Bamboo vs Cotton Sheets: Pros, Cons + Definition
Sheets made of bamboo? It might seem like fiction, but it’s true – bamboo sheets are some of the softest, most comfortable, and most durable sheets you’ll ever sleep on. In recent years, bamboo bed sheets have become a popular, eco-friendly alternative to some of the highest-quality cotton choices and other luxury fabrics for duvet covers, pillowcases, and bed sheets.
What Are Bamboo Sheets?
Bamboo sheets are sheets woven with thread from bamboo fiber. They’re generally softer and more durable than other types of sheets like cotton.
Bamboo sheets come in five different types: viscose rayon, modal, lyocell, bamboo linen, and bamboo blend. They also come in a wide range of colors and for all mattress sizes, from standard sizes to king sizes.
What Are Bamboo Sheets Made Of?
Bamboo bed sheets are made of natural fiber from a specific species of bamboo. Most bamboo sheets are made with viscose from bamboo, which is a versatile, regenerated cellulose fiber.
Let’s look at the different types of bamboo sheets and what they’re made of:
- Viscose rayon: Bamboo viscose sheets are made from viscose from bamboo and are the most common type of bamboo sheets. The viscose process uses chemicals to create a pulp which is then made into thread.
- Modal: Bamboo modal sheets are also made from bamboo viscose. These sheets go through the same process as viscose rayon sheets but with an added step that stretches the fabric.
- Lyocell: Bamboo lyocell fabric is made from bamboo pulp. It’s considered the most eco-friendly type of bamboo sheet because its manufacturing process usually doesn’t involve chemicals.
- Bamboo linen: Bamboo linen sheets (a.k.a. bast bamboo fiber) are also made from bamboo fibers and typically don’t involve a chemical process. Much like cotton linen, bamboo linen is known for wrinkling easily and isn’t as soft and silky. However, it’s still good for staying cool and comfortable all night in hot environments.
- Bamboo blend: Sheets made with a bamboo blend are usually made with bamboo fiber and a cheaper fabric, like polyester or cotton. They’re not as soft, but they’re often more affordable and durable.
The Pros And Cons Of Bamboo Bed Sheets
Considering buying bamboo sheets? With the wide range of benefits, it seems like an easy choice. But are there any downsides?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of bamboo sheets.
Breathable and ideal for warmer climates
Some sheet weaves are prone to wrinkling
Tend to be more durable than other types of sheets
Cleaning bamboo sheets requires more effort
Softness is comparable to expensive cotton sheets
Bamboo sheets can be more expensive
Hypoallergenic and antibacterial
Sustainable and eco-friendly
Bamboo Sheets vs Cotton Sheets
While cotton has long been the go-to for many people when it comes to bed sheets, bamboo sheets have become extremely popular in recent years. Which fabric is better? Let’s discuss bamboo vs. cotton and take a look at which one gives you the best night’s sleep.
- Bamboo: A set of bamboo sheets can last for at least 5 years, usually more. The stretching qualities and strength of bamboo fibers means that they don’t tear or fall apart easily.
- Cotton: It’s recommended that you change out your cotton sheets every two years. Cotton sheets are made with short fibers woven together, so it tears and pills easily. For more expensive cotton sheets, they can last for up to 5 years with proper care.
- Bamboo: Most bamboo sheets use a sateen, percale, or twill weave. They also come in five different types: viscose rayon, modal, lyocell, bamboo linen, and bamboo blend.
- Cotton: Cotton sheets use a sateen, percale, twill, or knit jersey weave. The most common types of cotton used in sheets are standard cotton, Pima cotton, and Egyptian cotton.
- Bamboo: The fibers in bamboo materials are typically considered softer to the touch than those in cotton. The majority of bamboo bed sheets will be far softer than regular cotton sheets.
- Cotton: Cotton sheets are usually rougher when you first buy them, but they get softer with use. However, if you want softness comparable to bamboo sheets, you will have to splurge on the more expensive cotton sheets.
- Bamboo: Bamboo sheets are naturally breathable, allowing your body to regulate temperature while feeling gloriously soft.
- Cotton: Cotton sheets will retain more heat than bamboo fabric since it’s not as breathable and the weave is stiffer.
Care And Cleaning
- Bamboo: Sheets made from bamboo are sensitive to chemicals and heat. Caring for them requires washing them separately and only using very mild cleaning products, and air-drying them is recommended. Bamboo linen is prone to wrinkling so more care is required.
- Cotton: Standard cotton sheets can be washed normally along with the rest of your laundry, and aren’t sensitive to heat or detergents. However, if you’re using expensive cotton sheets, like Egyptian cotton, they require similar care to bamboo sheets.
- Bamboo: Bamboo sheet prices range from about $50 to around $200. They tend to cost more than cotton sheets.
- Cotton: Standard cotton sheet prices start at under $50. But, for high-end, luxury sheets like Egyptian cotton, you could be looking at a price tag of over $500.
What Makes Bamboo An Eco-Friendly Fabric?
Bamboo fabric is considered an eco-friendly material for a few different reasons. Let’s take a look at some of those reasons:
- Manufacturing bamboo fabric, overall, shows a smaller environmental impact and produces a far lower carbon footprint (i.e., releases less carbon dioxide) than their cotton counterparts.
- Bamboo is naturally pesticide-resistant, so no chemical pesticides are needed to grow it.
- Natural bamboo is one of the fastest-growing resources on the planet. Harvesting it for sheets presents no measurable environmental threat. Even when harvested, bamboo doesn’t have to be replanted because its wide root network continuously sprouts new stems.
- Bamboo plants typically use about 12 gallons of water to make one pound of fabric while cotton plants can require up to 200 times more water.
Who Should Use Bamboo Sheets?
You should consider using bamboo sheets if you are prone to allergies or have sensitive skin. The regenerated bamboo fiber has been found to have an inhibitory effect on bacterial growth.
You could also benefit from using bamboo sheets if you live in a humid or hot environment. Bamboo fabric has cooling properties that regulate your body temperature while you sleep. It also wicks moisture away from your body, reducing night sweats.
Also, if you’re a light sleeper or have trouble falling into a deep sleep, bamboo sheets could help. Their softness and breathability will help you relax while going to sleep.
When it comes to your own comfort, only you can be the judge of what feels better, bamboo or cotton. Most sleepers prefer bamboo for overall softness, comfort, and uninterrupted sleep.
Bamboo Sheet Weave And Thread Count
There are a few different types of weaves used in bamboo sheets. Also, the thread count is much lower than you would expect for these luxuriously soft bed sheets.
Let’s take a look at the different types of weaves and what thread count you should look out for.
There are three common types of weaves used in bamboo sheets. Those weaves are:
- Sateen weave: The most common type of weave used in bamboo sheets, the sateen weave consists of one thread under and three or four threads over. It has a soft, silky feel and is wrinkle-resistant. However, it is more prone to pilling and retaining heat.
- Twill weave: The twill weave has a diagonal parallel rib pattern – the same one used in denim. The ribbing increases durability, so bamboo sheets using a twill weave are typically the strongest and wrinkle the least. However, they are not as soft because the twill weave has more texture.
- Percale weave: The percale weave comprises one thread over, one thread under. This type of weave produces a lightweight, matte fabric. Bamboo sheets with the percale weave have the best breathability, making them perfect for hot climates. That said, bamboo sheets made with a percale weave are prone to wrinkling.
It’s generally believed that sheets with the highest thread counts are the best quality, but this is simply not true. Thread count doesn’t even apply to rayon from bamboo sheets – the sheets are woven from long, continuous bamboo fibers, rather than weaving together the short fibers of traditional cotton sheets.
Thread counts for bamboo sheets usually hover around 250-350. If that sounds low, just keep in mind that 100% bamboo sheets with a 250-thread count feel softer than cotton sheets with a high thread count. Furthermore, many brands get a bit “creative” when measuring thread count, so don’t let that be your main criterion when choosing the best sheets. Overall softness, stretch, and breathability are the most important factors.
When shopping for bed sheets, choosing bamboo is an excellent choice. Bamboo sheets feel great on sensitive skin, are lightweight, eco-friendly, durable, hypoallergenic, and extremely breathable. If you want the most comfortable night’s sleep possible, switching to bamboo sheets seems like a no-brainer.
With the feel of silk and the price tag of cotton, bamboo sheets are versatile and long-lasting. Check any bamboo sheets review – many people who switch say they have trouble sleeping under any other type of sheet. An investment in bamboo bed sheets is an investment in restorative sleep, sweet dreams, and bright days ahead.
Bamboo Sheets FAQs
How Is Bamboo Turned Into Fabric?
To turn bamboo into luxurious sheets, the bamboo trunks must first be steamed and mechanically crushed. After this process, the bamboo undergoes another process called “retting” to separate the long rayon fibers. Then, the fibers are spun into yarn and used to create threads. Finally, the threads are woven into sheets.
Most bamboo sheets on the market today are made in China and far East Asia, where the bamboo plant is abundant.
Are bamboo sheets hypoallergenic?
Yes, bamboo sheets are hypoallergenic for a few reasons:
- Natural bamboo is resistant to fungi and pests so it can be grown without pesticides or fertilizers.
- Regenerated bamboo fabric is antibacterial because it inhibits the growth of bacteria.
- Bamboo reduces moisture build-up. Dust mites – one cause of allergies – love moist environments. Reducing moisture in your bed makes it hard for dust mites to collect.
Are bamboo sheets warm in winter?
Yes, bamboo sheets can help you stay warm during cold winter nights. Bamboo fabric’s thermoregulating properties keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot.
Is bamboo better than cotton?
Bamboo is better than cotton in many ways. Bamboo sheets are great for sensitive skin because they reduce moisture and allergens. They’re also perfect for hot climates because they regulate your body temperature. Additionally, bamboo sheets are very soft – more so than standard cotton sheets.
On the other hand, cotton sheets are more affordable than bamboo sheets, unless you’re going for more expensive linen or Egyptian cotton sheets. If you don’t mind replacing your sheets more often and don’t have sensitive skin or allergies, cotton sheets will do the job just fine.