Usually, when I visit with friends and stay overnight, I can’t help but pay special attention to their choice of bedding. Oh sure, there are the usual favorites like cotton, linen, and polyester bedding. But sleeping in silk bedding was the best experience I had ever had, and I slept like a baby.
Best of all, I woke up feeling like a million bucks, and I even looked more beautiful too. Was silk bedding a gift from the gods?
Curious, I called up my friend who is a product buyer for Kovi Fabrics. She had the full lowdown on just why silk bedding is the best.
What Is Silk?
Silk is made from the fibers of the fibroin proteins that silkworms use to make their cocoons. The fibers are then washed and processed to create long-stranded fiber that can be spun into a type of yarn that can be woven to create the unique textile we know (and love) as silk.
The best silk is made from the cocoons of the bombyx mori larvae that have fed upon mulberry leaves. This silk is rated as 6A, which is the top standard in the silk manufacturing industry. The six indicates the top of the range, while the A signifies the quality.
Silk textile can also be used for other purposes, so you can opt for an all-silk bedroom. Why not add silk curtains, upholstery, and cushions? Kovi Fabrics sells some great silk textile fabrics for just these purposes like this great curtain fabric with a 100% silk base and rayon embroidery (S8502 BROWN MARS).
The textiles made from silk can be stained in wonderful colors, but it is the unique properties of silk that make it truly a winner.
Silk Bedding Benefits
There are amazing benefits to using silk textiles to make bedding material. From silk pillowcases to silk sheets and even silk threaded blankets, silk textiles are incredibly versatile.
Some of the benefits of sleeping on 100% genuine silk include:
- Silk doesn’t accumulate static electricity
Because there is no static, your silk pillowcase will ensure your hair always looks great (no frizz), and hair breakage is minimized. Since there is no static electricity, your skin will be less irritated than with a cotton or polycotton sheet.
- Silk doesn’t absorb moisture
Silk is less absorbent than cotton fibers. The proteins that silk is made of are actually used in many hair conditioning treatments and skincare products because it helps hydrate skin and hair. So sleeping on a silk pillow casing will reduce moisture loss that could dry out skin and hair.
- Silk’s smooth texture smooths skin
Since silk is smooth in texture, it also smoothes skin since it won’t rough up skin cells or fold and leave “pillow face” for you to deal with in the morning.
- Silk is thermoregulating
When you sleep under silk sheets, you will find the proteins naturally responding to your body temperature. This quality helps regulate temperature, ensuring you enjoy a cool night’s sleep. Silk fabric is a great choice for warmer climates as it has amazing thermoregulating properties.
- Silk is great for those with allergies
If you struggle with allergies, try sleeping on silk sheets. The silk textile naturally contains proteins like sericin, which coats the fibers in a protective layer. This protein layer is totally impermeable to toxins, bacteria, microspores, or microscopic organisms.
Since the unseen triggers of allergies can’t thrive on a silk sheet, you are assured of a safe and hypoallergenic sleep experience.
Additionally, silk sheets are so soft and smooth that they don’t irritate delicate skin with friction like cotton or linen would. No more red or scratchy and itchy skin when you wake up.
- Silk doesn’t need special equipment to clean
Despite being a natural fiber textile, silk washes remarkably well. It’s recommended not to dry clean silk, but you can toss your sheets in the regular washing machine or top loader on a light cycle with cold water.
Drying your laundered silk bedding can be a challenge, but more on how to dry silk sheets next.
The Cons of Silk Bedding
As you can imagine, silk is not the cheapest of textiles. Purchasing a 100% pure silk bedding set can cost over $400, and depending on the quality of the silk, it can cost even more. Therefore, the cost of silk sheets is perhaps the biggest negative of buying silk sheets.
- Silk is available in different qualities
Some silk merchants will sell silk blends off as 100% silk, which will offer inferior quality. Before buying silk sheets, it is important to ensure that you are buying 100% silk sheets, preferably from silkworms fed on mulberry leaves.
Buying silk blends will result in poor quality and shortened service span as the blended fibers will start to disintegrate when laundered or will crease when ironed.
- Caring for silks sheets is not complicated, but can be expensive
There is the additional expense of buying silk-approved detergent, and the additional time of laundering your sheets as a silk-only load when you wash your sheets. It isn’t a simple matter of throwing your silk sheets in the wash along with your other sheets.
Silk sheets need to be separated from other bedding before laundering. This also means you will require more time to do laundry. And the best practice is to place each silk item in a mesh laundry bag (again, this will take some time).
- Drying silk sheets can be a challenge
When it comes to drying your silk sheets, it can be a real challenge, especially if you live in a small apartment. Silk can’t be dried in the sun, nor can it be dried in the dryer. So what do you do to dry your silk sheets?
To dry silk bedding, you need to dry the sheets out of direct sunlight by hanging the sheets over a large clothes horse, or pegging it to a clothesline with non-stained wooden pegs.
You can also blot silk dry by placing large cotton towels on the bed, then laying the silk sheets over this and blotting. The cotton is highly absorbent, so it will draw moisture from the silk bedding.
- Ironing Silk Bedding
If you have washed and dried your silk bedding, you may notice the fibers are a little wrinkled. The temptation is to iron the sheets. While silk can be ironed, it requires special attention to iron. Unlike cotton, which can withstand a higher temperature iron, you would need to take precautions when ironing your silk bedding.
Try using the coolest temperature on your iron. Steam frequently to help the iron not stick to the silk fibers. Alternatively, you can also wrap your iron with a smooth handkerchief to protect the silk fibers when ironing.
How to Choose Silk Bedding
Convinced you need to buy silk bedding? Great! But how do you know you are buying quality? It’s not like you can travel to the mulberry farms and watch the silkworms go about their cocooning activities to ensure it’s 100% silk you are getting.
To choose the best silk, follow these tips:
- Buy from reputable dealers
If you get a bargain on silk, it’s probably cheap silk, which is mixed with other fibers. There may also be chemicals present that are used during an inferior manufacturing process. The quality will suffer, and some of the unique properties of real silk will be compromised such as being hypoallergenic or thermoregulating.
- Ask for the OEKO-TEX rating
Silk is an all-natural textile, and it shouldn’t contain any chemicals. From the feeding stages to the silk production and cocooning stages of the manufacturing process, and to the washing and weaving steps, there should be no harmful chemicals used at all. An OEKO-TEX rating will help assure you of the genuine organic nature of the silk fibers and textile.
- Check the grading
Silk should be marked according to the grading. This is the quality standard of the silk. Only 6A grading is considered at the top of the industry. This will assure you of the overall quality and authenticity of the silk textile.
- Mulberry fed silkworms
Not all silk is produced from the cocoons of silkworms fed on mulberry leaves. Sourcing mulberry leaves in large quantities can be a challenge, and silkworms will eat most other leaves too. However, there is a substantial quality difference between silkworms fed on mulberry leaves and those fed on other leaves. Always choose mulberry-fed silkworm silk.
- Momme weight or “thread count”
When it comes to silk, the denser the weave, the better. The textile creation process of silk is slightly different than cotton or other fabrics, which is why we talk about momme weight, which should be 19, 22, or 30 at the denser end of the spectrum. These momme weights are the densest on the market, offering the best quality and durability.
Alternatives to Silk Bedding
Silk doesn’t really have any direct competitors, and even rayon or bamboo fiber sheeting doesn’t quite stand up to the quality and benefits of silk. However, there are some specific benefits that silk shares with other natural fibers.
This natural fiber is a quality alternative to silk, though you shouldn’t expect the silk feel or superior softness that silk offers. Bamboo fibers are also hypoallergenic, thermoregulating, and great for the environment.
Cotton is a staple when it comes to bedding, but it doesn’t share the softness profile of silk bedding. Cotton is hypoallergenic, moisture absorbing, and environmentally friendly. For those who are hot sleepers, cotton sheets are a great alternative as they absorb sweat, leaving you cooler.
While not a natural fiber, polyester has unique properties that may make it appealing to you as a silk bedding alternative. Polyester can be treated and woven in different ways to simulate the feel of silk.
So if you are looking for softness, polyester can be an alternative bedding. However, polyester is not hypoallergenic, and it is often quite warm to sleep under. It can be difficult to iron polyester (depending on the blend), and polyester sheets won’t last as long as natural fiber sheets.
Final Thoughts on Silk Bedding
Silk bedding is expensive. There’s no way to ignore that fact; however, it is a worthwhile investment in your health and superior quality of sleep. With great benefits, silk bedding can really make your bedroom a safe and luxurious cocoon to escape to when you need to rest and recharge after a long day at work.