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linens & bedding

Microfiber vs. Cotton Sheets - Which to Choose?


Black eBook reader sits on bed with grey and purple microfiber sheets

While we’re all familiar with cotton sheets and have written other articles on cotton sheets vs other types of sheets, you may not be so clear on microfiber. No doubt you've heard the term, and chances are you own microfiber products. The lint-free cloth that you receive with a pair of glasses is a great example of a common microfiber item. When choosing between cotton vs. microfiber sheets, it helps to know the pros and cons of each.

Microfiber Sheets

To understand the properties of microfiber sheets, let’s start with a basic question: what is microfiber? Without delving too deeply into boring details, the textile industry uses a unit of density called a “denier.” One denier is equal to a single strand of silk. In order for a material to be considered “microfiber,” it must be less than one denier in diameter. In other words, microfiber is finer than silk! Most microfiber is made of a polyester and nylon polymer blend, though other materials, such as wood pulp, can also be used. Regardless, the defining characteristic of microfiber is that it must have a lower density than silk.

With the above in mind, it might not surprise you to learn that microfiber sheets have a thin and luxurious feel, similar to satin or silk. However, these sheets are also very durable, thanks to the tight weave. In addition, microfiber sheets are highly breathable, with moisture-wicking properties. For this reason, microfiber is often used in athletic wear. Lastly, microfiber sheets are wrinkle resistant and easy to clean. High temperature wash or dry is fine, as microfiber doesn’t shrink. These combined properties make microfiber sheets a great choice for silky-smooth comfort and long-lasting life.

Cotton Sheets

Cotton is a time-tested material for all manner of textiles, and that includes bed sheets and linens. In contrast to microfiber, which is man made, cotton sheets are made from natural fiber. The thread count of cotton is a major factor in its quality and feel, with a higher thread count always preferred. Cotton sheets are very breathable, keeping you cool and comfortable. As a rule of thumb, quality cotton sheets cost more than a microfiber equivalent.

When it comes to cleaning, cotton sheets are mostly low maintenance, but some care must be taken to minimize shrinkage and wrinkles. While cotton may not be considered luxurious, it is famously soft. Quality cotton sheets will have a softer feel than the slippery and smooth experience of microfiber sheets.

Which Sheets are Right for You?

Now that you know a bit more about each material, finding the right one for you is a matter of preference. Microfiber sheets offer a silky-smooth feel, with very low maintenance. Cotton sheets, on the other hand, provide a traditionally soft experience, but can potentially wrinkle and shrink. Microfiber sheets wick moisture away, leaving you dry, and they’re quite breathable as well. Cotton is more absorbent than wicking, but is highly breathable. In comparison to microfiber, cotton will sleep a bit cooler, though neither will keep you hot.

It may help to take a look at some sample linens. The PureCare Microfiber Sheet Set is an excellent example of what microfiber sheets have to offer. Available in gray, ivory, or white, this sheet set promises a smooth feel to the skin. This specific set also boasts deep pockets on the fitted sheet, allowing you to sleep in comfort without worry of corners coming loose. The pocketed pillowcases also completely envelope the pillow, so your pillowcase will stay in place.

The Beautyrest 600 Thread Count Cooling Cotton Sheet Set exemplifies the appeal of cotton sheets, with added antimicrobial and antifungal treatments for cleaner sleep. The smooth, 600 thread count weave offers premium softness, while the blended polyester grants moisture-wicking properties for drier, cooler nights. This particular cotton sheet set comes in a choice of six colors: light blue, charcoal, gray, ivory, seafoam, and white.

For an example of 100% cotton sheets, our American Blossom Linens Organic Cotton Sheet Set raises the bar. Made of 100% West Texas Organic Cotton, there are no other materials blended in. Offering delicate comfort and high durability, this sheet set is made to last. A fitted sheet with deep pockets ensures a tight, enduring fit, while the flat sheets are larger in width and length than standard sheets, allowing for easy tucking and a tidy appearance. Available in natural (unbleached) or white colors, this organic cotton sheet set makes cotton luxurious.

We’re Here to Help

At City Mattress, we want you to have the best sleep you can possibly achieve. If you’re unsure about which of these linen choices are right for you, speak to one of our Sleep Experts, online or in-store. Experience the City Mattress difference today!