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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.

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.

What is seamless silk bedding?

Many of the purchasers may have a passion for the seamless silk bedding not only for its perfect visual feeling but also considering it as a high quality one. However, is that true? And what, after all, is seamless silk bedding?

Like its name suggests seamless silk is bedding that does not have a center seam or two off center side seams. The standard width of pure silk is 45 inches which means silk bedding any bigger than twin size is going to have a seam in it. That seam is either directly down the center which is best for people who sleep on the side of their bed and not right in the middle of it; or two off center side seams which is better for people who do sleep in the middle of their bed. This prevents a person from having to lay on a seam or having a seam mar the smoothness of the silk comforter they are covered with.

And one thing needs to be mentioned that much of the seamless available on the market is not pure silk. It is a blend or a knit of silk and something else and is of a lesser quality, so do choose carefully.

Keep your silk sheets away from chemical detergent

silk duvetsWhile go for washing, there is still some detergent unexpected on your silk comforters. Although many people reach for Biz or Oxi-Clean when they have a stain on something, do not use either of those products on silk. They will damage them.

So will bleach – it will turn your silk an ugly yellow color.

If you do not want to take any chances with stain removal on your silk sheets, take them to your local cleaner and ask if they can remove the stain for you. Or contact the manufacturer of the sheets for tips and help.

If there there is no need to use any chemical detergent, try to stay away from them for both your silk duvets and your health.

Shopping for high quality seamless bedding checking the momme weight

Although seamless silk bedding does not represent the high quality, but there still some real good ones with seamless. How to pick them out! First, check the momme weight!

Look for a momme weight between 16 and 19, although you can have a momme weight (mm) as low as 12 and still be purchase a quality product. The higher the momme number the heavier that piece of fabric is and the more silk that was used in the construction of that piece of fabric. Any silk bedding sheets, whether it is made from mulberry silk or a more affordable wild silk, that has a momme weight of under 12 is not going to be durable and last a long time. You will save money initially but over the long term purchasing low quality sheets will cost you more than if you would have purchased a high quality set of sheets right away. This is because you will need to continue to replace those lower quality sheets at a far faster rate than high quality silk sheets which will last a long time if cared for properly and according to manufacturer’s instructions.

As it is said, momme weight is the common measurement for all silk!

Removing Other Stains From Your Silk Sheets

We have listed some of the common stains happen on your silk linen, and what if others? Deal with perspiration; you could use diluted ammonia (equal part of ammonia and water). Rinse well. And others like Oily or Greasy Stains try some liquid dishwashing soap letting it sit for few minutes. Rinse with water. There are still many for both of us to find out the best solution for it.

But not all silk is created alike. There are many different kinds which mean that a method that removes a stain on one type of silk may not work on another type of silk. Always test the method on an inconspicuous section of the sheets first, like on a corner of the fitted sheet that does not show when it is on the bed. All in all, keep your great silk duvets clean and there won’t be so much trouble for you!

Removing Lipstick and Makeup from your silk sheets

Cosmetics are another common stain happened, a short rest on your silk linen, and when you turn over in bed, your lipstick may easily kiss your silk pillowcase. How to wash them?

Try the laundry soap you use to regularly clean the sheets but in a little more concentrated form. If that does not work, try ammonia but be careful if the sheets are a dark color. Test in an inconspicuous place first and use as little as ammonia as possible. Start with 1 part ammonia to 3 parts water. If that doesn’t work increase the strength of the ammonia but never use anything stronger than 1 part ammonia to 1 part water.

After all, care for not “kiss” your silk bedding that would be the best solution.

Removing Coffee and Tea from your silk sheets

silk duvetsOnce you spill coffee or tea on your dress, you will be so disappointed at the dress and won’t wear it again, however, when the same thing happened on your expensive silk bedding sheets, with the different words, you won’t throw the silk sheets away, after all, they are so expensive. An efficient way to remove the spots away is to sponge with lukewarm water. Then apply glycerin (readily available online and at many natural products stores) and gently rub the fabric between your hands. Let it sit for half an hour; then rinse with warm water. You will find that the silk bed sets you cherish a lot has been a fresh one and more important, so dreamy to sleep on.

Removing blood from your silk sheets

Whatever gentle care for your luxious and soft silk sheets, some unexpected incident will also occur and what to do if some stains left on your silk bedding? Ways are provided for the special stains removing, one of the most common types is blood!

The earlier you treat it the easier it is to remove it. If it is still fresh, sponge the stain with cold water that has salt in it (1 teaspoon of salt per cup of water). Then rinse with clear water and repeat if necessary.

If the blood stain has set, still try the salted water method before trying anything else since it is the least harsh method of removing the stain from your luxious silk duvets. If it does not work, try making a paste out of meat tenderizer and applying it to the stain. Pat gently to work the paste in and then rinse. How does meat tenderizer work on blood stains? It breaks down the proteins in the blood which should release them from the fabric.

A rather unorthodox method recommended by one silk expert for removing dried blood is to use saliva. Put saliva on a Q-tip and dab at the stop until the blood disappears, using a fresh Q-tip for each application of the saliva. Rinse with water.

Of course, this is a folk way to remove the blood out of your silk bed linen, but why not have a try, it may effect better than you thought.

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.