Why You Should Avoid Cheap Silk Sheets

Why do I think you should avoid purchasing cheap silk sheets? 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 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 sheets. 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.

My son recently purchased a new set of sheets and was in a “bargain price” shopping mode. He made the mistake of looking at only two things: price and whether or not the sheets were seamless because he knew he wanted seamless sheets. He got a bargain, just like he wanted. He is now the no so proud owner of silk sheets that arent nearly as soft and luxurious as he wanted and are quickly wearing out. He knows he will have to replace the sheets within a year.

If you are determined to purchase a silk sheets but have a budget that currently does not allow for their purchase, it is a good time to practice you skills of patience, saving, and the willingness to delay the pleasure of owning them until you can afford a good quality set. Instead purchase a good quality set of Egyptian cotton sheets to use now. They are soft yet durable. Then save until you can afford good silk sheets.

Here are the three most important things to look for in a high quality set of sheets that will last a long time:

  1. 100 percent mulberry silk, also called cultivated silk or bombyx silk
  2. A momme count (pronounced “mummy” and indicated by the symbol “mm”) of no less than 12. Momme is a standard weight measurement for silk fabric and indicates the heft or weight of the fabric. The higher the momme number the heaver the fabric and the more silk that was used in the production of that piece of fabric.
  3. Thread count of 400 or higher although this is not nearly as important of a consideration as the type of silk used and the momme count.

You will be happy you passed up the cheap silk sheets and waited until you could afford high quality silk sheets every night when you climb into bed and are caressed as you drift off to sleep in the pure silks luxurious softness. You will also be happy years down the road when those silk sheets are still in good shape because you purchased ones that were durable.

The Advantages Of Silk Bedding And Silk Sheets

In ancient China, owning anything made of silk was once a privilege only given to the very wealthy and powerful. Today, quality silk bedding no longer only for the rich and affluent. Quality silk bedding is available to anyone willing to invest in it.

What are the benefits and advantages of silk bedding? Here are a few:

Silk Breathes

A silk comforter typically contains over one hundred layers of silk which makes it incredibly breathable and comfortable. Silk will wick away moisture from the body, keeping a person cool and comfortable all night long. That means that not only will it keep a person cool in the summer, but it is the perfect bedding choice for anyone who suffers from night sweats or hot flashes.

That doesn’t mean a persons silk comforter should be stored away for the winter in favor of another type of comforter. Silk is great in the winter too although feeling the weight of a silk comforter may not lead you to believe that. But it is true. Sleeping under a silk comforter is like sleeping under a light fluffy cloud, one that will keep you warm and snuggly even when it is cold outside. Silk has a natural draping ability that some people call the “hugging effect.” It gently caresses and hugs the body which helps hold in body heat when it is cold.

This means a silk comforter will keep a person feeling “just right” in terms of warmth. It helps them not ever feel too warm or too cold but always “just right.”

It Is Good For Allergy and Asthma Sufferers

The process of making silk from the cocoons of silkworms is a gentle one. It does not strip away the protein called sericin that it contains nor the amino acids that are in it. Those are good things for humans. They make silk, mold resistant, mildew resistant, and an environment that dust mites hate. So if you are like me and had to get rid of your down comforter because of dust mite allergies, getting a silk comforter instead is the perfect choice.

Long Lasting

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 silk naturally 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 comforter unless it is absolutely necessary, such as in the case of spilling something on it. But, they also say a silk comforter 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.

You Won’t Be Sorry

I have yet to hear of a single person who has said that sleeping on silk bedding is horrible. Most cannot rave enough about how wonderful it is. I doubt that you will regret your purchase of silk bedding. Instead you will be very glad you did it.

Silk History

The History of Silk and Silk Production

Silk production is said to have been the most zealously guarded secret in history because it is something the Chinese kept to themselves for almost 2,000 years. Its roots can be traced very far back in history although pinpointing an actual date has not yet been possible.

Prevailing legend says that Goddess of Silk was Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, who was the wife of Yellow Emperor. The mythical Yellow Emperor is said to have ruled China sometime around 3,000 B.C. Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih is given credit for inventing the loom and introducing the rearing of silkworms.

But recent archeological finds suggest the art of silk production, or sericulture as it is more formally known, dates back several thousand years earlier. A small ivory cup carved with a silkworm design, spinning tools, silk thread, and fabric fragments from an archeological site on the Yangzi River are thought to be 6,000 to 7,000 years old.

Although silk is produced from many different varieties of silk moths, many of them wild, the most prized moth used in sericulture is the Bombyx Mori. It is a blind moth that cannot fly. It is a specialized silk producer that is only able to mate and produce the eggs of the next generation. The silkworm this moth produces is highly prized because it produces a filament thread that is finer and smoother than the filament thread of other silk moths. A large reason for that may be due to the diet of the silkworms produced by the Bombyx Mori moth which is mulberry leaves.

In ancient China, sericulture was large part of the daily lives of the female population. The skills and talents of raising and feeding the silkworms, unraveling the filaments into their long threads, spinning those filaments into silk thread, weaving the thread into silk fabric, dying the fabric, and embroidering it, were passed down from generation to generation. It was common for the women of a Chinese household to spend a significant part of each day for half the year to the various activities of sericulture.

Those techniques and secrets passed down through the generations were very closely controlled by the Chinese authorities. Remember when I said earlier in this article that it was zealously guarded secret? I wasnt kidding. At time, anyone who revealed the secrets of sericulture or tried to smuggle either the silkworm eggs or cocoons outside of China were punished by being put to death.

As you might expect, during the earliest centuries of silk production in China, the privilege of wearing was allotted only to the ruler of the country along with his close relatives and his high ranking dignitaries.

Over time that changed. Eventually even the lower classes of Chinese society were wearing silk garments.

Silk was a major part of the Chinese economy. For a period of time, it was used as a method payment. Farmers would pay their taxes in silk. The government would reward its subjects who had provided outstanding services silk. Civil servants received payment for their services in silk also. It also became a form of currency trade between China and foreign countries.

Alas, China was not able to keep the secret of silk production to themselves forever. Chinese immigrants to Korea brought their silk making skills and secrets with them. Others also found ways to get the secrets along with the coveted eggs out of the country because there a high demand for the luxurious silk the Chinese produced. The demand in Roman times for example was so high that some historians say it damaged the Roman economy. That may have been due to the exorbitantly high price of the most luxurious of the silks that cost the equivalent of an entire years wages of a Roman soldier.

Today, although there are many countries who produce world class silk, it is still the Chinese who are the masters at it. China produces approximately half of all the silk made in the world. It is a long process that requires constant attention to detail. It starts with the moth laying it eggs, about 500 of them. The eggs are then hatched under very exacting conditions. The worms that hatch from the eggs are fed chopped mulberry leaves every half hour around the clock. After about a month, the silkworm has increased its weight by about 10,000 times. Once it has fattened itself up enough to have the energy to spin its cocoon, it spends approximately three to four days doing just that – spinning a white fluffy cocoon around itself.

After being kept in a warm dry place for several days, the cocoons are ready to be unwound. They are heated (typically steamed or baked) to kill the worms because one of the secrets to silk making is to not let the moth hatch and break the filament of the cocoon. The cocoons are then placed in hot water to loosen the filaments and then unwound onto a spool. Four to eight of the filaments are wound together to make one thread. Thats a lot of time and work to produce one single thread of silk!

The next time you slip on a luxurious silk garment or slide into bed in between a set of opulent silk sheets, consider the rich history of silk and the time consuming and exacting process of creating that beautiful fabric for you to enjoy.

Silk Comforter Buying Tips

Before you dash out to a store and buy a silk comforter take a few moments to read these buying tips to ensure you are purchasing the silk comforter that is right for you.

Here are some things to consider and look for.

Filling

Buy the best filling you can afford. If your pocketbook can afford it, go for a silk comforter with 100 percent mulberry filling. It is the most durable and the highest quality because mulberry silk comes from silkworms raised in captivity under exacting conditions designed to produce the best silk possible. Comforters with Habutai and Tussah silk will be less expensive but the quality will not be quite as high either.

Silk Fill Weight

Most silk comforter manufacturers have at least two weights of comforters available; one that is more suitable for summer use and a heavier one more suitable for cooler weather. In climates where the weather gets extremely cold it is suggested to use the summer weight and heavier weight comforter together to ensure you will be comfy and cozy no matter what the weather is. However, some silk comforter manufacturers do offer an extra warm silk comforter for extremely cold weather use.

As a general rule, summer weight comforters are 4 -5 pounds; fall weight are 6-10 pounds; and anything 11 pounds or over is for winter weather.

Dont Forget a Duvet Cover

A silk filled comforter should always be encased in a removable duvet cover that can be laundered regularly. The covers are available in a vast array of materials from different weaves and grades of silk to ones made of organic cotton to a combination of materials. The choice is up to you, but I recommend a silk cover for the silk comforter. Why skimp on the cover? But if the silk comforter you are buying is for a child, opt for a cotton cover because it is going to stand up to the wear and tear a child will subject it too better than a silk duvet cover will.

What Your Mummy Didnt Tell You

Silk is measured by its weight, its “momme” (pronounced “mummy”) weight. The higher the momme weight the heavier the silk and the more durable it is. While you should look for sheets with a momme weight of 12-19, look for a duvet cover that is on the high end of that range or even in the 20s. It will be more durable.

Seam or No Seam On the Cover

If you are purchasing a 100 percent silk duvet cover, seams arent necessarily a bad thing. Much of the silk made is only 45 inches wide so it makes sense that a silk duvet cover is going to have to have a seam or two somewhere. Seamless duvet covers can be purchased but the wider silk is more expensive so expect to pay a premium for it. Be wary of “too good to be true” prices on any seamless silk bedding. Its probably not a pure silk product.

If you do purchase bedding with a seam, there will either be a seam down the middle or two off center seams that are closer to the side edges. If you sleep alone and sleep in the middle of your bed choose bedding with off center side seams so you are not laying on or directly covered with a seam. If you or if you and your significant other sleep on either side of the bed, opt for the seam n the middle.

Where to Buy

Will you find a quality silk comforter at your local discount store? It is highly unlikely. How about at your local department store? Its not likely you will find it there either unless it is a high end department store. You are likely to find the highest quality and best price by ordering online, by mail, or via the telephone. Why is that? High quality silk bedding is typically made to order and not mass produced and stocked on shelves or in warehouses somewhere

When purchasing any silk bedding, you get what you pay for. Huge discounts and slashed prices on quality silk bedding are not a common occurrence and often only occur when a certain color or style is being discontinued. If you want to bargain shop, go the flea market and haggle over the price of a throw rug or beaded necklace.

Facts And Trivia About Silk

Do you know that the process of making silk was invented by the Chinese many thousands of years ago and that even though many other countries are now well known for their silk making abilities, it is still the Chinese who are the true masters of it and who produce about half the silk made in the entire world? It is true.

Here are some other fun and amazing facts about silk:

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. Thats 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!

The finest silk 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 dont 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, 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.

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 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.

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. Its a naturally self adjusting fabric.

If you bleach a dark colored silk fabric such as a sheet that is burgundy it wont turn pink. It will turn yellow. Bleach destroys the silk fabric and turns it an ugly yellow color that I dont think any decorator will ever find trendy or fashionable.

Silk bedding is recommended for people who suffer from dust mite allergies. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic. The naturally occurring substance found in the cocoon the silkworm spins protects it from various natural threats is not harmed during the process of turning the filament into silk fabric. I dont know exactly what those defensive properties are but dust mites, mold, and fungus dont like it so they wont invade your sleeping area.

At one point in history, the Chinese authorities were so adamant about protecting their secret about silk that anyone giving the secrets away or smuggling out silkworms or their cocoons was punished by being put to death. That may be why the secret of silk is said to be the most zealously guarded secret in history.

Legend has it that the secret of silk escaped China when a Chinese princess smuggled cocoons out of the country with her when she married a foreign prince by hiding them in her elaborate hairdo.

Another legend says the secret of silk production left China via the walking staffs of two monks who hid silkworms in the hollow shafts of them because of a request to do so by Emperor Justinian.

The “burn test” will indicate whether not a piece of fabric is silk. Silk will curl away from the flame and leaves a brittle and crushable black bead after burning. It will almost always extinguish itself when the flame is removed from it.

Did you think silk was just a piece of fabric? Now you know it is a whole lot more. Silk and the process of making it is nothing short of amazing.

How Silk is Made?

Silk and silk production have a rich history dating back several thousand years.  The formal name given to silk production is sericulture.  It is a process invented and perfected by the Chinese, and a secret they were able to keep from the rest of the world for several thousand years by different means, including putting anyone to death who tried to smuggle the secrets of sericulture or the silkworms out of China.

Today, sericulture has been mastered by many countries although it is still the Chinese who produce more silk than any other country in the world, about half of all silk.  They are true masters at the process of raising silkworms, harvesting their cocoons, retrieving the silk filament from each of the cocoons, spinning it into silk thread, weaving it into silk cloth, dying it, and lavishly embroidering it.

How is silk made?

It is an exacting and demanding process.  The most prized silk is obtained from a special type of silkworm, one that comes from the Bombyx mori moth.  It is a moth that cannot fly and cannot see.  Its only purpose in life is to lay the eggs that will produce the next generation of silkworms.

The Bombyx mori moth lays about 500 eggs over a period of four to six days and then dies, having completed the job it was meant to do.  The eggs are very tiny, like little pinpoints.  All five hundred eggs together only weigh about 5 grams or a little under 2 ounces.  It takes approximately 30,000 silkworms to produce twelve pounds of raw silk.  Those 30,000 silkworms will eat about 2,000 pounds of chopped mulberry leaves from birth to the time they weave their cocoons which is about a month after they are born.

Why is the silk from the silkworms produced by the Bombyx mori moth that is fed a diet of only chopped mulberry leaves so prized?  Unlike the silk that comes from wild moths who eat whatever food is available to them, the silk thread filament the Bombyx mori moth produces is a much higher quality.  It is finer, smoother and rounder than the silk from the wild moths.  Also, silk produced from wild moths is not uniform in length, color or shape which produces silk that is less smooth and may have short or broken threads in it.

It may not sound like it is all that difficult to hatch the eggs of the Bombyx mori moth, grow the silkworms, and harvest the cocoons but it is.

First of all the eggs need to be kept at 65 degrees Fahrenheit and slowly increased to 77 degrees so the eggs hatch properly.

The baby silkworms need to be fed chopped mulberry leaves every half hour around the clock while care is taken to maintain an environment that is stable, with a fixed temperature as well as making sure they are not subjected to loud noises, strong smells such as those from fish, or even the smell of human sweat.

Once the silkworms happily eat their way to 10,000 times their weight at hatching time, which only takes them about a month, they have enough energy to spin their cocoon.  That takes them three to four days.  The cocoon looks like a little white fluffy ball.  The cocoons are kept in a warm place for about 8 days.  Then the cocoons are steamed or heated to a higher temperature to kill the silkworms inside them because they have now completed the job they were meant to do.

Great care is taken to ensure the silkworm does not hatch into a moth because then the long silk thread filament that the silkworm has made its cocoon out of will get broken.

After the cocoons are heated or steamed, they are placed in water to loosen the silk thread filament.  Then the filaments from between four and eight cocoons are twisted together to make one silk thread that can be as long as 1,600 yards which I think is an amazing fact.  Its hard to believe that the cocoon from one silkworm can be one continuous filament that long, but it can be.

Finally, there is one strand of silk thread.  Is it any wonder that silk is expensive?  The process of making it is painstaking yet amazing.

The next time you run your fingers over a luxurious piece of silk or buy a set of silk bed sheets think about the amazing process and workmanship that turned the cocoons of the silkworm into such a wonderful piece of fabric.

The Ultimate Silk Sheets buying Guide

There is no doubt that purchasing anything made of silk is an investment. The process of growing silkworms, harvesting their cocoons, and turning those cocoons into soft luxurious silk is a demanding and time consuming process.

So before you make that purchase of silk sheets that you are longing to slide in between every night for a blissful nights sleep, here are some things you need to know.

Weight and Thread Count

When looking at silk sheets, 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.

Dont completely disregard thread count. Look for sheets that have a thread count of at least 400.

Types of Silk

There are two basic types of silk, wild silk and cultivated silk. Wild silk, as you might expect, comes from wild silkworms. The filament threads from them are not long continuous threads like those from cultivated silk so it is not as durable or as strong as cultivated. For sheets, durability is a big consideration. Although they cost more, sheets made from cultivated silk are recommended because the thread strands are much longer. Cultivated silk is most often referred to as Mulberry Silk because that is the only food cultivated silkworms eat. Mulberry silk is the most expensive. Tussah, Habutai, and wild silk can all be quite nice too and are a little less expensive.

Satin versus Silk

When looking at silk sheets you may be confused by sheets labeled “satin silk.” Satin does not refer to the actual fabric. Satin refers to the weave of the fabric. The silk filaments in satin silk are woven in a way that gives the fabric a smooth shiny surface. Satin silk woven from mulberry or cultivated silk threads is very luxurious and durable. It may make your pocketbook cry a little too because its also expensive.

Think About Your Mattress

Don’t forget to take the size of your mattress into consideration when purchasing silk sheets. Im not talking about whether your bed is twin-size, full, queen, king, or California king. Im talking about how thick it is. If you have a pillow top mattress you need extra deep sheets. It would be very disappointing to receive the silk sheets you ordered only to find they dont fit on your mattress.

Care of Silk Sheets

Although cost is the biggest barrier to people purchasing silk sheets, the fear of caring for them makes many people shy away from purchasing them too. Although they are not as easy to care for as percale sheets which can get thrown in the washer, tossed in the dryer and come out looking great no matter how much you abuse them, silk sheets require gentler care but its really not that hard.

Most silk sheets do best with hand washing for the first few times, and then being machine washed on the gentle or hand washable cycle using a gentle soap. They should be air dried out of direct sunlight although some people dont have any problems with putting their silk sheets in the dryer and drying them on the air setting to remove the excess moisture and fluff them up.

A Few Benefits of Silk

Silk sheets can be beneficial to your health. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic. When a silkworm weaves it cocoon there are naturally occurring substances in it that protect it from various natural threats. Because the process of turning the cocoons into silk is a gentle one that does not strip away that natural substance, silk is a natural deterrent to dust mites, mold, and fungus – all things that can bother allergy sufferers and people who suffer from asthma.

Although I dont know if this is proven or not, but the essential amino acids found in silk are said to be good for a persons skin, hair, and nervous system. Sleeping on silk sheets is supposed to delay wrinkling of the skin. Those same amino acids are supposed to be calming which is good for a persons nervous system as being calm allows a persons body to more easily refresh and rejuvenate itself during sleeping hours.

Silk sheets are great in both the summer and the winter. Because silk has a great draping ability, it gently conforms to a persons body which helps to retain heat and keep a person warm in the winter. In the summer its great breatheability properties allow it to wick away moisture and keep a person cool.

Where You Buy Your Silk Sheets Is An Important Consideration
Although department stores are the first place many people go to when buying sheets, you may not want to buy your silk sheets at once because most department stores do not offer high quality silk sheets.

As a general rule, the highest quality silk sheets are ones that are made to order for the buyer. Consider doing business with an online business that is both the manufacturer and the retailer. Not only are their prices competitive, they know their product very well and can answer all the questions you have, and even some you didnt know to ask, before you purchase.

Silk sheets are a wonderful thing to own. Once you have one set, you will want to buy more. That are that wonderful.

The Benefits of Silk Sheets

Here is a riddle for you to answer. What is cool in the summer, warm in the winter, naturally hypoallergenic and smooth as silk? If youre answer is silk you are correct! Silk bedding is a perfect cooling choice in the hot summer months and a warm cozy choice in the winter. How can it be both? Silk is breathable so it wicks away the moisture from sweat, keeping a person cool and comfortable. It is also a naturally draping fabric that gently hugs the body, eliminating air pockets and thereby holding in body heat better which will keep a person warm in the winter. It is a self adjusting fabric that seems almost magical.

What are some other notable benefits of silk bedding?

Hypoallergenic

Silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms. Like nearly anything in nature, there are natural occurring substances in the cocoon of the silkworm that protect from various threats. Because the process of turning those cocoons into silk is a gentle one that does not strip away those natural substances, the benefits of them are still in the silk when you purchase silk bedding. Dust mites, mold, and funguses all do not like those substances and stay away from silk. This means that silk bedding is a perfect choice for people suffering from asthma and from certain types of allergies such as being allergic to dust mites.

That means a silk comforter, unlike a down filled comforter, is not a haven for dust mites.

Silk is also mold and mildew resistant because of the sericin, a naturally occurring protein in silk, as well as several kinds of amino acids.

Good For the Skin

I dont know if there is any scientific proof to this but it has been said on more than one occasion that the amino acids in silk are good for a persons skin and help delay wrinkling in the skin as well as being good for a persons hair. They are also said to be helpful to the central nervous system helping to calm a person.

So even if you cannot afford to splurge on a whole set of silk bedding, invest in at least one pair of silk pillowcases. Anything that can help me avoid wrinkles for as long as possible and that may help me avoid having any more bad hair days is something I want.

Durability

A fiber of silk that is of the same diameter as a fiber of steel is said to be stronger than the steel. That is pretty durable, although it is important to know that all silk is not equal. Cultivated silk is more durable than wild silk because silkworms grown in captivity are fed an exclusive diet of mulberry leaves and care is taken to ensure the cocoon each of the silkworms weaves is kept intact to that when it is softened and unwound into a silk thread filament it stays in once piece. And as amazing as it sounds, a single cocoon of a cultivated silkworm can be up to 1,600 yards long!

Wild silk, while still very nice, is typically called spun silk because the fibers in it are not naturally very long but instead the filaments are spun together to create length.

One silk thread is typically four to eight of the silk thread filaments twisted together. And because silk naturally tends to adhere to itself, the silk filaments bond themselves making them less likely to pull apart even after years of use.

Silk will not deteriorate over time because of its natural fungal repellency and because chemicals are not used in processing, but this only holds true if you buy bedding that is 100 percent silk and not a blend of silk blend that contains silk plus other fibers that may or may not be chemical based or have been processed using chemicals.

Safety

Silk is a naturally fire retardant material which makes it a wonderful choice as bedding. It is a highly recommended bedding choice for babies and children.

Easy to Care For

Although silk sheets should be hand washed for the first few times, most can then be machine washed on the gentle or hand washable cycle of your washing machine using a gentle soap and cool water. Then they should be air dried out of direct sunlight which wont take long because silk dries fast.

Silk comforters are even easier to care for, so much so that they are nearly maintenance free. A silk comforter should always have a duvet cover on it to protect the comforter. Wash the cover regularly and air out the silk comforter periodically. The silk comforter should not need to be cleaned because it naturally repels mold, mildew, and dust mites.

Other Benefits

There are some benefits to silk bedding that are hard to quantify. If you have never slept on silk bedding it is hard to describe how luxurious and sensuous it feels. Think of it this way, when someone tells you something has a silky feel what thoughts instantly come to mind. Do you imagine something soft and pleasant to the touch? That is what silk is. It caresses your body in softness. It is a wonderful feeling that makes silk bedding far superior to any other bedding choice on the market.

What is Mulberry Silk?

Mulberry silk is the highest quality silk you can purchase.  It is made from silkworms that are raised in captivity under exacting conditions.  It is also the most expensive type of silk. What makes it so expensive and why is it superior to other types of silk? Let me start by telling how mulberry silk is made, a process the Chinese developed thousands of years ago and have perfected, making them the worlds experts in producing the finest silk. Mulberry silk is made from the silkworms of the Bombyx mori moth.  The moth has one job to do and that is to lay eggs.  After it lays about 500 eggs, its job is finished and it dies.  The tiny pinpoint size eggs are kept at 65 degrees Fahrenheit with the temperature slowly and carefully raised to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to hatch the eggs. The tiny silkworms that are born are then fed an exclusive diet of mulberry leaves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (mulberry leaves are the only food the Bombyx mori moth will eat).  After about a month of the constant gorging on the mulberry leaves, the silkworms will have increased their weight about 10,000 times and will have built up enough energy to start spinning their cocoon.  It takes anywhere from three to as long as eight days for the silkworm to weave the cocoon. The cocoons are then kept in a warm place for several days.  Great care is taken to ensure the silkworms do not hatch into moths because that would damage the cocoon and break the silk filament it has woven.  To harvest the silk from the cocoons, they are placed in water to soften the filament.  The softened filament is then unwound from the cocoon.  One filament can be up to 1,600 yards long.  It takes 4-8 of the silk filaments woven together to create one mulberry silk thread. The silkworms may have a short life with their only purpose to be providing silk, but those short lives are pampered ones.  In addition to the constant fresh supply of mulberry leaves available to them, their environment is strictly controlled to prevent them from being subjected to loud noises and strong odors such as those from fish and the human odor of sweat. The resulting mulberry silk thread is the strongest natural fiber in the world, making it incredibly durable.  A silk fiber the same diameter as a fiber of steel is stronger than the steel. The mulberry silk thread is also rounder, finer, smoother, and a lighter more uniform color than silk harvested from the wild where those silkworms have to eat whatever leaves and plants that are available to them. Mulberry silk is also known as cultivated silk and bombyx silk but mulberry silk is the most commonly used term.  It is also sometimes referred to it by its type which is thrown or reeled silk. If you want the most luxurious, most durable, and finest silk bedding, look for silk sheets made with 100 percent mulberry silk and for silk comforters made with 100 percent mulberry silk floss. A few other features of mulberry silk include it being 100 percent hypoallergenic and also being odorless and not needing any “airing out” before use like some of the lower quality wild silks. And although the type and quality of the silk is a major consideration, do not overlook the weight of it.  High-quality silk bedding, should have a momme weight of at least 12, but more normally between 16 -19, and in the case of duvet covers as high as the low 20s.  The momme weight is a standard unit of measurement for silk and is indicated by the symbol “mm.” The larger the momme number, the heavier the silk, and the more silk that was used in that fabrics construction.  Any silk with a momme weight lower than 12 isn’t suitable for bedding, although there is a lot of it out there that does have a momme weight under 12.  The lighter weight bedding won’t be as durable. Don’t overlook thread count although check the momme weight first.  That’s the more important consideration, but do opt for silk bedding with a thread count of 400 or higher to ensure you are getting the finest quality mulberry silk that will last for many years.

What is Momme Weight?

For a long time silk sheets were thought of as a luxurious purchase that only the very rich could afford to indulge in. While it is true that silk sheets are expensive, it does not mean they are out of reach for everyone.

The best silk sheets are made from 100 percent mulberry silk; have a thread count over 400 threads per inch; have a momme count of about 19, and are woven in way that gives the silk a satiny appearance that is pure luxury against the skin.

Momme? What is that? I wondered too when I first delved into the world of silk and silk sheets. I always thought the best way to judge the quality of sheets was to look at their thread count. The higher the thread count the better the sheets which makes sense because thread count measure how many threads are in every inch of material so a high thread count means a better quality fabric that will hold up well over repeated laundering. But when I first read that momme weight needed to be considered too I was perplexed because I had no idea what it was and why it was important.

Momme weight is a way of measuring things developed by the Japanese. Momme weight is a standard way of measuring the weight of silk as well as a common way to measure pearls. Momme is pronounced much like the word “mummy.”

For silk sheets a momme weight of 12-19 is considered good quality with silk sheets in the range of 16-19 being very high quality. Anything lower than 12 will result in sheets that are not as durable as they should be which means they will be more prone with damage and tearing.

To standard for measuring momme weight is by using a piece of fabric that is 100 yards long and 45 inches wide. If that piece of fabric weighs 19 pounds then the momme weight of that silk is 19.

The higher the momme weight the heavier the fabric which means a greater amount of silk was used in the weaving process.

While silk sheets are typically in the 12-19 momme weight range, the covering on an ultra-luxurious silk comforter is usually in the 18-22 momme weight range. Silk clothing if often in the 8-12 momme weight range. A piece of silk with a momme weight range of 22 is suitable for a mans suit.

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.”

When you are shopping for silk sheets 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 sheets 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.