How to distinguish natural silk from synthetic silk: simple and practical methods

How to distinguish natural silk from synthetic silk: simple and practical methods

The difference between natural and artificial silk is immense in terms of durability, the benefits of use, and even aesthetics. However, it's not always easy to distinguish natural fabric from artificial.

We've compiled the main reasons why it's worth investing in natural fabrics and provide tips and life hacks on how to distinguish natural silk from synthetic silk.

What’s the difference between natural and synthetic silk

Real silk lasts longer

Silk is an extremely delicate and soft fabric. Despite this, its strength can be compared to steel wire. Silk products are practically impossible to tear with careless handling, as often happens with other delicate fabrics. Additionally, natural silk is elastic and can adapt to the body's shape. If you take proper care of your silk products, they will last for years and look like new after each wash.

When it comes to silk products, it's better to pay a higher price and enjoy clothing, hair accessories, or bedding for years than to save money ten times over.


Natural silk is more practical to wear

Due to its natural origin, silk fabric has many advantages in use. The most important thing is that silk is a natural thermoregulator, making it ideal for keeping cool in the summer and comfortable in the winter. Since silk is made of thin, lightweight natural fibers, it provides good air circulation and is ideal for cooling the body in hot weather. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, create a greenhouse effect and promote sweating. In winter, on the contrary, they have a cooling effect and cause discomfort.

Silk pillowcases and nightdresses are the most comfortable things to wear to sleep in, while silk dresses are great for making you feel more confident in any situation.

Natural silk is hypoallergenic

Did you know that most artificial silk is made from polyester, or at least contains polyester? This fabric is mainly made from petroleum products. So it's no wonder that artificial silk can cause irritation.

Silk fiber is obtained from silkworm cocoons. This is a 100% natural and environmentally friendly material. Furthermore, natural silk has a substantially higher barrier to the growth of dangerous microbes. Dust mites and numerous other allergens simply do not linger on silk products. 

This makes silk hypoallergenic and safe for owners of sensitive, allergy-prone skin. It’s especially important when we talk about pillowcases or silk towels

Silk anti-aging accessories by MOLODO

How to distinguish artificial silk from natural silk: complete guide

The most common advice for determining natural silk from synthetic is to burn it. However, it’s not always possible. So, we'll share more practical tips.

How to distinguish artificial silk from natural silk offline

By touch

The simplest method to check if silk is natural is to rub it between your hands. Genuine silk feels soft and glides easily between your fingers, without catching on fibers, as is often the case with synthetics.

One more thing about silk is that it has a pleasant, warm sensation when touched, just like touching a human body. This is all thanks to the thermoregulatory properties of this fabric. Artificial silk typically feels cooler to the touch.

If you are trying to tell the difference between real and synthetic silk while looking at two different items, crumpling up a small piece of each could help. Genuine silk will develop wrinkles within a few seconds. Synthetic fabric, due to the addition of elastic fibers, will remain smoother.

MOLODO organic silk

By smell

Another piece of advice from experts when shopping for silk is to smell it—yes, really:) Since silk moths, from which the fabric is made, feed on leaves, silk always has a natural, slightly herbal scent. Additionally, natural silk has a very low absorption of odors. Thus, upon contact, you should detect a scent of freshness.

Polyester, for comparison, typically has a slightly plastic scent. Other types of artificial silk easily absorb foreign scents, so they usually carry the scent of perfumes to those who have touched them or to the environment in which they have been for a long time.

By sight

The fabric is most certainly not real silk if it has a silvery sheen to it. Special fibers are added to artificial silk to give it a sheen, but they have an unnatural appearance.

Natural silk shimmers playfully with different shades when in motion. On the creases, this fabric always has a slightly lighter shade, creating the effect of natural soft sheen.

Examine the structure of the fabric thoroughly. Natural silk usually has differences in texture due to its natural origin and manufacturing process. But this adds uniqueness to silk products and natural shimmer. Machine-woven synthetic fabrics are always perfectly uniform, without any differences in various parts.

How to distinguish natural silk from synthetic silk: simple and practical methods

Ring test for determining natural silk

Silk fabric is naturally very smooth, weightless and glides easily. Then you can try to fit small things like pillowcases, towels, or tops through any small ring, whether it is a key ring or a ring. It will not be hard to pull off this trick with natural silk; it will just slip through the hole. Synthetic fabrics or naturals with admixtures of synthetics will twist and get stuck in the ring. All because artificial materials have thicker and stiffer fibers.


How to distinguish natural silk from artificial silk online

By price

Natural silk products cost several times more than similar artificial ones. Don't believe the stores that try to sell you "genuine" silk for much cheaper than its usual price. The production of silk fabric is a long and costly process. Silkworms are cultivated, their cocoons harvested, and then unwound to obtain the raw material. After that, the silk threads are cleaned, washed, dyed, and then sent to the weaving loom to produce the fabric.

Considering such an intricate silk production process, silk items simply cannot be very affordable in price.

The best way to tell if silk fabric is natural 

In cases where you need to check fabric, a very simple method works: burn a piece of silk. First, look closely at how the fabric burns. Like other natural fabrics, real silk burns slowly and almost smokelessly. Burnt cloth smells like burnt feathers or hair, and leaves a dark, brittle ash. Fabrics with admixtures of cotton or viscose ignite quickly, smell like paper or leaves and leave a light and very soft ash. Fully synthetic fabrics are even easier to identify - their fibers begin to melt and emit a pungent chemical smell. The edge of the burned fabric looks like melted plastic.


Checklist for choosing silk goods online or offline

Save this checklist and use it when you decide to buy bedding, accessories, or clothing made of natural silk:

  • Pay attention to the price. Prices for goods made of natural silk are several times higher than the cost of cotton ones.
  • Look at the fabric's sheen. Natural silk always shimmers in different shades, lighter than its color.
  • Pay attention to the texture. Natural silk usually has an uneven structure.
naturav silk vs artificial silk

It's important to note that all hair accessories from MOLODO are made from organic Mulberry silk, which holds Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Oeko Tex 100 certifications. All accessories, including silk hair turbans and pillowcases, are handmade in their zero-waste workshop in Lviv. A lavender sachet, used for aromatherapy, is included with every purchase to ensure that using silk accessories is both practical and pleasant.

By choosing silk hair ties, you're making a contribution to your health, beauty, and the well-being of our planet.

Visit the MOLODO store and choose the best silk goods for yourself or order a gift certificate for your loved one to treat themselves to a beneficial accessory!

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What makes MOLODO silk so special:

✓ Organic 100% Mulberry silk
✓ Only natural dyes
✓ Hypoallergenic
✓ Antibacterial
✓ Serves you for years and does not harm our Planet

100% of MOLODO silk products are made in Ukraine with love.

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