What do you see in your mind when we say the word “bamboo?” If you’re like a lot of people, you picture a giant panda snacking on stalks of bamboo. What if we told you that a more accurate representation would be to think about bed sheets? It is true! In fact, bamboo fiber sheets are some of the fastest growing products in the bedding industry. Bamboo sheets are extremely soft, hypoallergenic, and naturally wick away moisture to help you sleep more comfortably through the night. It’s no wonder they are so popular! However, does that make them the best option? Are they better than the traditional cotton sheets you’ve had for years? Let’s look at that question by comparing the two options.
What Are Bamboo Sheets?
“What are bamboo sheets? How can you make sheets from something so hard?” we hear you say. Bamboo sheets are actually made from bamboo viscose. Now you’re asking “what is bamboo viscose”? This is a loose term that is used to classify the fabric. It’s basically an interchangeable term with “rayon from bamboo.” Many people hear the term “rayon” and become a little suspicious, because the process of creating that kind of material is still less than environmentally friendly.
Don’t worry! This is not the same thing as chopping down a tree to make a wood chair. Bamboo crops are able to be grown on land that is normally unsuitable for forestry and other applications. More importantly, bamboo is a grass and not a tree. For this reason, the roots stay in place when the bamboo is harvested. Think about it- just because you mow your grass doesn’t mean you don’t have a yard anymore! Once the bamboo is harvested, the chutes start to grow back. Some bamboo species even come back stronger when they’ve been previously cut!
Linens manufacturers can get the best bamboo sheets by harvesting top-quality bamboo, which means going with bamboo that is certified 100% natural growth without any chemical pesticides. Once the bamboo has been harvested and turned into pulp, it is then dried and used to form the threads used in the bamboo sheets. All you have to do is run your hands across these bamboo sheets to discover for yourself how soft and silky the bamboo fibers there really are! In fact, the benefits of bamboo sheets are quite numerous.
What Are Cotton Sheets?
Cotton is a fluffy fiber which grows on the cotton plant. It’s been used for thousands of years in all types of fabric production, particularly bedsheets. For many, it’s viewed as the bedsheet gold standard. Cotton is very absorbent. As well, cotton sheets do not wrinkle quite as much as other, less soft materials do, which means your bed will have a more smooth feel and appearance.
Cotton is the most widely used material for making sheets. However, not all cotton sheets are the same. If the thread count is rather low, they will feel stiff and scratchy. On the other hand, there are luxurious cotton sheets, like those produced by SFERRA, which are made with far finer threads and higher thread count. They're made from premium materials, like 100% extra long-staple cotton with a sateen finish. The result is an extremely luxurious and soft bed sheet.
Bamboo vs. Cotton
The question becomes, bamboo vs. cotton sheets: which one is better? This is a personal decision based on exactly how you like to sleep, but it can be helpful to break both options down and do a comparison. Consider the following:
#1 Thread count. When buying cotton bed sheets, it’s important to look at the thread count to gain a better idea of how soft they will be. Higher thread counts are softer, to a certain extent. If you get too high, the sheets then become a bit too warm because they are so tightly woven. Bamboo sheets can be as soft as high thread count cotton without as high a number.
#2 Durability. Bamboo fibers tend to be more durable, as long as you care for them properly. In order to wash them, you have to be gentle and be sure to follow the instructions regarding whether you should run warm or cold water. They can also be air dried, or you can tumble dry them on a low-heat setting. Cotton sheets, on the other hand, are much easier to toss in hot water in the washing machine.
Remember, higher quality sheets last longer! If you want to go several years before you need to go linens shopping again, the key is purchase as high-quality bedding as you can afford and then care for them correctly.
#3 Comfort. When you’re looking for new bedding, your top concern is how comfortable it is. However, this gets quite subjective. Cotton sheets could deliver a cheap and not so pleasant sleeping sensation if you settle for a set with low thread count, but they could also be very soft and appealing if you get a luxurious set.
#4 Impact on the environment. As stated above, bamboo sheets are actually much more eco-friendly than many other bedding options. Manufacturing bamboo sheets poses no substantial environmental threat. They tend to have a smaller environmental impact and they produce a far smaller carbon footprint than other options. The cotton plant, on the other hand, is not as environmentally friendly as bamboo. In fact, it is one of the dirtiest because manufacturers use a lot of pesticides in growing the plant.
#5 Keeping cool at night. No one wants to get hot and sweaty as they sleep! Cotton retains heat more than bamboo. On the other hand, bamboo sheets are naturally breathable and wick away moisture.
#6 Cost. Bamboo sheets, in general, tend to be a bit more expensive compared to low-quality cotton. However, if you match the thread count of bamboo sheets to a higher-quality luxury cotton linen set, the price is more or less be the same.
#7 Health. You spend a lot of time in your sheets, so it’s no surprise they have quite a bit of an impact on your health. Cotton, if it's not 100% organic, is grown with the use of a lot of pesticides, most of which are known to be quite dangerous for our health. Bamboo sheets are far more healthy than cheap cotton sheets. They use more eco-friendly materials, and they do not pose any health hazards. Organic bamboo bedding is naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Bamboo bed sheets also reduce allergies because they reduce the amount of moisture in your bed which fights the cause of allergies, dust mites, from living in your bed.
Your sheets are among the most important things to consider when it comes to furnishing your bed for a good night of sleep, after your new mattress of course. There are many types of sheets, from the best cotton sheets to bamboo sheets and beyond. We have a wide selection of linens online and in our stores. Go ahead and shop around to find your favorite set!