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Egyptian Cotton vs. Bamboo Bed Sheets

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By now you have probably heard of the latest rave, bamboo bed sheets. Not only are they said to be more comfortable and breathable, but exceptionally affordable compared to some higher thread count Egyptian cotton sheet sets.

Due to its extreme durability and comfort, Egyptian Cotton has been the go-to bedding material for decades. Egyptian Cotton sheets are supposed to become softer and more comfortable after every wash, but Bamboo sheets come straight out of the package with a silky soft touch.

Let’s figure out which type of bedding is the best choice for you and will provide the best night’s sleep.

Bamboo Sheets

Environmentally Friendly

Even though bamboo sheets are soft and comfortable to the touch, they’re also very environmentally sustainable. Requiring very little water to grow, it can sustain some of the toughest environments and reaches full maturity within two to three years. Some types of bamboo can grow as quickly as four feet per day and don’t have to be replanted after harvesting- it naturally grows back. It produces up to eight times more fiber per acre of land compared to cotton, making it a largely renewable fiber that grows quickly.

Not only is bamboo a rapidly renewable source of fiber, it does not require any form of pesticides to be grown. On the other hand, cotton is one of the highest pesticide requiring crops on Earth, which makes it harmful for those using cotton sheets and the environment. Another interesting fact about bamboo is that it minimizes CO2 levels in the air and can generate up to thirty-five percent more oxygen than surrounding trees. Making it one of the most sustainable plants on earth.

Healthy for Consumers

One of the coolest things about Bamboo sheets is that they have natural anti-bacterial properties making them hypoallergenic. This makes them great for those with allergens and prevents consumers from having allergic reactions. Since bamboo is an organic fiber, it is the preferred fabric of Allergist for those experiencing asthma and lung issues. Not to mention those with sensitive skin love the hypoallergenic properties of bamboo sheets.

They’re also great for reducing the bacteria because they’re resistant to dust mites and pathogens.

Comfortable

Bamboo sheets are naturally more breathable than Egyptian Cotton due to longer fibers being stretched the entire length of the sheet rather than short fibers being pilled together like cotton. With natural temperature-regulating abilities, bamboo sheets have the ability to absorb sweat throughout the night and won’t cling to the body during warm temperatures due to natural cooling abilities. This is why during the night you will never have the need to toss and turn looking for a cool spot on the sheets.

Durability

Bamboo bed sheets are also more durable than traditional sheets since long fibers are stretched the entire length of the sheet making them less likely to tear or pill like cotton sheets. Bamboo sheets also won’t absorb body oils making them less likely to become discolored over time, they will look great for years to come. Research shows bamboo bed sheets can last up to fifteen years before needing to be replaced if cared for properly.

Production

Production is where it counts with Bamboo sheets. Consumers should be aware of cheaper bamboo material that often has chemical additives. Currently, there are three different types of bamboo fabric options on the market.

The most common is Bamboo Rayon (Viscose). One might love Bamboo Rayon sheets for their soft and silky texture, similar to rayon. This is because rayon fabrics are created with the same process as the natural bamboo fibers are dissolved in a viscose solution. The reason this is a health concern is because the manufacturing process infuses the bamboo fibers with harmful chemicals such as carbon disulfide. This is why if you decide to purchase bamboo rayon sheets, be sure to choose from manufacturers with reputable treatment protocols. The main concern with bamboo rayon is not that the chemical residue remains in the sheets, but how the chemical waste product is disposed of. When purchasing a bamboo rayon sheet set, make sure they’re not treated with zinc sulphate or chlorine-containing bleach.

On product labels this is often called “rayon product made from bamboo.”

As a healthy alternative to the bamboo viscose process is the Lyocell method. In the Lyocell Method fibers are created with the same regenerated cellulose fiber process but do not include toxic solvents to dissolve the bamboo. With the use of a closed-loop system, less water is used also making this method more eco-friendly for creating bamboo fabrics. This modern-day production method produces a more durable and softer fabric than Bamboo Rayon.

This method is usually on product labels as “product of bamboo lyocell.”

The third bamboo fabric creation method is called Bamboo Linen. This method is the same as other linen fabrics like cotton. Although this method produces a durable fabric, it tends to wrinkle easily and not be as soft as bamboo products created with the viscose or lyocell process. Products made with this method will be labeled as “product of Bamboo Linen.”

Of all of these, the Lyocell Method is going to produce the softest, most economically friendly sheet set.

Another important factor of production for Bamboo Sheets is the way the fabric is weaved. The most common weaving method for Bamboo Sheets is Sateen, which produces a higher thread count and an ultra-soft feel. This production method takes more fibers and time to produce due to its high-quality stitch work, also meaning a higher price tag. Not only is this Bamboo Sheet option more expensive, but care instructions will need to be followed closely to prolong the life of the set.

The second bamboo weaving method is Twill. Twill is where short fibers are weaved together tightly, often resulting in a firmer fabric like a table cloth or pair of jeans. This method will produce a thicker fabric, but it will also lack softness that Bamboo Sheets often are known for. Not only will the twill method produce a firmer fabric, but it will also be more likely to shrink when washing and drying due to the tight weave of the fibers in the fabric.

Care

The best way to care for bamboo sheets, reduce shrinkage, and prevent everyday wear is by washing in cold water only with a mild detergent. While washing with a mild detergent only about one-third of a cup is needed, with Ivory or Wool-lite being the best detergent option. Bamboo sheets should never be washed with bleach, as they naturally have their own antibacterial properties called Kuhn. Kuhn is a natural property of bamboo that wards off bacteria which also means sheets stay clean longer. Therefore, they need to be laundered less. When washing bamboo sheets, they should only be laundered with other bamboo material items or nothing else at all to avoid breakdown of the material over time. The same goes for drying.

When possible, it is best to allow bamboo sheets to be air-dried or hung out on a clothesline. When using the dryer, it is best to use a cool setting and then remove them just before they’re completely dry to avoid shrinkage. If sheets are still damp when removed from the dryer it is best to allow them to hang somewhere to dry the remainder of the way. Bamboo sheets can be ironed on a low heat setting of the consumer desires.

Buyers Guide

When researching bamboo sheet sets, it is best to look for mechanically processed options instead of chemically. These might be more expensive, but they will last longer and be more hypoallergenic. It is also best to look for sheets created with the sateen method vs. the twill, they will be softer and more comfortable.

Pros

  • Durable and will last several years
  • Naturally cooling
  • Piling is less likely
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Stay true to color and won’t fade easily

Cons

One negative of bamboo sheets is that they are harder to launder as they do require more care versus cotton sheets that are “wash, dry, and go.” It is essential that bamboo sheets are hung out to dry or at least not dried all the way in the drier do to the possibility of shrinking. They’re also slightly less budget friendly than your traditional cotton sheet set.

Pricing

Pure Bamboo sheets can be pricier than Egyptian Cotton sheets. A typical queen size, one-hundred percent bamboo sheet set averages around $100.

Egyptian Cotton Sheets

The age-long classic sheet set that everyone loves- Egyptian Cotton. Egyptian Cotton Sheets are known for durability, being affordable, and warmth.

Comfort

Egyptian cotton is a breathable fabric and helps absorb water from the body. This cotton fabric has the capability to generate extra-long fibers. Extra-long fibers make thinner threads which result in higher thread counts. Higher thread count means more softness and durability. The average thread count for comfort, quality, and softness is 1000.

Production

Once the cotton is harvested, it is then taken through two processes. The first process is the spinning process where cotton is cleaned, raked, mixed, and blown, then turned into thread. The second process is the weaving process where cotton thread is then turned into fabric. This process starts with thread being warped into a certain size piece of fabric or sheet. After it is warped it goes on to drawn into the exact size and shape, then weaved before heading over to inspection and being folded. After the sheet is inspected and folded it then goes to packaging and the product is sold to buyers or companies for resale. This process might sound relatively simple, but it takes a lot of water, electricity, and energy to produce one cotton sheet set.

Care

Caring for Egyptian cotton bedding is easily done. Typically, they can be washed with warm water, your favorite laundry detergent, and dried on warm dryer settings. They can also be hung out to dry. Cotton sheets do tend to become wrinkled easily and sometimes need ironed on a low heat setting or folded as soon as they exit the dryer to avoid wrinkles. Egyptian cotton sheets can be laundered with bleach and fabric softener as well. Since cotton is an absorbent fiber, the need to launder might be sooner than bamboo sheets.

Buyers Guide

When shopping for Egyptian Cotton Sheets always remember the higher the thread count number means the higher quality the sheets will be. Not only will they be higher quality, but they will be softer and more comfortable. Usually, 1000 and above thread count is considered a high-quality standard. Keep in mind there are several cotton blends when it comes to sheets. There’s fleece, microfiber, pure cotton, and much more. To avoid added chemicals, the safest option is 100% Organic Cotton.

Durability

The average 1000 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheet set will last several years with the right care. The need to launder more frequently than bamboo fiber sheets will take eventually breakdown the material, but they should last a long while without any rips or tears. Egyptian cotton is a breathable fabric and helps absorb water from the body.

The first thing consumers usually notice about the wear of cotton sheets is peeling and discoloration. Since the cotton fiber is absorbent to natural body oils, eventually they will become discolored. This will more than likely be the first signs of wear on Egyptian Cotton sheets.

Environmental Factors

When cotton sheets are made, the fibers used to produce the material are often processed with chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, starch resins, polyurethanes, and heavy metals such as lead. While this might not seem like a “big deal,” it actually is. The largest organ in the human body is skin. It takes twenty-six seconds for chemicals to be absorbed into the human body through skin contact and the average adult sleeps six to seven hours per night. This is why it is important to pay attention to what chemicals are used to create bedding.

Not only are the chemicals used to create the cotton sheets important, but the chemicals used to grow the cotton plant is as well. Egyptian Cotton sheets come from the cotton plant that is commonly found in warmer climates where the soil remains at sixty-degrees Fahrenheit or higher year round. The cotton plant needs one hundred seventy-five to two hundred twenty-five days without frost to produce bolls of cotton.

Cotton also requires a minimum of nineteen inches of water throughout the growth phase to produce abundant amounts of bolls. Deep, nutrient-rich soil is needed for optimum growing conditions as well. In nature, cotton is a perennial plant, but in crops, it does require to be turned under each year to help combat diseases to the bolls. Not only do cotton crops need to be overturned each year, but they also require pesticides throughout the growth cycle. Organic cotton brands can opt for pesticide-free growth options, but always research what a company defines as organic before making a purchase.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Several different options available
  • Easy care Instructions
  • Become softer after every wash

Cons

  • Prone to wrinkling
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Prone to discoloration
  • Less lifespan, won’t last as long

Pricing

Blends of cotton sheet sets are relatively affordable and inexpensive. The cheapest cotton sheet sets with a low thread count can be purchased starting at around $25 for a queen size set. 100% Pure Organic Cotton Sheet Sets with a higher thread count can be purchased for around $75 for a queen size set. Prices may vary due to different blends and thread counts.

Summary

After reading this article you should be able to make a clear choice about which sheet set sounds like the best option for you and your family. Rather you’re looking for the durability of the Bamboo sheets or the affordability of the Egyptian Cotton, both have strong positive attributes.

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