Silk bedding is luxurious and comes with a price tag to match. Is a silk duvet really worth the cost, though, to your pocketbook or silkworms? Here are the pros and cons of silk duvets.
- Lightweight but warm
- Hard to find
- Harder to clean and dry
- Fraught with ethical concerns
- Too much washing can damage the silk
- Most often harvested and processed using toxic chemicals
Silk duvet – Benefits
Silk duvets are also hard to track down but are lightweight, warm, durable, and biodegradable. They can also be hypoallergenic, depending on how they’re made. Silk can help you regulate your body temperature and is moisture-wicking, making a silk duvet a great choice all year round.
With proper care, silk can be very durable, lasting some 15-20 years.
The downsides of silk duvets
Silk is a little tricky to care for. Some types of silk are machine washable on a delicate cycle, while others need to be dry cleaned (which normally involves toxic chemicals). If washed, silk should be dried by ironing while damp as it tends to wrinkle and stiffen if line dried.
While you can wash most silk duvets, too much washing and drying can reduce the fiber’s natural properties and shorten the lifespan of your duvet.
Despite looking for many years, I’m yet to find a silk duvet made with so-called ahimsa or peace silk (also known as Tussah silk). This more ethical silk comes from cocoons after the silkworms emerge, in contrast to mulberry silk which involves boiling silkworms alive in their cocoons.
One of the downsides of ahimsa silk is shorter fibers that some designers dislike for weaving clothes. In duvets, shorter fibers don’t matter much, so this would be a perfect use of ahimsa silk. However, the yield from ‘hatched’ cocoons is also lower, meaning a silk ahimsa duvet would be very expensive indeed.
Even if you do find a silk duvet, check that the silk hasn’t undergone treatment with toxic dyes or bleaches. If a company can demonstrate its commitment to harvesting wild silk and avoiding the use of toxic chemicals during processing, silk can be a good choice for a comforter or duvet.
A down duvet typically weighs a third of the weight of a silk duvet (or half the weight of a wool duvet). This assumes the duvets are the same size and have similar warmth levels.