At a Glance
Linen and cotton are both common bedding materials, but they do have differences worth noting. Let's explore them in detail in this post.
- Decide whether you want a smooth fabric or a rough and durable one.
- Take into account your budget as the two have distinct price points.
When we think of bedding materials, cotton and linen fabrics immediately spring to mind. In fact, the average homeowner may use the terms ‘linen sheets’ and ‘cotton bed sheets’ interchangeably because they seem so similar.
Both are made from natural fibers and among the popular bed sheet materials. But what sets these natural fabrics apart and how do the two fare as bedding in Singapore? Check out this detailed comparison between linen and cotton fabrics to help you decide which bed sheets to buy.
table of contents
What Is Cotton? Go to Section
Pros And Cons Of Cotton Go to Section
What Is Linen? Go to Section
Belgium And French Flax Linen
Pros And Cons Of Linen Go to Section
Cotton Vs. Linen Comparison At A Glance Go to Section
Cotton Or Linen: Which Bed Sheet Is Better? Go to Section
What Is Cotton?
Cotton is a soft and fluffy natural fiber that comes from the cotton plant. They are harvested from the boll of the plant, then spun and woven into durable cotton sheets.
Cotton production is easily scalable, which accounts for the clothes and sheets we enjoy today. But with a wide range of supplies, it also takes a keen eye to tell which cotton fabrics are of high quality.
In bedding sheets, high thread count cotton bed sheets are key to achieving a good night’s rest. This is because higher thread counts result in a tighter cotton weave, making the fabric smooth and silky to the touch.
However, excessive thread counts mean little if the fibers used are of low quality. Extra long staple cotton for beddings is best to maintain the durability of cotton fabrics. This ensures cotton bed sheets will not fray, wrinkle or pill easily after a few tumbles in the wash.
Another aspect to scrutinize is the type of weave. Bed sheets may be produced as cotton percale or cotton sateen, each with its own advantages. Percale sheets use a one-over-one-under weave to produce sheets with a crisp feel and matte finish.
However, the uniform structure of percale cotton also leaves it more prone to wrinkling. Meanwhile, sateen sheets practice a one-over-three-under weave to produce tightly knit, silky soft sheets. But over time, this smoothness may fade and be prone to snags. Percale and sateen weaves are top-notch options depending on your needs.
Cotton bed sheets in Singapore are commonly used due to their sheer accessibility. With these general factors in mind, here are some of the best cotton bed sheet types in the market:
As the name suggests, Egyptian cotton is cotton grown along the Nile River in Egypt. This place boasts the most excellent quality cotton because of its optimal climate and handpicked harvesting methods. This processing setup produces cotton fibers that are soft and remain long stapled, resulting in silky smooth Egyptian cotton bed sheets which can last for years.
Pima cotton is a rare type of cotton fiber grown in Peru, Australia, and the US. A relative of the Egyptian cotton plant, Pima cotton boasts of extra-long fibers - up to 50% longer than average - coming from the fluffiest part of the plant. Pima cotton bed sheets are known to be durable yet resistant to wrinkles.
A play on the words ‘Superior’ and ‘Pima’, Supima cotton is a highly regulated cotton material only produced in the US. These pima cotton fibers undergo stringent standards to be released with a Supima seal of approval.
The result - cotton fibers that are softer, silkier to the touch, yet more durable than their pima counterparts. Supima cotton bed sheets are an excellent choice for those seeking long-lasting materials.
Pros And Cons Of Cotton
Pros: Cotton absorbs body warmth very well and boasts a smoother feel due to the fibers’ higher stretch and flexibility. Blending top-tier and regular cotton variants also enable cotton to balance quality and cost, making this available to just about any homeowner.
Cons: The downside lies in cotton’s poor ability to resist wrinkling and shrinking unless fabric pre-shrinking was done. Durability in the long-term is another disadvantage as cotton fibers tend to fray after 5-7 years of use. More importantly, ethical issues with cotton production make other people turn to sustainable alternatives like TENCEL™ and bamboo.
The Cotton Verdict: It provides an instantly amazing experience, but may not be built for the long haul and is not ideal for eco-conscious users.
What Is Linen?
Linen is another natural fiber derived from the flax plant. Instead of fluffy cotton bolls, linen fibers are produced from the stems of flax. The structure of flax stems is what gives linen fabrics their innate strength and durability. Don’t let the rough thread fool you at first glance, though - the more you wash linen, the softer it becomes.
Unlike cotton sheets, the strength of linen lies in its loose weave. Because flax has its own structure, there is little need for densely knit threads to produce a smooth fabric. As such, linen never depends on thread count as a measure of quality. Most linen fabrics have a thread count of around 80 – 150, a much lower range than cotton sheets.
Belgium And French Flax Linen
Linen bed sheets are less explored, which explains why there are fewer types of linen bedding on the market. The highest quality linen lies along the world-renowned Western Europe flax belt - crossing through Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. The climate along this belt is optimal for growing and harvesting flax, bringing about the Belgium and French Linen we hear of today.
However, these are not to be confused with Belgium or French Flax Linen. Manufacturers created this subtle distinction to determine how much of the linen production process is done in its country of origin.
Pros And Cons Of Linen
Pros: Despite being lesser known, linen takes pride in its many features fit for a variety of sleepers. The loose weave and lower thread count of linen sheets make the fabric hypoallergenic, breathable, and moisture wicking - perfect for hot sleepers and those with sensitive skin. Cooler climates can also benefit from linen sheets as the sheets are naturally temperature-regulating.
Cons: However, with higher production costs, linen bed sheets are naturally more expensive than cotton. And while linen fabrics get softer with every wash, the roughness of flax fibers will never achieve the silky smoothness of cotton. It is also prone to more shrinkage in the first few washes, but only by a small margin - while cotton shrinks on an average of 1-3%, linen shrinks around 3-5%. This can be avoided by separating linen sheets from the rest of the items in the first few washes, washing on a cool cycle, and avoiding harsh detergents and bleaches.
The Linen Verdict: It is a worthwhile investment, but you need time to reap the benefits.
Cotton Vs. Linen Comparison At A Glance
Naturally breathable and moisture-wicking
Smooth, soft, lightweight, and flexible
Rough, heavy, and less flexible
Strong but depends on staple length (shorter fibers pill faster)
Built to last longer than cotton
Cost and maintenance
Cultivation method can be damaging to the environment
Biodegradable and needs less water
COTTON OR LINEN: Which Bed Sheet Is Better?
Answering this question all boils down to personal preference. Before purchasing the perfect bed sheets for you, it’s important to establish your priorities for a good night’s rest, as well as your intended budget.
If you perceive bed sheets as an investment and are willing to shell out more for longer-lasting sheets, then linen may be a better fit.
Linen’s temperature-regulating and hypoallergenic qualities make it a perfect fit for Singapore’s tropical climate, and while linen sheets may be rough at first, the fabric only gets better over time. With enough machine washing cycles, you can recoup the cost in no time.
Meanwhile, if you’re shopping on a budget and believe silky smooth sheets are non-negotiable, then 100% cotton sheets may be a more preferable option. After all, their lower price tag can make up for the frequent anticipated changes through the years. Be sure though that your cotton sheets are made purely what’s on the label for you to fully realize the benefits for yourself.
For more affordable options, expensive cotton fabrics are often blended with lower-quality variants to manage costs. Check the label for the cotton composition before purchasing to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting.
DISCOVER WEAVVE’S BEDDING COLLECTION
Weavve’s Cotton Bed Sheets
Our cotton sets are woven from pure extra-long staple cotton fibers to give you strong, smooth, and breathable fabrics. The material boasts an honest 600 thread count using single-ply yarns patterned into a sateen weave - giving you a comfortable, peaceful sleep all night long.
Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell Bed Sheets
If you’re still unsure whether to go for TENCEL™ or cotton, the former’s sustainability might help you decide. Produced entirely from the wood pulp of eucalyptus trees, TENCEL™ fibers are not only eco-friendly, but they also produce sheets that are as durable, if not more than regular cotton.
TENCEL™ Lyocell fabric has a shiny finish and drapes well. It is also an excellent choice for sensitive skin as the fabric is hypoallergenic and breathable.
Here at Weavve, we pride ourselves on being committed to responsible sourcing, production, sale and use of our products. We take great effort in ensuring that our decisions account for all the people who help build our products, the environment and our consumers. From Standard 100 by Oeko Tex® certified sheets to SEDEX certified factories, Weavve makes sure that everyone is cared for at every step of the way.