Mulberry Silk vs. Cotton: Which Fabric is Better?

Hi there! I’m here to help you decide whether luxurious mulberry silk or versatile cotton is the right fabric for your needs.

I’ll compare these fabrics across various factors like feel, durability, care, health benefits, environmental impact, cost, and more.

I’ll provide a balanced, side-by-side analysis of mulberry silk vs cotton so you can weigh the pros and cons.

My goal is to arm you with the knowledge to pick which natural fabric suits your lifestyle and preferences.

blue and beige mulberry silk textile

Key Differences At-a-Glance

Before we dive deeper, here is a high-level overview of how these two fabrics compare:

Mulberry SilkCotton
Feel and TextureVery soft, smooth, lightweightSoft, breathable, heavier than silk
DurabilityDelicate, prone to snags/tearsDurable, withstands frequent use
CareDry clean or hand wash onlyMachine washable
Environmental ImpactModerate, needs resources to produceHigh water usage, pesticides may be used
CostVery expensiveAffordable

All About the Feel

Soft, Smooth, and Light

  • Mulberry silk has an unbelievably soft, smooth, lightweight texture.
  • It feels gentle against sensitive skin.
  • The fibers have a natural sheen and subtle luster.
  • Highly moisture-wicking so it keeps you cool and dry.
black mulberry silk fabric roll

Soft, Breathable, and Absorbent

  • Cotton is lightweight and breathable too.
  • It has good moisture absorption to pull sweat away from your skin.
  • Not as featherlight as silk but still comfortable for clothing and bedding.
  • Has a matte appearance and can feel heavier over time.

So when it comes to comfort and feel, mulberry silk wins for its featherlight softness while cotton is better at moisture absorption.

Skin and Hair Health Benefits

Kind to Skin

  • The molecular structure of mulberry silk allows it to retain moisture and regulate skin temperature.
  • Less friction against skin compared to cotton, reducing inflammation and redness.
  • Improves many skin conditions like eczema according to research.

Impact on Hair Mixed

  • The smooth surface of mulberry silk leads to less hair breakage and fewer tangles.
  • But some protein-sensitive hair may react poorly to silk.
beige mulberry silk textile

Cotton Can Irritate Skin

  • Not as skin-friendly for sensitive skin types since cotton fibers can penetrate deeper.
  • Retains sweat and oils instead of wicking it away.
  • Can worsen acne and skin allergies.

So mulberry silk is the clear winner when it comes to skin and to some extent, hair health too. Those prone to protein overload in hair may fare better with cotton bedding instead.

Durability and Longevity

  • Mulberry silk is delicate and needs gentle care. It snags, stains, and tears easily compared to cotton.
  • With proper care, a high-quality silk item can last 10-15 years.
  • Cotton is stronger and withstands frequent washing and daily wear-and-tear better.
  • A cotton t-shirt can last 2+ years with regular use. With care, cotton bedding and clothing can serve you well for 5-7 years.

So cotton takes the durability crown while silk wins for potential longevity. But silk items require far more meticulous care to stand the test of time.

beige mulberry silk weave

Care and Laundering

To retain their look, feel and longevity, both fabrics need specialized cleaning methods:

Mulberry Silk Care

  • Always dry clean silk clothing and bedding. Machine washing risks shrinking or water staining.
  • Handwash delicate silk lingerie and accessories in cold water with a mild detergent.
  • Hang items to air dry to prevent potential damage from dryer heat.
  • Steam press on low instead of ironing.

Cotton Care

  • Most cotton clothing and sheets can be machine washed warm and tumble dried.
  • Go for a gentle detergent and skip the fabric softener that can affect breathability.
  • Avoid high heat drying to prevent shrinking.
  • Iron cotton fabrics inside-out while slightly damp.

So cotton bedding and clothes are far easier to clean and care for long-term. Delicate silk items require dry cleaning or handwashing.

blue and white mulberry silk fabric piece

Health and Allergies

Hypoallergenic Silk

  • The smooth fibers of mulberry silk don’t irritate skin or aggravate allergies.
  • A good choice for those with dust mite allergies or sensitive skin conditions.

Potential Allergen: Cotton

  • Cotton fibers can cling to pollen, pet dander and dust mites.
  • May worsen reactions for those with allergies or asthma.
  • Go for long-staple cotton with a tighter weave as a hypoallergenic option.

Clearly, mulberry silk is the hypoallergenic winner here, making it more suitable for those with allergies or skin sensitivities.

blue mulberry silk fabric

Environmental Pros and Cons

Silk Production’s Impact

  • Sericulture or commercial silk production can use a fair bit of resources like land, water and fossil fuels.
  • Manufacturing processes often use harsh bleaches and dyes too.
  • But techniques are improving, and sustainably-sourced silk is on the rise.

Cotton and Pesticides

  • Cotton is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops globally.
  • These harmful chemicals contaminate groundwater and soil.
  • Organic cotton uses no fertilizers or pesticides but accounts for just 1% of production.

So both fabrics come with environmental issues. But cotton farming remains pesticide-reliant on a large scale despite sustainability efforts.

black mulberry silk textile roll

Cost Comparison

  • An 100% mulberry silk bedsheet set from a premium brand costs $400-600.
  • A high-quality long-staple cotton sheet set starts from $200.
  • Mulberry silk clothing like a blouse or dress can cost $80-150 white cotton pieces are priced $20-60.

So cotton is far more budget-friendly, giving you great quality for lower prices. But devoted silk fans don’t mind splurging for the ultimate luxury experience.

Recommendations for Different Needs


  • Choose mulberry silk sheets if you have allergies and want ultra-soft bedding.
  • Opt for long-staple cotton if you need crisp, breathable and easy-care bedding on a budget.


  • Mulberry silk clothing makes sense for fancy events or photographs. Too delicate for daily wear for most.
  • Cotton clothing offers breathability and easy care at affordable prices for daily use.
green and beige mulberry silk textile

The Pros and Cons Summarized

Where Mulberry Silk Falls Short

  • Very expensive, budget-breaking.
  • High-maintenance, dry clean only.
  • Delicate and prone to snags, tears or stains.

What’s Not Ideal About Cotton

  • Shrinks easily, fading over time.
  • Wrinkles more than silk.
  • Can exacerbate allergies or skin irritation.
  • Needs pesticides for large-scale production.

Does mulberry silk or cotton insulate better against weather?

Mulberry silk provides warmth during colder months while still feeling quite breathable – the smooth fibers don’t absorb moisture well.

Cotton on the other hand, is more breathable, and air permeates well through the fabric. So cotton bedding or clothing can feel cooler against summer heat and humidity.

I’d pick lightweight mulberry silk for insulation in winter and crisp cotton to stay cooler in summer months. Choosing the right fiber suits the climate you live in.

Many people ask, what are the differences between mulberry silk and satin? and here’s what I discovered.

blue mulberry silk piece

Which fabric pills faster with wear and tear – mulberry silk or cotton?

Cotton towels and bed sheets often pill – this means small fiber balls appear on the surface after friction and spin cycles.

Silk is less prone to pilling because of its smooth surface and tightly woven structure. 

However, cotton pills can be easily removed with a fabric shaver. Silk snags need more careful visible mending instead.

Does mulberry silk or cotton work better for curly and frizzy hair?

Mulberry silk pillowcases can greatly reduce frizz and friction that frays curls at night when sleeping.

Cotton on the other hand soaks up hair oils and can roughen up the cuticle over time.

So if you have curly or frizzy hair, mulberry silk protects curls way more than cotton during sleep. Worth the splurge in my opinion for curly hair!

black mulberry silk weave

Which fabric is better at neutralizing odors – mulberry silk or cotton?

Mulberry silk has natural odor neutralizing properties not found in cotton. The protein fibers in silk don’t hold on to smells even after wear and perspiration.

Cotton tends to absorb and trap odors over time, requiring more aggressive laundering or even soaking in vinegar to fully eliminate smells.

So mulberry silk is the clear odor fighting winner.

What kind of fabric causes less rubbing and irritation for sensitive skin – mulberry silk or cotton?

Mulberry silk causes less rubbing and irritation for those with sensitive skin types.

The incredibly smooth surface doesn’t chafe like cotton’s rougher fibers that can penetrate deeper.

In fact, research shows mulberry silk improves inflammatory skin conditions, while cotton retains sweat and oils, potentially worsening reactions.

So those with easily irritated skin are better off with mulberry silk over cotton.

If you’re curious about how mulberry silk compares to charmeuse silk, this guide will help.

beige mulberry silk fabric yardage

The Takeaway

I hope this thorough comparison of mulberry silk and cotton fabric gives you clarity on which option makes sense for your needs and budget!

  • Mulberry silk offers an unbeatable luxurious feel and skin benefits. But it requires delicate care and is very expensive.
  • Cotton has versatile everyday performance with breathability and easy care. But it falls short for those with allergies or sensitivities.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to help you decide whether to splurge on silk or pick practical cotton instead.

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