Benefits, Care, and History of Silk

History of silk:

Silkworms feed voraciously on mulberry leaves prior to entering to cocoon stage. To create its protective cocoon the worms produce a protein based, jelly-like substance from silk glands which hardens upon contact with air.

The silkworm requires approximately eight days to complete its cocoon. A single silk filament can reach lengths of up to 1,600 yards. The silk filament is obtained from the cocoons by a delicate process known as reeling or filature. The cocoons are first heated in water to dissolve the outside gummy substance. The end of the cocoon filament is joined and twisted with filaments of four to eight other cocoons and then combined with other similarly twisted filaments to make a thread that is wound on a reel. The thread is continuous and, unlike other natural fibers such as cotton or wool, is made up of extremely long fibers.

No longer exclusive to royalty, silk is still coveted for its elegance, versatility, and is significantly more available and affordable. Traditionally highly valued for apparel, silk is now the fabric of popular choice for home furnishings including bed linens, drapes and carpets.


Too delicate, difficult to care for, and does not "wear well" are often misconceptions attributed to silk. On the contrary, silk is the strongest of natural fibers, most often washable for easy care and resilient for long wear. Silk is breathable, naturally hypoallergenic, absorbs moisture, reduces humidity, and is surprisingly cool in the summer, and remarkably warm in the winter. Silk retains its shape, drapes and forms well, and has an unmistaken sheen and feel.

General care instructions:

Hand Wash: Silk duvet covers, sheets, pillow cases and apparel are washable. The preferred method is hand laundered in lukewarm water with mild soap or detergent using a gentle hand movement. Do not soak too long. Rinse in cool water and roll silk in a towel to remove excess water. Never wring water from silk.

Machine Wash: Larger items can be machine washed. Wash in cold water with mild detergent, no bleach, on a gentle cycle. Wash silk separate from other items, and do not overload washer to avoid any unnecessary wear to the fabric. Silk dries quickly. Tumble dry on very low heat only if necessary.

Dry Clean: Comforters are dry clean only. Ironing: Silk has a resistance to creasing or wrinkling, most will smooth out naturally. If ironing should become necessary, press the damp silk on the reverse side with an iron set on low. Silk charmuese (satin) requires a cool iron to bring back sheen.

Posted: July 06, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Tagged as: Bedding, Care & More, Fabrics and Textiles
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