Cotton vs Bamboo vs Tencel vs Linen: What's The Best Sheet Material?


January 9, 2024

Sleep Society is reader-supported, that means if you buy something via a link on this page, we might earn a commission. Thank you kindly.

Sleeping on the wrong bedsheet can compromise the quality of sleep, leading to various health issues.

Most people try to shop for bedsheets that seem aesthetically pleasing and match with the bedroom decor. But that isn't the right way to choose something as essential as a bedsheet. What should be the topmost priority is the material used to make it.

There are various bedsheet types available on the market which claim to be comfortable, but are actually made of synthetic fibre. Even though these sheets may look good, they restrict breathability and make people feel uneasy while sleeping.

An easy solution for solving this issue is to use sheets made of natural fibres. As there are several options on the market, this guide will be helpful for getting the best sheets out of the many popular variants.

So, without further ado, let's begin!

Guide To Various Fabrics For Bed Sheets

1. Cotton Sheets


When it comes to discussing bedsheets, we can't possibly start without mentioning cotton. It's a versatile natural fibre that works well for everything from baby clothes to our bedsheets. Cotton sheets may seem like a boring option, but that isn't true.

As the textile industry has evolved, dyed, high-quality cotton has become a common choice for bed sheets. Moreover, cotton can also be woven in different ways to get a crisp texture like Egyptian cotton,  percale or a silky feel like satin. Cotton is also the most commonly available and affordable option when it comes to getting new bedsheets.

However, the best thing about cotton is the amount of breathability it provides to the user. It also doesn't get uncomfortable when someone experiences night sweats because of its absorption strength.


That being said, cotton as a natural fibre does have some drawbacks, one of the foremost being its durability. Cotton tends to have a short life when it's constantly coming in contact with water. Also, cotton fades faster than other fabrics, it's quite hard to get stains out of cotton sheets, and they might not withstand rigorous washing.

Care Tips

Cleaning cotton sheets is pretty simple, except the sheets shouldn't be washed with very hot water, as it may shrink the fabric.

2. Bamboo Sheets


Bamboo sheets are made of bamboo rayon that's derived from the fast-growing bamboo plant or grass mainly grown in different parts of Asia. To derive the rayon, bamboo plants are first turned into a bamboo pulp and then dipped in a chemical solution of caustic soda or lye to derive cellulose fibres. These fibres then help to make soft and beautiful sheets that are breathable and odour resistant.

The best feature of bamboo bed sheets is that the fabric contains hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties. Hence, it's excellent for those who have asthma or other similar issues. Moreover, the best bamboo sheets also have thermoregulation qualities to keep the body cool during summer.

At the same time, the bamboo fabric can trap body heat during colder months to make sleeping more comfortable. So, when comparing bamboo vs. cotton on this point, bamboo works better.


Even though bamboo should be a sustainable natural fibre, the usual way of producing bamboo rayon isn't that eco-friendly. This is because of the number of harsh chemicals needed to make the bamboo bed sheets.

Care Tips

To keep the bamboo sheets in good shape, it's necessary to wash them in cold water with a mild detergent.

3. Linen Sheets


Linen sheets are compared to cotton sheets as the fabrics appear pretty similar. But, linen is a natural fibre derived from the flax plant that also gives us flaxseeds or linseed. Linen is often regarded as a luxurious fabric because of its lustrous sheen and is often compared to silk bedding.

However, the best characteristic of the linen sheets is that it's a highly breathable fabric. A hot sleeper will likely get the most value out of linen bed sheets as it would give them respite even when they are having night sweats.

This fabric is also hypoallergenic, making it great for people who have allergies or skin sensitivity. Additionally, linen doesn't get much wrinkly, unlike cotton or bamboo sheets, so the bed will always look smooth and clean.


Nevertheless, linen bed sheets come with a hefty price tag, but they do last for a long time if proper care instructions are followed. Also, linen fabrics may seem a little rough when taken out of their packaging, though a couple of wash cycles will smooth it out.

Care Tips

It isn't hard to take care of linen sheets, but while cleaning, it's best to use a mild detergent along with gentle wash cycles for maintaining the luxurious and smooth feel of the sheets.

4. Tencel Sheets


Tencel is the newest entry into the world of natural fibres, and it's usually made from pulp derived from eucalyptus wood. A private company has developed the material, and it's widely marketed as an eco-friendly fabric with a sustainable production process.

Hence, even though in bamboo vs Tencel comparisons, both materials have a similar feel and texture, the latter is preferred by those looking for sustainable options. Apart from being incredibly soft, Tencel fabric is also skin-friendly and doesn't hold dust mites.


The production process of Tencel is costly, and this shows in the price tag of these bedsheets. Also, these are usually "dry-clean only" sheets, as exposing the Tencel sheets to too much heat may shrink or make them stiff.

Care Tips

Just like other fabrics, particular Tencel sheets will come with some care instructions that need to be followed, and it's best to handwash these sheets with the mildest detergent to retain the softness.

Tencel vs cotton

When weighing Tencel vs Cotton for sheets, each has its unique benefits. Cotton is a natural, breathable fiber, perfect for those who experience night sweats, and comes in various textures like Egyptian cotton or satin. It's affordable and easily accessible but can lack durability, with a tendency to fade and not withstand frequent washing. Care for cotton sheets is straightforward, though they should be washed in cooler water to prevent shrinkage.

Tencel, made from eucalyptus wood pulp, stands out for its eco-friendly production and skin-friendly qualities. It's incredibly soft and resists dust mites, ideal for allergy sufferers or sensitive skin. However, Tencel sheets are pricier and require more careful handling, typically needing dry-cleaning or gentle handwashing with mild detergent. While cotton offers affordability and breathability, Tencel excels in sustainability and gentleness to the skin.

Tencel vs bamboo

In the Tencel vs Bamboo sheets debate, both bring unique eco-friendly qualities to the table. Tencel, made from eucalyptus wood pulp, is lauded for its softness and sustainability. It's hypoallergenic, making it great for sensitive skin, but tends to be more expensive and requires careful washing.

Bamboo sheets, derived from bamboo rayon, are breathable, odour-resistant, and also hypoallergenic, benefiting those with asthma or allergies. They excel in thermoregulation, providing coolness in summer and warmth in winter. However, their eco-friendliness is somewhat diminished by the chemical-intensive process used to produce bamboo rayon.

For care, bamboo sheets should be washed in cold water with mild detergent. While Tencel is known for its softness and eco-production, bamboo offers excellent thermoregulation and hypoallergenic properties, albeit with some environmental concerns.

Tencel vs linen

In the Tencel vs Linen sheets debate, both materials offer unique benefits for bedding. Tencel is celebrated for its softness, eco-friendliness, and hypoallergenic properties, ideal for sensitive skin. However, it's pricier and needs careful washing.

Linen, derived from the flax plant, is known for its luxurious sheen and excellent breathability, making it great for hot sleepers. It's also hypoallergenic and less prone to wrinkling. Linen's initial roughness softens with washes, but it comes with a higher price tag.

Care-wise, linen requires gentle washing with mild detergent. While Tencel stands out for its sustainability and gentleness, linen offers a luxurious feel and superior breathability, albeit at a premium.


Choosing the best bedsheet often depends on personal preference, and there can never be a perfect natural fibre that will work for everyone. But, to make a good choice, it's essential to prioritise the factors that affect you the most.

Moreover, as options like bamboo and cotton sheets may not be the most sustainable, many people are opting for both Tencel and linen. If possible, it's best to have a feel of the bedsheets before settling on a fabric.

With that, it's time to end this guide. Goodbye, and make sure to have a good night's sleep!