- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Disorders
- Sleep Resources
- Sleep Health
- Sleep Medicine
Silk sheets have always been a luxurious choice for bedding, but in recent years their popularity has skyrocketed. More people are falling in love with silk’s hypoallergenic properties, ability to prevent bedhead, and kindness to their skin, along with its beauty and comfort.
Silk has been produced by silkworms domesticated in China since before recorded history. It is stronger and softer than cotton, as well as being surprisingly easy to care for. If you’ve only experienced synthetic silks or sateen cotton weaves, a silk sheet set will dispel myths such as silk snagging easily, shrinking, or being too cold.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite silk sheet sets, as well as a buyer’s guide to help you choose and care for your new bedding. By the end, you should know if silk sheets are for you, how to find the best-quality choices, and how to ensure your sheets last for years.
We’ve chosen the LilySilk Silk Sheet Set as our Editor’s Pick for its high-quality affordability, wide range of colors and sizes, and extraordinarily soft touch. Mulberry silk is the highest quality of silk on the market, and the Bombyx Mori silkworm is considered the best source. While mulberry silk sheets can overwhelm even large budgets, this three-piece set is an affordable option which offers many years of comfort.
One feature of this set is that it does not include a flat or top sheet. In addition to lowering the price, this allows buyers the option of either buying a silk sheet, using an already-owned sheet, or buying a different type of sheet to mix-and-match fabrics to their comfort. If you fall in love with your LilySilk set, the brand also offers a matching top sheet in the same range of colors to complete your collection.
All silk sheets are luxurious, but there will always be one which is more lavish than the others. The Orose Silk Sheet Set easily won out for our Best Luxury pick, entrancing us with its almost-liquid softness and weight, which makes for a truly decadent night’s sleep. Buyers interested in silk’s ability to calm hair, protect curls, and pamper skin will fall in love with this set, as the beautifully thick weave slides against the body like a dream.
Despite being so smooth and decadent, silk is incredibly durable. The silk fibers used and the way a sheet is manufactured will always play a significant role in your sheet set’s longevity. Orose uses only the highest grade (6a) of long-strand silk to make these seamless, well-sewn sheets, so you can sleep peacefully knowing you’ve made an investment that will last for years to come.
Silk sheets lend themselves beautifully to color, particularly rich, jewel-like tones. If you want to take advantage of silk’s ability to hold lustrous color, consider the THXSILK Silk Sheet Set, our pick for Best Color Selection. With an astonishing seventeen shades to choose from, you’re sure to find one that will suit your bedroom and transform your space. Many of these vivid colors are unavailable from other brands, making THXSILK a one-stop shop for color aficionados.
Of course, nobody buys silk sheets for color alone. A well-known Chinese silk brand who have recently begun selling to the Western market, THXSILK crafts all of their sheet sets using only high-quality long-strand Mulberry silk. With its dreamy weight and careful construction, this set will please any silk sheet lover. Better yet, it is the only silk option on this list with an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification for material safety.
While silk is a wonderful fabric, it isn’t right for everyone. Whether you’re interested in a vegan option, co-sleep with a child who doesn’t yet stay dry, or don’t have the budget for real silk, the Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set — our choice for Best Silk Alternative — might be just what you’re looking for. The sets start at an affordable $129, while still offering a rich, luxurious feel.
Sateen-woven cotton is one of the best ways of mimicking silk’s beauty and comfort. Though not liquid or buttery like real silk (sateen has the crisp feel of good cotton), it is silky to the touch and kind to both skin and hair. Patterns are easier to produce with cotton than silk, and Brooklinen has taken full advantage of this opportunity with five trendy patterns. Finally, the company backs up their products with an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification as well as a lifetime warranty.
Despite silk’s long history, it is still an unfamiliar fabric to most people. This is particularly true of silk sheets, which have different qualities than silk clothing and are far heavier and more durable. We’ve created this buyer’s guide to acquaint you with this wonderful fabric, dispel silk myths, and help you choose the right silk sheets for your lifestyle.
By the end, you should understand the basics of silk sheets, know the pros and cons associated with them, and feel confident buying and caring for a set of your own.
With its liquid appearance and smooth feel, it’s easy to understand why silk is thought of as delicate. However, silk is the strongest natural fiber used for bedding, making it more durable than both cotton and linen. It’s so strong that it was the material of choice for parachutes up until World War II.
Long-strand silk is even more long-lasting: by carefully unraveling the silkworm cocoons so as not to break the individual strands, manufacturers can offer a premium fabric with fewer tear points. Synthetic fibers are slightly stronger than silk, but they will never be able to match silk’s other extraordinary qualities.
Despite its durability, silk can feel almost insubstantial and glides effortlessly on the skin. (Unlike sateen weaves and synthetic silks, real silk does not catch on feet, hands, or dry patches.) This quality makes silk part of many people’s beauty routine — its unique softness, and potentially the amino acids it contains, are kind to both hair and skin. Flyaways and frizziness are reduced and curls are protected overnight when you use a silk pillowcase, and your skin will thank you for silk’s moisture-protecting and irritation-reducing qualities.
One reason why silk is a good choice for sensitive skin is because it is naturally hypoallergenic. In fact, silk has been used for centuries in medicine as thread to suture wounds because so few people react negatively to it.
Finally, silk is a natural temperature regulator. Just as the silkworm’s dislike of mold benefits us, so too does its need for a cocoon which remains at a stable temperature. As a bedding, silk is the best option for all seasons: cooling during the summer, and insulating during the winter.
Though it doesn’t have the “cozy” roughness of flannel, silk wicks away moisture and breathes easily while remaining a perfect temperature against the skin. In cold weather, simply swap your summer duvet out for a warmer option.
Unlike other natural fibers, which are usually rated by thread count, silk uses what is known as the momme weight rating. A momme is the weight in pounds of a length of silk 100 yards long and 45 inches wide. This weight corresponds to the momme (mm), so that a 14 pound length of silk would be rated as 14mm.
While lighter momme weights are fine for clothing, bedding usually requires a higher rating. 19mm is considered the best weight for affordability, feel, and durability, and all of our choices for silk sheet sets are 19mm.
As the momme rating increases silk becomes more opaque, but silk sheets — particularly undyed ones — will always be slightly sheer. This is a feature of the fabric and does not affect its durability.
Just as with cotton and linen, there are different types and grades of silk used for bedding. Silk alternatives, like sateen weave cotton and synthetic silks, are a different but affordable option.
|Mulberry||The highest quality of silk, produced by the Bombyx mori silkworm on a diet of mulberry leaves. All of our silk sheet set choices are made with 100% mulberry silk.|
|Charmeuse||The most popular form of silk overall, with one satin side and one duller side. Has some natural elasticity.|
|Habotai||Often sand-washed for softness, this all-around silk is similar to charmeuse but is less durable.|
|Tussah||Gathered from wild silkworms, tussah is often coarser than other varieties due to the varied diet of the silkworms.|
|Duppoini||Made from cocoons which are not appropriate for other varieties, duppoini is strong but can be rough and stiff. Often used for duvet covers or decorative pillow shams.|
|Sateen weave||A type of weave which mimics silk and provides an extremely soft touch. Sateen sheets can be made with many types of fabric, but cotton is the most popular.|
|Synthetic silk||Often called satin (which is in fact a type of weave used for many fibers, including silk), artificial silk, or art silk, this group of products includes rayon and nylon. While many are very comfortable, they do not have the same qualities as real silk.|
Silk sheets do not shrink easily when taken care of properly. Silk sheet maintenance is covered in more detail below, but it’s important to know the three things to avoid in order for your silk sheets to stay the right size:
Most sheet sets come in a range of standard sizes, so fit yours to your bed size. The main concern when choosing a fitted sheet is the depth of the “pocket”, which affects the mattress height it will fit. All of our choices above have extra-deep pockets, but before you make your purchase it’s worth measuring your mattress to be sure.
Silk comes in a wide range of colors, as it takes dye well and complements it with a beautiful luster. Some people prefer dark colors (which are more opaque and not prone to yellowing), while others like the cool sophistication of a classic white or other pale shades. Lighter colors are also less likely to fade from sunlight, so choose whatever fits your room and your aesthetic.
Patterns are uncommon in silk sheets, though some options are available. It’s more common to find sheets with embroidery on the edges, or on the pillowcases only, though these tend to be more expensive than plain options.
Unlike sheets made from sources like cotton, silk sheets do not come in a wide variety of weaves. Instead, most silk sheets have a similar texture and similar qualities, with the differences primarily in silk type/quality and momme weight. Along with these, here are some further considerations in choosing the right silk sheets for you.
All silk sheets are temperature-regulating and tend to be comfortable for cold or hot sleepers. However, some people do find that silk can be unpleasantly cool when first climbing into bed. If this is the case for you, consider also purchasing a heated mattress pad to use with your set.
While pure silk sheets are more common, blended fabrics are also available. Usually primarily cotton with 25-30% silk, these sheets are usually less expensive and are closer to cotton sheets than silk. However, they are softer and tend to have a more flowing, less crisp texture.
Previously extremely pricey and difficult to find, organic silk is becoming accessible and more affordable as consumers begin demanding more environmentally-friendly bedding. You can still expect to pay a premium for high-quality organic silk, but by shopping around and waiting for sales it’s possible to find a set to fit your budget.
This global system offers to certification for products which undergo testing and are shown to be free of harmful chemicals. The absence of this certification does not mean your sheets are contaminated, only that their manufacturer did not pay for the certification process. Furthermore, silk is not prone to contamination in the same way as grown fibers like cotton, or processed fabrics like rayon. However, the OEKO-TEX Standard offers peace of mind and qualifying sheets do not necessarily cost more.
You can also prolong your sheet set’s life by avoiding jagged toe and fingernails, not eating in bed, and keeping to a regular washing schedule.
Silk sheets are often quite similar, differing mostly in color, weight, and silk type. So long as you choose a durable, high-quality sheet set, you can choose whichever sheets look and feel best to you. However, there are a few other concerns to keep in mind when shopping:
Most silk sheets come as a set rather than individual pieces, and all of our choices include at least a fitted sheet and pillowcases. However, some sets do not include a flat sheet, and it’s important to double-check that you’re purchasing all the pieces you need.
Although shipping is usually less for silk sheets than bulky items like a duvet, the additional cost can still come as a surprise. Check the shipping price before making a decision, and consider buying a set with free shipping if you’re close to the top of your budget. Return policies are also worth considering, particularly if you’re unsure whether silk sheets are right for you.
Some manufacturers and stores offer warranties on their silk bedding. Though most are limited, they still offer some peace of mind given the cost of investing in silk. If you can’t find whether your choice of sheets comes with a warranty, look for the company’s help number or email to learn more.