So you're thinking of purchasing a silk comforter, or you have already purchased one and want to know more. Welcome to "Silk Comforters 101," where you can quickly learn the most essential facts about silk comforters.
A silk comforter (also known as a silk duvet, silk quilt, or silk blanket) is a comforter that is filled with silk floss. Very often, the outer casing is also made of silk. Silk comforters originated in China, where they are considered a status symbol. Silk comforters are excellent insulators, hypoallergenic, and lightweight and soft, making them both very practical and luxurious. A quality silk comforter could keep you cozy and warm for the rest of your life.
Silk comforters have a lot to offer. Like down comforters, silk comforters are lightweight, but a silk comforter is much less bulky, typically only an inch thick or less. Because they are covered with silk, silk comforters are exceptionally soft and luxurious, with a smooth hand and supple drape. They will keep you warm all winter, and since they self-adjust to your temperature, are also comfortable for warmer weather.
A silk comforter naturally breathes, and this breathability is what makes them a great option for two sleepers who share a bed but have differing needs for warmth. They are also easily layered, one atop the other, allowing you to precisely control your comfort for the perfect night's rest. Blue Stone Home® has a great silk comforter comparison guide that gives more details about how silk comforters compare to other types of comforters. A silk comforter has a similar weight-to-warmth ratio as down, meaning a little goes a long way towards keeping you cozy.
Silk has the added advantage that it will not bunch or shift, and it will not "leak" through its protective cover, a common problem with down comforters. Silk's natural drape means you are snugly surrounded by your comforter, leaving little space for air pockets that can collect cold air. Down comforters, because of their design, have a tendency to float above you, a feeling that some people think is less cozy.
Silk is a natural fiber, created by the silkworm as it spins its cocoon. Although down is also natural, often the birds who "donate" their down are kept until their down regrows, only to be plucked again, or worse they are killed. Although silkworms are also killed, some forms of silk allow the silk moth to leave its cocoon before it gets harvested. Down has the added problem that it must be chemically cleaned and sanitized extensively before it can be used, to remove any allergens. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic, and also naturally resistant to dust mites, making it ideal for bedding and those with allergies or multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS).
A silk comforter is sometimes also called a silk duvet, because like down duvets, they are meant to be used with an easily laundered cotton cover. The cover has many advantages, both practical and decorative, over using an uncovered comforter. You can change the cover often, and avoid having to clean the inner silk duvet itself. Like down duvets, a silk duvet is best taken to a cleaner who specializes in cleaning comforters. Keep in mind that the term 'duvet' is not the cover itself, but the inner, warmth producing comforter that is inserted into the cover.
Silk comforters vary greatly in both design and quality. Most are 100% silk, which provides the luxurious properties described above. Some even use a design woven into the cover itself via a jacquard weave to make them usable without covers, while others use cotton outer shells to make them more affordable. Various types and grades of silk also help account for the variations in quality and price.