Can Hemp replace Silk in Pillowcases?

Can Hemp replace Silk in Pillowcases?

Hemp pillowcases are fast becoming the new hit in the modern day bedding market. Ethically sourced and immensely sustainable, they also boast a breathability and hygienic quality that provide a comfy and clean nights sleep.

Still, many people remain unaware of hemp bedding options, and those seeking comfier sleeps than those provided from cotton or polyester often go for silk.  Silk pillowcases have a soft and fresh touch that have made them popular over time. Products made out of this fibre can last a long time, and they are easy to maintain. 

But do the personal benefits of silk pillowcases outweigh the worldly consequences? Unfortunately, silk has one of the biggest environmental impacts when compared with other natural fibres and synthetics. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index supports this fact, and it is only natural that many producers are leaving silk products behind, even though it is still highly sought after.

Hemp bedding products, such as hemp pillowcases, are a good alternative to silk, and all other fibres for that matter, including cotton and linen. We have previously discussed the environmental impacts of cotton and how it is different from hemp. Here, we’ll present why hemp pillowcases are a natural successor to silk, and all other fibres, for clothing, sheets, and bedding. We’ll also point you to the most eco-friendly & healthy pillowcases that you can find in Australia today.

Is Silk Vegan?

Is silk vegan?

For those that want to make the ethical decision of not harming animals, looking for silk alternatives is a no-brainer. To make silk, two major components have to be cultivated and grown. First, silkworms are bred and grow to eventually create their cocoon (which is the actual silk fibre) so they can turn into moths.

If the metamorphosis completes, the cocoon will be destroyed and corroded by the moth while it tries to get out. Because of this, the cocoons are harvested before that happens and boiled in water afterward. The silk is kept intact this way, but kills the moth in the process.

The other component is silkworm sustenance. It is an unsustainable process and just as environmentally damaging as the silkworm treatment. Like any cattle, if you want to grow the animal, you have to feed it. A ton. In addition, silkworms munch on fresh mulberry leaves, which have to be cultivated at great environmental cost.

To keep the cycle of harvest going, a lot of water is used. Water to boil the cocoons and to water the mulberry leaves, which need a lot of it to survive. Considering that silkworms eat only fresh leaves, the plant must be replaced quickly. It is an energy-intense process for the people working in such places, but also because the temperature has to be carefully regulated.

While the silk fibre is biodegradable, dyeing it lowers its ability to degrade and creates the probability of polluting the local water. 

These are not fun facts to have in mind when trying to get a good night’s sleep on a soft silk pillowcase.

What is Vegan Silk? Polyester 

Polyester as an alternative to silk

There is a growing movement attempting to provide alternatives to common animal-derived products, such as vegan leathers & silks that claim to be better for the environment. 

Unfortunately, vegan silk alternatives using polyesters or viscoses not derived from natural ingredients are not what the marketing drums them up to be. In many cases, they are also bad for the environment with their use of chemicals, pesticides, and non-biodegradable plastics.

But what about recycled polyester as a vegan silk pillowcase, you may ask? 

While certainly better than non-recycled polyester, products made from this material still shed microplastics into the water system every time you wash them. These microplastics then enter oceans, fish, and people, creating illness and damaging the ecosystem. 

So unfortunately, vegan silk alternatives aren’t much better for the environment or the animals. However, a certain fabric exists that is great for both of these things, and does far less harm.

Is Silk or Hemp Better for the Environment?

What's better for the environment? Hemp or silk?

In contrast to silk and silk-like products, hemp pillowcases are completely vegan - and much more sustainable.

To make a single pillowcase,  you’d need to harvest much more silk fibre than you’d need if you created the same product with hemp. Hemp has higher yield rates, meaning you need less of it to make more. It also makes very durable and comfortable clothing and bedding.

While treating hemp is still laborious, it does not take up nearly the same amount of energy or resources that silk does. Hemp farms take up much less space than silkworm farms do and are 100% animal-friendly. This plant has so many uses that are more sustainable than its competitors that it amazes us.

It’s why we produce our sheets, pillowcases and bedding with it. That way, we can bring sustainable and eco friendly products and bedding options to the world, and hopefully start contributing to a better environment and greener future.

Health Impacts of Hemp vs Silk

The health impacts of both silk and hemp textile products are quite beneficial, even for clothing and bedding products, and the current trend is huge for silk pillowcases. However, hemp pillowcases and hemp textiles are now becoming a little more in vogue, and continue to be proven to be healthier than silk in a number of ways.

But first, let’s start with silk. The silkworm cocoons contain amino acids, namely sericin, which help fortify the skin and hair. It is extracted during the boiling process to be used in sprays and creams, some of which comes out in the silk fabric itself.

Silk is said to delay wrinkles and keep the skin and hair hydrated, so those soft silk pillowcases give you a good beauty rest. It is also hypoallergenic and resistant to humidity, and it can prevent allergic and asthma attacks.

Hemp, on the other hand, has many more benefits to our health. Research on it has increased over the past couple of decades and now we know much more than in decades prior. Sadly, this plant has suffered much demonization in the last century, but this is not the first time in history that people used it for various utilities.

From seed to leaf, the hemp plant can be used in its totality for various applications. Lots of research is being done on its use in medicine and nutrition. Hemp seeds are full of protein, good fat, fibre, minerals and even vitamins. They are said to increase brain function, fortify heart health, improve bones and joints and reduce inflammation overall. Just like many other seeds and nuts, hemp seeds are used to make plant-based milk and oils, which can be added to any diet.

Hemp stalks offer an amazing, durable and soft fibre that can be used to produce sheets and pillowcases, which could replace silk. Hemp fibre makes durable fabric due to its antimicrobial properties and it also allows the fabric to keep its shape and not get all wrinkly. By switching to hemp pillowcases, you stop having the need to iron your clothes and bedding after washing them. The sustainability of hemp fabric is quite powerful, as it is not simply just a biodegradable product, but it also lowers our energy consumption when taking care of it.

This plant has antibacterial properties, which not only are relevant when you add hemp products to your diet or medicine, but also are relevant when you wear or sleep in products made from it. Hemp fabric retains less odour and lowers the chances of getting infections and allergies.

While a smooth silk pillowcase can maintain healthy skin, a hemp pillowcase will actually help boost it while you sleep, while retaining the same hygienic properties of silk. While it is not from the same component (sericin), hemp contains antioxidants, which remain in the fabric and increase skin care. It relieves skin issues and maintains skin moisture, keeping it hydrated and promoting elasticity. 

The Benefits of Hemp Fabric

What are the benefits of hemp fabric?

Most of hemp’s benefits known to the average person are its application in medicine and nutrition. Not much is talked about when it comes to clothing or bedding. We want to change that.

Clothing and bedding made out of hemp fabric are not only eco-friendly, but they also provide health benefits to your skin.

Products made out of hemp are only just now making their way into the mainstream. Decades of demonization and ignoring of the Hemp plant has led to it having a lot of ground to make up in the textile and fabric industry.

That said, hemp’s high yield rate means it takes up much less space than other fabrics. Since current producers seek hemp for its environmental friendliness, they don’t use harmful chemicals and pesticides that are used in, for example, cotton production. Hemp doesn’t even need them, as it grows fast and strong as long as the temperature is kept optimal.

So when the stalks are turned into fabric and then clothing, those chemicals are not carried over. The products are also barely dyed, which is a process that introduces other toxic components that can interact with our skin. And if kept this way, hemp clothing and bedding can be used for compost - if for some reason you need to throw it away.

Hemp products contribute to a healthy cycle of rejuvenation. It helps us with food, medicine, clothing and even shelter. It doesn’t need to be burnt or thrown away into the garbage bin. Being biodegradable, it goes right to where it came from in the first place once you’re done with it. No current cotton or silk pillowcases or sheets can be said to do the same.

Does Hemp Make Good Bedding?

While these points are not necessarily health-related, but they will surely make you think twice when buying your next set of bedding. Nobody enjoys the deteriorating effect of mainstream textiles and fabrics such as cotton, polyester, and even silk. Hemp products erase that problem.

Hemp bedding gets softer after every wash. It’s a surprising property of this material, and you are sure to rest in sheets and pillowcases that feel fresh every time you lay down on your bed. This is because hemp is highly water absorbent, and even if you spill water on the fabric, it will dry up quickly. Just try not to spill red wine, the stain will still be hard to remove!

How to Save The World from Your Bed

Hemp is the most environmentally friendly form of bedding

Every decision has an impact, so we need to be conscious of how we make them and what products we buy. At this point, silk, cotton, synthetics, etc. are unsustainable. 

Learning how products come to be and how materials are cultivated and harvested is in everyone’s hands. Conscious decision-making also includes choosing who to buy from. Maybe a local seller will present products made by local producers, which is most likely more sustainable and eco-friendly.

Either way, utilising your purchasing power to support businesses and industries that are doing the right thing by the environment and their communities is one of the best things you can do to improve the world. 

Hemp is a Better, Eco-Friendly Choice

Research and hemp’s applications show that this plant is and will be the superior choice when compared to its old alternatives. It will stay for generations to come and it will be difficult to find another natural fibre that competes with it.

Once people see it as the miracle material it is, distributors and producers will be able to lower the costs of the whole process, including the final products, making them more accessible to all who care about the planet and its future.

The eco-friendly nature of this plant is virtually unparalleled, and its health benefits pack a punch. It is the alternative that truly keeps the sustainable cycle going. In comparison to others, it is the only one in which nothing is wasted – every part has a use! So when the stalks go for fabric production, the seeds and other parts can be used in medicine or even in the kitchen!

It is why we choose to make our bedding out of 100% hemp. We feel it is our responsibility and duty to the planet and society to make it available to everyone. While we distribute across the world, we are making sure that every bed  is comfortable and eco-friendly.

Shop our range today, and feel the luxurious and eco friendly effects of hemp bedding for yourself.


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