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.

silkwormMulberry 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.gold silkworm

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 isnt suitable for bedding, although there is a lot of it out there that does have a momme weight under 12.  The lighter weight bedding wont be as durable.

Dont overlook thread count although check the momme weight first.  Thats 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.

Caring For Your Silk Sheets

After spending several hundred dollars on high-quality silk sheets, the last thing you want to do is ruin them by not caring for them properly although it is not as hard as many people think.

Did you know that besides the cost barrier, the misconceptions about the difficulty to care for them are the biggest reason why people do not purchase silk sheets. While it is true that silk sheets are expensive and are an investment, caring for them shouldn’t scare you or stop you from purchasing them.

The care tips listed below are general for most types of silk and satin-silk sheets. For the specific sheets you have purchased, refer to the care instructions that came with them. If you are not sure how to care for them or are confused by the instructions do not hesitate to contact the place of business where you purchased them or write the manufacturer. And just as a side note, in the case of silk sheets the manufacturer is often who you are buying directly from because high-quality silk sheets are typically made only after an order for them has been placed.

What To Wash Your Silk Sheets In

Keep in mind that silk is a very strong natural fiber. To keep that fiber strong, avoid subjecting it to harsh detergents and soaps that will break those fibers down and strip it of its natural properties. Woolite is a mild detergent that many people use to successfully clean their silk sheets but I have found a few manufacturers who do no recommend it. A commonly recommended soap is Charlies Liquid Laundry soap which can be purchased online. It is non-toxic and completely biodegradable soap.

When you first purchase silk sheets, wash them by hand for the first few washings. Doing this helps to preserve the sheen of the silk and soften the silk fibers.

After hand washing for the first few times you can switch to machine washing if you want to, but always wash the sheets on your machine’s delicate cycle After hand washing for the first few times, you can switch to machine washing the sheets, but always wash them on the delicate cycle and never use hot water. Experts recommend washing silk sheets at 30 degree Centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit) which is water that is barely lukewarm.

If your machine has an option to allow an extra spin cycle to wring as much water out of your fabrics as possible, resist the urge to use it. Use the spin cycle sparing on silk sheets because it is hard on their fibers. That is why it is important to use the delicate or hand washable cycle on the machine.

It is okay to use fabric softener if you would like to. My personal favorite is a lavender scented fabric softener.
Do not use bleach, even color safe bleach – ever, not even if you have stains.

Also, resist scrubbing the fabric vigorously to remove a stain.

Let the sheets hand dry, if possible, but keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents because that is just like putting them in a hot dryer. It is especially important to keep dark colored silk sheets out of the sunlight because it will visibly fade them in a very short amount of time. But, because finding a safe place to air dry large silk sheets, such as king size sheets, can be difficult, some people have had good luck drying their sheets using the lowest temperature setting on their dryer, the one that is just barely higher than “air dry.”

My favorite place to dry silk sheets is outside on a clothesline that is protected from the sun, but because I live in a cold climate it is not feasible to hang out my sheets year around so I utilize my dryer for several months a year.

If you think the sheets need ironing, although I admit I have never ironed silk sheets, you can use a cool iron on them while they are still slightly damp, making sure to iron on the reverse side (the non-shiny side). But I will tell you I have never found it necessary to iron silk sheets. If they are gently washed and dried (translation: not twisted and wrung and beat up), they don’t need to be ironed.

One other note about washing silk sheets – do not put anything else in the washer with them. Wash them separately from your other laundry.

Take Care of Yourself To Help Prolong the Life of Your Silk Sheets

Silk, while durable, can unwittingly be damaged by you. 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!

Some Shrinking of Fabric is Normal

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.

remove blood

Removing Stains From Your Silk Sheets

You have purchased soft, luxurious, and oh so dreamy to sleep on silk sheets. You treat them with loving care, washing them often but washing and drying them gently. But now the unimaginable has happened. You have a stain on your silk sheets and do not know what to do.

Here is a list of common stains and tips on how to remove them. But there is a word of warning with this list. It is a general list for removing stains from silk, but you need to remember that not all silk is created alike. There are many different kinds which means 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.

Blood – This is probably the most common type of stain. 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. 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.

Coffee and Tea – sponge with lukewarm water. Then apply glycerine (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.

Perspiration Stains – use diluted ammonia (equal part of ammonia and water). Rinse well.

Lipstick and Makeup – 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.

Oily or Greasy Stains – try some liquid dishwashing soap letting it sit for few minutes. Rinse with water.

A Few Things To Never Use on Silk

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.