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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.

Amazing silk facts IV

We have ever introduced some of the benefits that the luxious silk linen could bring you. Actually, that is just a small part. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is said to cause a delay in a person getting wrinkles because of the essential amino acids in silk bedding.

The essential amino acids in silk bedding are why sleeping on silk is good for your hair. Does that mean if you sleep on silk bedding bad hair days will be a thing of the past?

Some experts say the best way to get dried blood out of silk is by using human saliva. The saliva breaks down the proteins in the blood thereby releasing them from the silk fabric.

Silk is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s a naturally self adjusting fabric which makes silk sheets as the superior quality fabric for you! Choosing such one, you will be proud of it.

Amazing silk facts III

The tiny silkworm as you know, however, you may not imagine that they could make great noise when cultivate the silk sheets. If you visited a silkworm producing facility and entered a room where the silkworms were being raised, it would sound like there was heavy rain falling on the roof. But it is really the sound of silkworms munching on those chopped mulberry leaves.

It takes around 30,000 silkworms to produce 12 pounds of raw silk.

The official term for silk production is “sericulture”.

Silk used in silk duvets obtained from wild silkworms, although still good quality, is not of as high a quality as silkworms who are pampered and fed an exclusive diet of mulberry leaves. Wild silkworms have to eat whatever food is available so the filament thread they weave their cocoons of is not as white as the captive raised silkworms nor is it as smooth and round.

Amazing silk facts II

silk duvets

The moth is a surprising insect. The finest silk bed sheet comes from the silkworms produced by the Bombyx mori moth. The moth cannot fly nor can it see. Its only job is to lay eggs. One moth will lay approximately 500 eggs over a 4-6 day period. Soon after that the moth dies.

Those 500 eggs the Bombyx mori moth lays are very tiny, about as big as the point of a pin. They don’t weigh much either, only about 5 grams or a little under 2 ounces.

The silkworms from the Bombyx mori moth, which produces the finest and purest silk fabric, are fed a diet that consists only of chopped mulberry leaves. The silkworms are fed every half hour around the clock. No wonder they multiply their weight by 10,000 times in a month.

Amazing silk facts I

We have essentially know about the silk producing process, and how to inspect the high quality silk bedding sheets, and I am sure you must have not heard any other amazing facts about the silk, share them with you!

A silkworm multiplies it weight 10,000 times from time it is hatched until about 1 month later when it has enough energy stored to start spinning its cocoon.

The fluffy white cocoon spun by a silkworm is one long continuous silk filament that when unwound is usually between 600 and 900 meters long or as long as 1,600 yards. That’s pretty long.

Four to eight of the silk filaments are twisted together to obtain one strand of silk thread. No wonder silk is so expensive!
New to you, right? we have also others!

Care for your seamless silk sheets, do not be cheated!

Though we know the seamless silk sheets may not the best quality, many people still prefer to have silk bedding without any seams and will check to see if the silk bedding sets is seamless before they check anything else such as the type of silk used and the weight of the fabric. Warning, care for your choice, do not be cheated!silk duvets

One of my friends recently purchased silk sheets and was only interested in looking for seamless ones because he perceived them as being of the best quality. He was right and he was wrong. Pure silk seamless sheets are the best quality, but he didn’t read any further on the label to notice the sheets he was buying were a blend of wild silk and another fabric that have been woven together to create a blended fabric wider than 45 inches. He got the sheets for a great price, one that was too good to be true. He now realizes why the sheets were so affordable. They are of inferior quality and are quickly wearing out.

High quality, 100 percent, seamless bedding is available but it does come at a higher cost than seamed silk bedding. There are some producers of silk who use specially made oversize looms to weave the fabric in order to produce a high quality wide width seamless silk.

Spend you money on the real good silk sheets.

Shopping for high quality seamless bedding made with mulberry silk

silk duvetsAfter checking the momme weight, another element should be put forward is whether it is made with mulberry silk. As we all know, mulberry silk is indeed the silk bedding king of all.

Look for bedding made with mulberry silk (also called cultivated silk or bombyx silk). Avoid Habotai silk. It has a rougher matte finish and is made from wild silk which is of a lower quality than cultivated silk. Wild silk strands are not extremely long like cultivated silk strands are so they need to be spun together to create length creating a silk that is not as durable as the long single thread filaments harvested from cultivated silkworms.

So the next time you go shopping for silk bedding, don’t consider the silk sheets with seam is of lower quality, and it may not the best to reflect the class. Instead, the type of silk used, the momme weight should be the best indicators that will tell how high or how low the quality of the sheets are.

Silk term glossary V

Silk Velvet – pure silk velvet is very expensive (close to $1,000 a yard) and not wisilk duvetsdely available. Most silk velvet today is a blend of silk and rayon.

Satin – a confusing term at best. Technically “satin” refers to the weave of a fabric and not to the fabric itself. But satin is a term often use to define a smooth shiny fabric made of acetate, polyester and rayon. “Satin silk” is an ultra-luxurious silk.

If you are looking for the best quality silk bedding, choose products made with mulberry or cultivated silk and with a momme weight of at least 12. If you are looking for a more affordable option, Habotai and Charmeuse are popular.

Hope these terms will help you choose the silk that is right for you.

Silk term glossary IV

Duppoini Silk – it is fairly coarse to the touch but is strong and lustrous. Its coarseness does not make a good choice for silk sheets but it’s interesting texture makes it a popular choice for duvet covers and draperies.

Habotai Silk – also called china silk. It is a lower quality silk and although it is widely available in silk bedding it is not as durable as mulberry silk but is much more affordable.

Silk term glossary (II)

Wild Silk – silk harvested from silkworms that grow in the wild and eat a diet of whatever plant food is available to them. The natural color of wild silk ranges from a light ivory to a darker tan. It is less expensive than cultivated silk and not as durable. Although it is a good choice for many applications it is not the best choice for silk bedding because it is not as durable as cultivated silk.

Tussah Silk – a type of wild silk that typically comes from India or China with the India silk typically having more luster to it.

Thrown or Reeled Silk – a process done by hand to unwind the silk filaments from the cocoon. Most thrown or reeled silk is cultivated silk.

Silk terms glossary (I)

Many of you still puzzled about the silk sheets term, and as blow, we introduce them to you!

Momme Weight – this refers to the weight of a piece of silk fabric and in a standard measurement for silk. Momme weight calculates the weight of a piece of silk that is a standard 100 yards long and 45 inches wide. The weight of the piece of fabric that size is its momme weight. A piece of silk weighing 12 pounds has a momme weight of 12. When purchasing silk bedding look for a momme weight of 12 or higher.

Cultivated Silk – silk that is harvested from worms raised in captivity. Cultivated silk is the highest quality silk because great care is taken to ensure the silk filament threads harvested are not broken resulting in long and durable silk thread that is very strong – the strongest natural fiber in the world.

Mulberry Silk – the highest quality silk available. It comes from silkworms produced from the Bombyx mori moth. The silkworms are fed an exclusive diet of mulberry leaves. The resulting silk that is harvested is of a uniform light color, is rounder than wild silk, more uniform in size than wild silk, and finer than wild silk.