Fake silk fabric is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish, even the most experienced experts can’t tell the difference by simply observing or feeling.
How do we tell if my silk is genuine or artificial (polyester, for example) ?
There are many methods to identify real silk, but only two are accurate and easy to perform.
1. Burn Test
It is a definitive test. Wipe away your doubts, once for all.
Take a few threads of the fabric and burn them.
Protein (Silk/Wool, Cashmere, Alpaca etc):
- Burns slowly and shrinks or curls away from the flame. Will not stay lit after flame is removed. Very little smoke is produced but it smells like burnt hair (wool) or feathers (silk). Ash is a gritty powder or a dark brittle, easily crushable bead.
- Ignites and burns quickly, may flare, leaves a glowing ember after flame is extinguished. Smoke is white or light colored and smells like burnt paper or leaves. Ash is light gray or white and very soft.
- Ignites and burns quickly and can continue to burn after a flame is removed—exercise caution. Fiber may shrink from the flame, melt, and can drip (DANGER) leaving a hard plastic-like bead. Burning these fabrics will produce black smoke and hazardous fumes. Nylon smells like plastic when burnt but can also can produce a celery-like smell; Acrylics burn with a strong, acrid, chemical smell. Polyester smells slightly sweet, also with a chemical odor.
2. Consider the Price.
Silk sheets or clothes are at least 5 times more expensive than cotton and 10 times more expensive than polyester fabric ones.
- If you see a silk flat sheet at 20 USD, it’s not real silk;
- If you see a silk nightgown at 30 USD, not genuine silk fabric too.
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to manufacture silk fabric products with similar cost of cotton or polyester.