heavier barrier that can cause pain and irritation to sensitive joints. Eliminating single points of pressure can greatly increase the quality and comfort of sleep.

Shingles – Significant relief from Shingles can be gained by using silk bedding. Silk being soft and light creates less pressure, this combined with tightly woven silk sheets enables easier movement and less resistance on the bed sheets. Silk filled duvets can also be of help to shingle sufferers as like silk top sheets, they drape over the body eliminating single points of contact.

Dry skin – Silk has an amazing ability to help our skin reabsorb moisture through the natural occurring amino acids within silk. Absorbing moisture that has been lost during the day while sleeping will aid in rejuvenating the skin throughout the night. This is hugely beneficial to sufferers of both Eczema and dry skin.

Overheating – Silk has the amazing ability to keep us cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool. It does this be allowing our body heat to dissipate. Conventional (down, feather and polyester) duvets work in a similar way to a pressure cooker. As we sleep our body heat is reflected back to us from the duvet and we are kept warm. This however continues to happen throughout the night which causes overheating. Long fibre mulberry silk duvets are manufactured using a layering grid technique which places layer upon layer of silk in a criss cross pattern. This design allows some of our body heat to escape through the duvet, leaving us warm but not hot. Being a more constant temperature throughout the night allows our bodies to have a more relaxing and rejuvenating sleep.

What you need to know about silk duvets—Silk casings

SilkDuvets

In an ideal world every silk duvet would have a silk casing. This however would price silk duvets out of the market. A quality silk casing on a silk duvet would in reality make silk duvets prohibitively expensive. There are silk duvets available that do have silk casings and compare favourably in price with cotton covered duvets. This at face value looks almost too good to be true, and sadly it usually is. Before you purchase a silk duvet with a silk casing you should ask what the momme of the silk casing is. Momme is the unit used to grade the quality of silk. Pfor a detailed explanation of this. A silk casing should have at leaset a momme rating of 19. Anything lower and you could encounter durability issues and herein lies the issue. What would initially seem a great price for a silk cased duvet could soon turn into something worthless with a hole in it. We are not saying don’t buy silk cased silk duvets, but just be sure you know what you are getting before you make a purchase.

What you need to know about silk duvets—Cotton casings

silk duvetCotton casings are by far the most popular form of casing for a modern day silk duvet. Cotton casings are available in various grades but it is important to consider thread count when making a purchase. Generally the higher the thread count, the finer the stitch and the better wearing the duvet will be. Anything over 240 thread count should be fine. Anything under and one should question the quality and continued durability. Quality of casing is often directly related to price.

What you need to know about silk duvets—Duvet casing

elle silk

There is almost an endless choice for duvet casings. Cotton, silk, polyester etc.. Traditionally the Chinese used a very course threaded casing for their silk duvets. This was to allow body heat to escape through the casing and help in heat regulation. Today, largely due to modern manufacturing techniques a much tighter and finer casing can be woven which has similar properties. The choice of silk casing is largely down to individual preference, however there are a few points to consider.