- What is Mulberry Silk?
- Buying Mulberry Silk Items
- Signs of Quality Mulberry Silk
- Caring for Mulberry Silk
Known as the "queen of silks", mulberry silk is one of the most coveted, high-end fabrics in the world. But what exactly differentiates mulberry silk from other types of silk fabric? In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about what mulberry silk is, how to care for items made from it, and why it is considered a premium luxury material.
What is Mulberry Silk?
Mulberry silk comes specifically from the Bombyx mori silkworm which feeds exclusively on the leaves of mulberry trees. Feeding on the steady diet of mulberry leaves gives the silk a distinctive smooth, fine texture and beautiful sheen. Mulberry silk is the highest quality commercial silk fabric available, and has been prized in China for centuries as a symbol of royalty and status.
Mulberry silk has a unique molecular structure that allows it to absorb moisture while feeling dry against the skin. This makes it beneficial for temperature regulating properties. Bedsheets and clothing made of mulberry silk remain comfortable year-round. The durability of mulberry silk also makes items withstand years of use while maintaining their luxurious properties when properly cared for.
Buying Mulberry Silk Items
From bed sheets to scarves, pillowcases and garments, mulberry silk is used to make luxury items across categories. Shoppers should look for a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification to ensure the silk is organic, sustainably produced mulberry silk. Additionally, the fabric should have a subtle sheen, smooth and consistent texture, and high tensile strength indicating quality construction.
Prices for mulberry silk items range from $100-$600 generally. While more expensive than inferior silks or synthetic fabrics, genuine mulberry silk is an investment that grants years of enjoyment and often looks better over time. Items used frequently like sheets or blouses deserve the upgrade of 100% mulberry silk.
Signs of Quality Mulberry Silk
Compared to other silk, mulberry is distinctly soft, smooth, and resistant to pilling or snagging. It lacks the stiffer, rougher texture of inferior silk fabrics. Properly cared for mulberry silk enhances over time, developing a subtle glow while maintaining excellent durability. If purchasing secondhand, signs of quality include consistent sheen on both sides, minimal snags, and vibrant color despite age. For most, experiencing pure mulberry silk is revelatory and makes evident why it has been coveted for millennia.
Caring for Mulberry Silk
The delicate nature of silk requires very gentle care to avoid damage. Here are tips to keep mulberry silk items looking their best:
- Hand wash or dry clean only using a mild, silk-safe detergent. Never use bleach or fabric softener.
- Mix a silk wash product or mild soap in cool water. Use gently movement rather than vigorous rubbing.
- Rinse thoroughly in cool, clean water to remove all soap residue which can damage silk over time.
- Avoid twisting, wringing or stretching the silk when wet. Roll items in a towel to gently absorb moisture.
- Lay flat on a non-abrasive surface or hang to air dry out of direct sunlight which can fade colors.
- For garments, reshape while damp and lay flat to dry fully before wearing or storing.
- Iron silk only if needed as heat can damage fibers over time. Use lowest heat setting.
- Iron inside out and use a press cloth - smooth cotton cloth placed over silk while ironing.
- Steam irons provide moisture to relax wrinkles without harsh heat.
- Fold garments and store in breathable cotton bags or acid-free tissue paper, not plastic.
- Hang items on padded hangers to avoid snagging or distorting shape.
- Allow airflow in closets to prevent mildew.
By following these best practices for caring for precious mulberry silk, you can maintain its integrity and extend its lifespan considerably. Handle with care and your silk items will last and improve for generations.
In summary, mulberry silk is the highest echelon of silk fabric thanks to the bombyx mori silkworms that produce exceptionally fine, durable filament. When shopping, look for certification of 100% organic mulberry silk, expect to pay a bit more, and care gently. Your silk items will serve you well for decades to come.