Linen sheets or bamboo sheets? Which is better for you? These bedsheets come from different plants and their manufacturing methods and weaves are not the same. For this reason, the sheets vary in durability, sustainability, texture, and comfort.
Bamboo sheets vs linen sheets. Let us make a practical comparison between the two fabrics. Then, you can gauge which will invite the most delightful sleep for you.
1. Bamboo sheets are softer than linen sheets.
Linen material originates from flax, a coarse plant fiber. Due to its uneven texture, it gives 100 percent linen fabric a grainy feel. Unless you buy organic sheets, chemical residues add extra stiffness. In any case, organic or not, you will want to soften linen sheets before use.
One way is by washing them in baking soda while adding vinegar to the rinse cycle. After this, you can repeat the washing cycle on the sheets using detergent. Still, softening linen to your liking can take repeated washing for months. This is because pectin binds the tough linen fibers, taking time to break down.
Additionally, linen is prone to wrinkling. Yet, the sheets prevent static cling, which is a welcome benefit if you have sensitive skin.
Conversely, bamboo bed sheets use the stalks of bamboo plants as raw material. Even at a microscopic level, bamboo rayon yarn is round and smooth. For this reason, bamboo rayon sheets are supremely soft directly out of the package.
Moreover, they drape well and are lightweight. Thus, they skim your body gently, feeling silky against your skin.
2. Bamboo bed sheets have superior breathability to linen sheets.
Both linen and bamboo sheets are ventilating and allow air to flow through them. Still, compared to linen, bamboo rayon breathes more because it has micro-gaps, which are tiny pores in the fabric. These channels escort your body heat through the sheets and allow it to escape.
In this way, bamboo rayon sheets reduce heat buildup while you are sleeping. Thus, they excel at ventilating your skin. Moreover, if you sweat, the fabric draws it from your body to the surface of the sheets. There, it evaporates speedily, exerting a cooling effect.
3. When debating your fabric preference, consider your metabolism.
While sleeping, do you need lots of layers to stay warm? If so, consider linen sheets, being heavier than bamboo rayon. Additionally, the friction against your skin can improve blood flow, increasing your core temperature.
On the other hand, are you a hot sleeper and have frequent night sweats? If so, bamboo rayon is an optimal bedding choice. Even if you perspire, the droplets will quickly be absorbed and wicked away. As a result, your skin will breathe freely.
Like bamboo rayon, linen fabric also conducts body heat and transfers it to the sheet surface. Thus, it can keep you cool during sweltering weather.
In this way, both types of sheets can moderate fluctuations in your body temperature.
4. Bamboo bedding promotes skin health, surpassing linen sheets.
Bamboo stalks have an antimicrobial compound called “kun.” This substance hampers bacterial growth. Additionally, kun is antifungal, repelling mildew and its nasty odor. Bamboo rayon fabric retains these bacteria resistant qualities, a fact which has been confirmed by a 2011 German study.
Linen sheets are antibacterial, too. Still, unlike bamboo bedding, they do not repel skin oils. Since the oils cling to linen fabric, it may block your pores. Furthermore, due to the grainy texture of linen, it can chafe your skin.
5. Bamboo rayon sheets resist dust mites more than linen sheets.
Dust mites lurk in mattresses and bedding, and they feed on the dead skin cells of pets and people. The droppings of these microscopic bugs can spark allergic reactions such as asthma, nasal congestion, eczema, and eye infections. As a result, the presence and activities of dust mites can interrupt your sleep.
Thankfully, bamboo rayon wards off dust mite infestations, more so than linen. This is because bamboo rayon excels at diffusing body heat and sweat, depriving dust mites of the warmth and moisture they need to thrive.
6. Typically, bamboo sheets outlast linen bedding.
In part, this is because bamboo fibers are more resilient than flax. Additionally, the way bamboo bed sheets are woven makes them more durable.
First, manufacturers spin bamboo fibers into yarn. Next, they stretch the yarns across the entire length of a bedsheet. Then, they secure the threads at the borders.
Some makers of premium bamboo sheets go a step further by weaving the yarns using twill weave. Twill weave improves fabric strength and enables it to resist snags and tears.
By comparison, linen sheets have short, thick yarns. While linen threads are strong, they are too wide to be woven tightly. Plus, linen fabric is not elastic like bamboo rayon. Thus, linen is more vulnerable to fraying, pilling, ripping, and wrinkling.
7. Bamboo plants are more sustainable than flax.
Bamboo is more sustainable because it is a type of grass, and it grows super-fast. In just one day, bamboo stalks can grow 3 feet! Then, when harvesters gather the stems, they cut them above soil level. Since the roots remain in the ground, farmers do not need to replant bamboo.
Meanwhile, shortly after crop collection, each severed stalk sprouts a new shoot. Hence, bamboo plants are supremely productive and are constantly yielding crops.
Conversely, to gather flax, farmers must uproot the entire plant. So, there is nothing left to regenerate. Thus, growers must follow each harvest with replanting. Moreover, processing flax is terribly labor-intensive.
8. Flax consumes more resources than bamboo.
At harvest time, pulling up flax disrupts and depletes the soil, making it prone to erosion. Thus, flax farmers must constantly replenish and recondition the soil to keep making linen sheets. Additionally, flax plants are thirstier than bamboo, requiring more water.
In contrast, gathering bamboo stalks involves cutting them above the root, so the bamboo root systems remain in the ground and are preserved. As a result, the roots stabilize the soil, sparing it from erosion. Additionally, processing flax is so laborious, so it takes more power than bamboo.
Therefore, making bamboo rayon saves energy, soil, and water. Thus, bamboo plants exceed flax in conservation value.
9. Bamboo bed sheets are more likely to be chemical-free.
Both flax and bamboo flourish in nutrient-poor soil. For this reason, growers can avoid using harmful synthetic fertilizers. Moreover, bamboo farmers can forgo applying toxic pesticides and fungicides. This is because bamboo kun protects the plants from ravaging insects and mold spores.
Although flax has internal defenses, too, they are weaker than bamboo. So, flax growers may employ toxic products to kill damaging bugs and fungus.
Then, during processing, many linen sheet manufacturers add caustic chemicals, such as synthetic dyes. Plus, linen is likely to have formaldehyde, a coating that prevents fabric wrinkling. If you are sensitive to this chemical, prolonged contact can make you sick. Symptoms include:
- wheezing and coughing
- watery eyes
- rashes, itchy skin, and blisters
- burning feeling in the eyes, nose, and throat
- cancer, warns the National Cancer Institute
Equally troubling is that textile manufacturers can omit formaldehyde on product labels because US law does not mandate disclosure.
10. Still, you can avoid toxic residues in bedsheets.
First, choose fabric made from organically grown plants. Sadly, this is not enough to protect yourself from exposure to toxic materials. Despite organic plant sources, textile producers may add harmful chemicals during processing.
To avoid the additives entirely, check to see if the sheets are certified by OEKO-TEX. Specifically, look for the words “STANDARD 100” or “MADE IN GREEN”:
When you see these OEKO-TEX labels, you know the fabric has been tested for harmful substances by independent laboratories.
The Bamboo Advantage
Let us recap the benefits and drawbacks of bamboo sheets versus linen sheets.
- Compared to flax, bamboo is more sustainable and Earth-friendly.
- While both textiles let your skin breathe, bamboo ventilates more body heat.
- Bamboo rayon sheets are better at repelling bacteria, fungi, and dust mites.
- During winter, linen bedding may keep you warmer than bamboo.
- Bamboo bed sheets outperform linen in strength and durability. Linen is more likely to pill, rip, wrinkle, and fray.
- Bamboo rayon fabric is smooth and velvety, gently draping over your skin. In contrast, linen sheets are rough when they are new. Making them sleep-worthy takes repetitive washing.
May your bedsheets foster sweet and restorative sleep for you and your family.