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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Silk Bedding

Have you recently slept on silk bedding for the first time and decided that it was the perfect fabric for a great sleep?

Perhaps you bought silk sheets once upon a time and loved them, but you just can’t seem to track down new ones that are just as nice?

No matter if you are a first-time buyer or long-time owner of silk bedding, this is the guide for you!

Why Should You Buy Silk Bedding Over Other Fabrics?

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New customers often ask us this question. They have been told that silk sheets are excellent, perhaps by their aunt or grandmother, and they are keen to give silk a shot.

Why, then, is silk thought to be the most luxurious bedding fabric?

  1. Silk is unbelievably smooth and feels wonderful on the skin;
  2. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic and is resistant to fungus, mold, dust, as well as many other allergens;
  3. Silk is excellent in any climate: from frigid winters to sizzling summers, silk will afford you a great sleep and incredible comfort (more on this to follow);
  4. Silk is the fabric with the most longevity;
  5. Silk benefits your hair and skin; it helps hair hang onto its moisture and also reduces any damage from fabrics with more friction;
  6. Deciding on silk is like deciding to buy Amish furniture; it will last much longer than any other fabric you could buy. Once you become tired of buying new sheets every season, it is time to go silk. Silk will outlast any other natural material, and it even has a lifespan comparable to that of polyester. Unlike polyester, however, silk not only feels wonderful but is good for your health.

All of this is what makes silk the best of all fabrics.

Nevertheless, one must be careful not to settle for low quality silk (as we’ll discuss more below); the quality of your silk sheets matters as much as the thread count of cotton sheets matters.

Types of Silk and How They Compare in Quality.

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Before you start shopping for silk you should enlighten yourself about different varieties of silk and the way in which they are measured for their quality.

As a starter, it will be helpful to know about the following kinds of silk:

Charmeuse is the most common variety of silk, used in bedding, dresses, and shirts.

This kind of silk is lightweight and is naturally elastic, making it an ideal fabric to use in pillow cases, sheets, or other types of bedding. The front of charmeuse silk has a satiny shine to it, and the back of it has a duller finish. Charmeuse is also a cultivated silk, which means that the silk worms that make it are farmed for silk production.

Mulberry is the silk with the highest quality, and it is also the most highly sought fabric for bedding.

Most mulberry silk is actually nothing more than charmeuse silk that has been cultivated from a special kind of silkworm fed on a strict diet. “Bombyx mori” is the name of this silkworm which produces mulberry silk, and it has a taste for mulberry tree leaves. This particular kind of silkworm, sought highly for its high quality silk, has existed in captivity for more than 5,000 years. Careful breeding and a diet of mulberry leaves are the combination that makes the result, mulberry silk, the very best silk you can buy today.

Tussah is a variety of silk made from wild, undomesticated silkworms.

Because the worms aren’t fed a measured diet or pampered in the same way cultivated silkworms are, this kind of silk is less soft and durable than cultivated silk. Most tussah silk comes from India rather than China.

Habotai is another excellent silk commonly used in sheets and bedding.

Habotai is not as expensive as charmeuse silk, but it is also less durable. This kind of silk is often treated with sand in order to make it feel soft like charmeuse. This process however also destroys the silk’s fibers, talking away from its longevity.

Duppoini silk is relatively strong and lustrous, but it is also coarse and as such isn’t ideal for sheets and other bedding.

It is sometimes used in duvets, but on account of its lower quality it doesn’t work as well for maintaining temperature. Its lower quality comes from the fact that this type of silk is made from cocoons which aren’t of the same quality as those used in charmeuse silk.

Having now learned that mulberry silk is the variety with the highest quality, you can also learn about something called “Momme Weight” (pronounced “mummy weight”). Momme weight is a type of measurement used for weighing silk which was created in Japan; it is also used to measure other things like pearls.

To determine the momme weight you should measure a piece of fabric a hundred yards long and forty-five inches wide. If, for example, the piece of fabric this size weighs 12 pounds, then the momme weight would also be 12.

The manufacturer will generally list the momme weight on the packaging (since most shoppers will not be able to complete this process themselves).

The variety of the silk can also help to determine its momme weight. Habotai silk, for example, is mostly only found with a momme weight of 5 to 15, while charmeuse silk tends to be more in the range of 12 to 30.

In the case of bedding, ideally you should look for a momme weight of 15 or higher. At our store, for instance, all of our silk bedding has a momme weight of 22. You will not normally ever see bedding with a higher momme than this.

Summer vs. Winter Silk Bedding

Believe it or not, silk bedding is perfect for any season! Your pillowcases and sheets made from silk do not need to be changed during summer or winter. On especially hot or cold nights, we do recommend people to get a different silk duvet, however, for the summer and winter. You could also always try a silk blanket during the winter for some extra warmth.

What is it that makes silk so flexible? For starters silk doesn’t bunch up, meaning it provides even heat for your entire body. Your feet, for instance, will be equally insulated with your upper body, and the overall temperature can be regulated by your own body.

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, dripping wet beneath your heavy bedding? This tends to happen because the synthetic fiber used in traditional bedding material doesn’t breathe well.

Throughout the night your body’s heat builds up gradually, eventually becoming unbearable. Your sweat also gets trapped inside of your bedding and is not able to evaporate, so you can end up with terribly wet sheets which make it impossible to fall back to sleep. This is an especially big problem for women going through menopause because their body temperature goes back and forth from hot to cold, and typical cotton sheets don’t accommodate for such changes in heat, causing them to wake up continuously from being either too hot or too cold.

The fine composition of silk down at the microscopic level allows for a small yet but effective amount of air to naturally assist your body control its temperature. When you overheat, your body tends to perspire; however silk’s breathable properties let that moisture escape and allow your body to cool: this has been referred to as the “wicking effect”.

As your body cools down, less sweat is produced. Conversely, silk also helps your body hang on to the heat it produces when it’s cold. What’s more, silk provides an even amount of cooling all throughout the night, so your body won’t need to be readjusting its temperature constantly.

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.

To begin with in choosing a silk duvet, one should consider which season it will be used for. As mentioned previously, having access to a different duvet for summer and winter is ideal. Heavier silk duvets are better for winter since they retain more of your body heat, and thinner duvets are better for summer since they breathe better in order to keep you cool.

While shopping for a silk duvet, you should look at something called “the tog” in order to identify how cool or warm the duvet is. The tog is a rating of how well-insulated a duvet or other fabric is.

An ideal duvet for summer should be between 2 to 4 tog, and should have no additional fabric mixed in with it. It is very important to make sure that the duvet is pure silk if you wish to keep cool throughout the summer. Have a look at our own silk duvet for summer if you’d like more information.

Spring or fall silk duvets

Some people also like to use a different duvet for spring and fall; these duvets generally have a tog of 8 to 11. Those living in a moderate climate might also want to use a duvet like this for most, if not all, of the year.

A spring or fall duvet like this can also be beneficial if you would like to save money by purchasing only a single duvet.

A mulberry silk duvet for winter

During the winter you may want multiple layers of silk in order to keep you warm, and we recommend having at least a 12 togger; our winter duvet has a tog of 13. For particularly cool climates you may want to think about getting a cotton-covered silk duvet. By and large you should find that even a pure silk duvet, however, can keep you extremely warm throughout the whole winter.

Choosing Your Colors

At last, the most enjoyable part of shopping for your silk bedding. Choosing a combination of colors that suits your tastes and your other decor is also very important. Choosing the right colors can not only enhance your mood, but it can also help you to fall asleep more easily.

Blue is by all means a beautiful color, but do you know that it’s also been proven time and time again to have a positive impact on your sleep? A 2013 study showed that people who sleep in a blue room have the best overall night’s sleep.

Perhaps the color blue inspires thoughts of peace and calm in the mind. In any case, blue seems to be naturally pacifying color and if you are not yet benefiting from such a blue-colored peace in your room, consider purchasing a blue duvet or else a blue bedding set to make a significant impact on the quality of your sleep.

On the other hand, if blue is the most soothing color for your bedroom, what would be the most abrasive one? You might instinctively think of red or yellow as having an opposite, jarring effect, but as it happens it is the colors purple, brown and gray that were ranked the lowest!

Wherever possible, one should avoid these colors for your bedroom walls, bedding or anything else beyond mere accents.

Furthermore, if you are longing to kick-start your love life, colors such as gold, yellow and orange have been known to raise libido. On the other hand the same study from 2013 found that a red decor did not, as one might expect, have the effect of raising the pitch of romance in the bedroom.

Are you looking for a great night’s sleep but are not sure if blue is the right color for your room? Orange or green decor are also known to have a positive effect on your sleep. Feel free to mix and match different color combinations to find the most restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep for you!

Buying Silk Bedding for your Guest Bedroom

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Want to enhance your guests’ visit and impress them simultaneously? Then silk bedding is absolutely the way to go. It is not only a treat for people who have never experienced sleeping in silk before, but furthermore silk’s many benefits for your health and sleep quality will help reduce irritability caused by jet lag.

An ideal guest bedroom must appear elegant, so we recommend buying one of our own luxury silk bedding sets.

Our eight piece sets come with a duvet, a top sheet and fitted sheet, as well as oxford and housewife pillowcases. Their incredible designs will accentuate the beauty of any room and will make them look amazingly elegant!

If you truly wish to make your guest’s visit an exceptional one, then buy a silk eye mask for them so they can really sleep in luxury. These kind of eye masks are great to help your guests fall asleep and can also be an affordable gift to thank them for their stay.

In addition to buying a silk bedding set, you could also buy a silk blanket or perhaps a silk throw for them. Blankets like these are soft, warm and fit just right for a guest that is picky about the precise amount of coverage they get while sleeping.

Caring for Your Silk Bedding

Once you have been sleeping in silk for some time, you may begin to wonder how often you need to clean your sheets. Or are they even washable? Should they be dry cleaned instead?

One of the greatest things about quality silk is that it repels dust, dirt, oil, and the other gunk that bedding will normally build up over time. For this reason silk bedding needs to be washed much less often than cotton or bedding made from synthetic materials.

Although as a general rule most silk is machine washable (though drying by air is preferable), you should always check the specific instructions on the label of each product. Generally speaking, however, we do recommend the following:

Basic rules for washing silk:

    1. Do not use any bleach or bleaching agents. These can damage the silk’s fibers as well as reduce the longevity of your silk.
    2. Do not use a machine drier. The silk’s fibers can also be damaged by the heat as well as the tumbling motion.
    3. Using cold water, whether washing by hand or in the machine, is always preferable for silk bedding.
    4. Air drying, likewise, is always preferable.
    5. Light ironing (using the coolest setting) on the inner side of your silk sheets is also recommended.

In addition to these rules of thumb, some silk items such as blankets, pillows, or duvets sometimes require special care. Do consult our complete care guide for more specific details about each product.

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