For our blog this week, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the material that makes the Ethical Silk Company a reality - silk. We know from previous posts that silk comes from the silkworm (or Bombyx Mori) and it has been historically a much sought after material, even becoming a currency of its own in ancient China.
1. Luxurious comfort
Silk has traditionally been valuable for a reason - it is a luxurious material that shimmers and shines. It is one of the most comfortable materials known, as its low density makes it light and serene/pleasant for those wearing the material. Hence why silk garments had been reserved for royalty and aristocracy, up until the 20th century.
2. Strength and elasticity
However, as delicate and soft the feel of silk is, its strength is impressive. It is the strongest known natural fibre, nylon being the only other material that comes close. For example, a steel filament of the same diameter as silk will break before a filament of silk! With a moderate abrasion resistance though, most silks are unsuitable for ‘high rub areas’ like carpets or regular used furniture.
Having good tensile strength, silk can withstand large amounts of pulling pressure. Additionally silk is very elastic, stretching to between 10 and 20% its length without breaking. Therefore it retains its shape well, resisting creasing and wrinkling better than other materials
3. Warm in winter - Cool in summer
Silk is also a fantastic natural insulator and absorbs moisture. As it is a protein fibre, silk is a non conductor of heat, like wool. As a result, silk garments tend to keep the wearer warm in winter, while its absorption attribute cools them during the summer months. Furthermore, because of this high absorbency rate, silk can be easily dyed in many colours.
4. Resistant to moths and dust mites
As silk fibre is primarily composed of 80% fibroin and 20% sericin, the material remains resistant to various moths and dust mites. However, the material may be attacked by certain larvae. Additionally, silk will not mildew, unless it’s under extreme dampness conditions similar to tropical dampness.
5. Easily cleaned and washed
Silk doesn’t attract dirt either, due to its incredibly smooth surface - the dirt that does sometimes gather will be easily removed with a simple wash or dry clean. Despite being recommended to dry clean silk garments, you can hand wash them in mild soap water (provided the silk has been preshrunk by the manufacturer).
This wonderful material still has to be looked after like any other, in order for it to maintain its strength and durability. Our guide to caring for your silk will take care of any issues with washing, stains and making your silk garments looking like new every time! Don’t forget you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to stay up to date with all things #EthicalSilkco.