Skip to Content

Cotton vs. Microfiber Sheets – What’s The Difference?

Cotton vs. Microfiber Sheets – What’s The Difference?

Bed sheets play a huge role in affecting the comfort of your bed and hence your sleep quality. When torn between cotton and microfiber sheets, consider static generation, comfort, temperature control, cost, and durability.

While cotton bed sheets allow air circulation, microfiber bed sheets retain body heat, creating a cushioning effect on cold air. Microfiber bed sheets also have lower costs but have a more negative impact on the environment.

After researching the two, here is what we found on how cotton and microfiber sheets differ;

microfiber sheets bedComfort

While both cotton and microfiber bed sheets are comfortable, the degree of comfort varies with the environment. Due to their heat-retaining ability, you will prefer microfiber bed sheets if you live in cold areas.

Cotton bed sheets offer better comfort in hotter areas due to their breathability and cooling ability.

Temperature

Cotton bedsheets are cool and breathable. They absorb sweat and allow air circulation. Due to this, cotton bed sheets work best in a hot environment.

On the other hand, microfiber bed sheets are more efficient in cold areas. The reason is that they trap heat, thereby keeping you warm throughout. They are not as breathable as cotton bedsheets despite their thin frame.

Microfiber bed sheets may stick to your skin if you sweat at night due to their silky nature.

Feel

Generally, cotton bed sheets are softer than microfiber bed sheets due to their natural fibers. However, your cotton bed sheets may appear firm at first.

It may scare you since it will soften to become soft and become more comfortable after some time. You have to wash a few times to get rid of the firmness.

Microfiber bed sheets are thinner than cotton and provide a soft, smooth, and slippery feel. They, however, tend to lose their soft feel over time.

Skin-friendliness

Cotton is a natural, hypoallergenic product. It contains natural fibers which contain no toxins that may trigger an allergy. The fibers are also soft to the skin, preventing any skin irritation.

It is not the case for microfibers since they contain a lot of plastic and chemicals.

Some companies add chemicals when processing microfiber bedsheets to achieve a hypoallergenic microfiber bed sheet. It is ineffective as the substances may trigger some people.

For this reason, people with allergies and skin sensitivity should avoid microfiber bed sheets.

Durability

Even though they are thinner, Microfiber bed sheets are more durable since their weaving is tight and firm. However, their weave affects their durability. Microfiber bed sheets with a flat weave are more durable than those with a waffle.

Generally, microfiber bed sheets can last up to 5 years.

For cotton bed sheets, wearing out is easy due to the friction from washing. Hence the need to check staple length when buying your bed sheet.

A bed sheet of longer staple length is more durable. Cotton bedsheets can maintain their soft feel for their entire lifetime.

Also, cotton bed sheets lose their colors faster than microfiber bed sheets. Since Microfiber is a synthetic fabric, it will hold on to its dye for longer than other fabrics.

Maintenance

Cotton bed sheets are prone to wrinkling and shrinkage. However, this differs according to the length of fiber in the bedsheet. Longer fibers wear out slower than shorter fibers. In addition, cotton bedsheets can also shrink after washing.

When cleaning, you should not use fabric softeners on microfiber bed sheets. The reason for this is that the fabric softener covers the Microfiber and may lose its absorbing ability. In addition, the sheets may also lose their softness after some time.

It is easier to clean microfiber bed sheets due to their stain-resistant nature. Their moisture resistance prevents stains from settling too deep in the fabric. Instead, they settle on the surface, which is easy to remove. Microfiber bed sheets are also lighter, hence dry fast.

Finally, you should avoid exposing your microfiber bedsheets to sharp objects. The pointed ends may grab your bed sheet, causing it to destroy the weave and, as a result, damage your sheets.

Thread count and GSM

The thread count of a cotton bed sheet is one of the determining factors of a good bed sheet. The higher the thread count, the better the bedsheet quality. A thread count range between 300- 600 is what we recommend.

A higher thread count isn’t necessarily better as the quality remains constant.

We look at the grams per square meter (GSM) for comparison for microfiber bed sheets. Higher GSM means that they are thicker, denser, and softer. The breathability of the fabric also lowers with the increase in GSM. We recommend bed sheets with a GSM of around 100 for this reason.

Price

While the price of cotton bed sheets is generally higher than microfiber bed sheets, it varies according to the type of cotton. Egyptian cotton is rare and therefore expensive. However, you are likely to come across fake Egyptian cotton in the market.

An alternative would be Pima cotton, cheaper than Egyptian cotton but bears similar qualities. Also, cheaper cotton bed sheets exist, almost as cheap as microfiber bed sheets. While they are of lower quality, they still provide the same comfort as other cotton sheets.

Static-generation

Unlike cotton, microfiber bed sheets are good conductors of static. They attract static and sometimes hair particles. When fully charged, microfiber bed sheets attract dust and hair without even contacting them.

It can be a significant issue, especially during winter when a lot of static is present in some areas.

Eco-friendliness

Cotton is a natural product that takes less energy during processing. Processing cotton uses half the energy that factories use to process Microfiber. For this reason, cotton is more environmentally-friendly.

On the other hand, Microfiber contains plastic, petroleum products, and other synthetic materials and chemicals. Processing these products requires large amounts of energy, and in exchange, there is the release of many toxins. Such causes air pollution.

Microfiber bed sheets are likely to cause water pollution. It happens through the shedding of tiny fibers from your bedsheet when washing. You cannot filter these tiny fibers due to their size. They, therefore, end up in water bodies, polluting them.

Also, unknown to many, cotton bed sheets are biodegradable and, therefore, a safe option for environmentalists. Microfiber bed sheets are not biodegradable and will stay in the soil for years. It reduces the quality of the earth and suffocates the microorganisms present.

Flammability

Microfiber bed sheets are highly flammable. Due to this, you should avoid putting your microfiber bedsheets in the drier. Doing so damages the fibers and ruins your bedsheets. Instead, air your bedsheets outside for them to dry.

Cotton bed sheets are also flammable but do not melt like microfiber bed sheets. For this reason, you should stay away from microfiber sheets once they catch fire. The sheets will melt, and landing on your skin will cause irritation and damage.

cotton mattress blueVariety

There are several cotton bed sheets in the market today. They include; organic, long staples, and premium cotton. Microfiber bed sheets are available in satin and percale.

Also, microfiber bed sheets are available in many colors compared to cotton bed sheets.

While the properties of these bed sheets may slightly differ individually, they still bear all the characteristics of cotton and Microfiber.

Conclusion

When choosing between cotton and microfiber bed sheets, look at your preferences like comfort level, eco-friendliness, and static generation. Microfiber bed sheets will work best in your children’s room due to their stain resistance. On the other hand, cotton sheets work best in hotter areas for their breathability.