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What's the Difference Between Bamboo vs. Cotton Sheets?

Posted By: Layla

You spent a lot of time picking out the right mattress and finding the best memory foam topper to keep you cool and comfortable. You read consumer reviews and gave more than one model a test run. You have the best bed in the world, right?

What's the Difference Between Bamboo vs. Cotton Sheets?

Not necessarily.

Skimping on your sheets could lead to a lot of tossing and turning. Even the best mattress on the market can’t save you from the discomfort a set of scratchy sheets will unleash on you at bedtime.

If you’re used to buying cotton bedding, you might be hesitant to try a set of bamboo sheets. Are they better or just trendier? Bamboo and cotton sheets are both known for their breathability, making them good choices for sheets for hot sleepers. Both materials are soft and durable, and the more you’re willing to spend, the higher quality sheets you can get. However, while they have many similarities, bamboo and cotton sheets are not the same. Let’s break down bamboo vs. cotton sheets so you can make the most informed decision about the right bedding for your comfort and sleep satisfaction.

What Are Bamboo Sheets?

Bamboo sheets are made from sustainable bamboo. Bamboo has long been used as a building material, similar to wood, which is why it can be shocking how soft and comfortable bamboo sheets can be. Bamboo has naturally long fibers that create a highly durable yet silky soft sheet. Bamboo sheets are incredibly cooling and wick moisture away from the body. There are a few different types of bamboo fabrics available, including:

  • Lyocell
  • Viscose
  • Modal

The difference between these options is the manufacturing process. Viscose and modal bamboo products use chemicals during production. Viscose is a popular choice for bedding because it’s soft and offers easy care. In fact, you can put your bamboo viscose bedding right in the washing machine with cold water.

What Are Cotton Sheets?

Cotton is a common bedding material because it’s affordable and soft. It’s also known to be breathable, making it ideal for hot sleepers. Layla uses 100% cotton for our down alternative comforters for these reasons and more. Cotton is another natural fiber from plants, and there are many different types of cotton available to choose from. The higher the quality, the more you’ll need to pay for cotton sheets. Of course, there’s also non-organic cotton that’s affordable, but it’s typically not as durable or soft. To understand how soft cotton bedding is, you must pay close attention to thread count. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious your experience will be.

Pros and Cons of Bamboo Bedding

Are bamboo sheets better than cotton? That depends on who you ask, but there are plenty of reasons to believe you’ll be happier with a bamboo blend than you are on your current sheets.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying bamboo sheets.

Pros of Bamboo Sheets

First, what’s so great about bamboo fabric? A lot! Here are some of the reasons you might want to choose bamboo vs. cotton sheets. Here are some bamboo bed sheet benefits:

  • Durability. If you’re tired of replacing your bedding, bamboo sheets are a good choice. A single set can last up to 1,000 washes. A single bamboo thread is often strong enough to stretch across the entire sheet, adding to the strength of the fabric.
  • Softness. If bamboo sheets are anything, they’re soft. Like, baby’s bottom soft. And even better, they can get softer after each wash. So instead of losing their sheen and becoming scratchy over time – they’ll just become more welcoming.
  • Cooling. Are bamboo sheets cooler than cotton? Yes, bamboo is a very breathable fabric. In most cases, you’ll find that bamboo sheets keep you cooler throughout the night. Bamboo stays about 3 degrees cooler than cotton on average. It’s breathable enough to allow your body heat to easily escape. You can also make your bedding even more breathable with a sleep hot solution like a cooling memory foam mattress. Learn more about how to stay cool at night with these tips to beat the heat.
  • Hypoallergenic. Some organic cotton is hypoallergenic, but all bamboo sheets contain hypoallergenic properties. Hypoallergenic bedding is ideal if you’ve been struggling with sneezing, wheezing, or coughing at night. They naturally repel dust mites and other problem allergens.

Cons of Bamboo Sheets

Evaluating bamboo vs. cotton sheets also means considering why one fabric might not be for you. Here are some things to consider about dealing with bamboo before you pull the trigger on a purchase.

  • Expense. Bamboo sheets are usually more expensive than alternatives. You get all the bang we mentioned above for your buck, but if you’re on a tight budget, then bamboo sheets may be a “save for later” item rather than a “buy it now” purchase.
  • Care Instructions. You can throw your cotton sheets in the wash with your sweatshirts, dry them on hot, and call it a day. Bamboo sheets require a little more delicate care. You should wash them on cold and dry on cool. Don’t use bleach or fabric softener. Some bamboo sheets also require you to air dry them rather than putting them in the dryer. Layla’s bamboo sheets can be dried in a machine on low heat.

Pros and Cons of Cotton Sheets

Just like bamboo, cotton has its pros and cons. There’s a reason it has become so commonly used, but can it stand the test of time as well as bamboo?

Pros of Cotton Sheets

First, let’s look at why cotton blends are so popular for sheets. When you’re in a department store or shopping at everyone’s favorite online big box store, many of the options for bed sheets are cotton or cotton blends. Here’s what’s good about that.

  • Affordability. In the case of cotton vs. bamboo sheets, cotton sheets are usually less expensive than bamboo sheets – unless you’re going all-in on high-thread Egyptian cotton. In that case, they can be more expensive than a bamboo set. For people who are very price sensitive, though, there will be a cotton blend in almost any store that you can afford.
  • Low Maintenance. Many cotton sheet options are pretty low maintenance. You can often throw them in the wash with other clothing, use bleach, or follow pretty loose care instructions. If low maintenance is your jam, cotton blends might be your bread and butter.
  • Variety. There are tons of options for cotton sheets. Affordable, low thread count sheets let you save money. Expensive Egyptian sheets are as smooth as silk and give you a taste of luxury. When you go with cotton sheets over bamboo, you might like the bevy of choices at your fingertips.
  • Year-Round Use. If you live in a climate with bitter winters (we see you, Minneapolis), you probably swap out your summertime sheets for thicker ones after the first frost. Cotton is often used to make flannel sheets or other fabrics that keep you warm when the temps outside are frigid.

Cons of Cotton Sheets

Affordability and easy care are fun and all, but what are some reasons to steer clear of your old cotton habits? Here are a couple.

  • Shorter Lifespan. Cotton sheets are more likely to stretch and tear in the wash over time. If you’re tired of noticing holes in the corner of your bottom sheet, you know what we’re talking about. Don’t get us wrong – you can usually get a few good years out of a single set. Still, if you’re in it for a long-haul relationship, cotton may not be the fabric to marry.
  • Need High Thread Count to Be Soft. Cotton can be just as soft as bamboo and other natural materials. But you’ll have to get a higher thread count to achieve that smooth as silk feeling. And that means spending more. Since bamboo is a naturally soft material, it only requires a thread count of up to 300 or 400. Meanwhile, cotton thread counts range from 200 to 800. Just because cotton presents more options doesn’t mean all of those options come with the same benefits.

Does Weave Matter?

When you’re evaluating bamboo vs. cotton sheets, it’s not all about the material and the thread count. The way the fabric is woven will also affect your experience.

Three of the most common weaves are sateen, percale, and twill. Here’s what to know about each one.


Forbes says sateen is the closest you can get to satin without actually investing in such a fragile and expensive fabric. The weaving style involves a “three threads over, one thread under” method. This leaves more thread exposed on the top of the sheet, so the surface feels smooth and silky. Many bamboo sheets are sateen, giving them a glossy sheen that feels silky soft.


Sheets woven in a percale style are lightweight and crisp. The threads are woven one yarn over, one yarn under. The close weave makes the surface of the sheets somewhat smooth, but they won’t be as stretchy or forgiving as a sateen fabric.


Twill sheets have a diagonal weave used in denim. Twill weaves have a front and a back, with the front looking more ribbed and the back flat. This type of weave is considered highly durable and long-lasting while also being wrinkle-resistant. A tight twill weave can make bedding smooth to prevent pilling. Twill has a more designed appearance than sateen or percale weaves, which both appear flat.

There isn’t one weave that’s inherently better than another when it comes to buying sheets. Much like your favorite flavor of ice cream or style of avocado toast, it simply comes down to what you prefer.

Impact on the Environment

Are you trying to go easier on Mother Earth these days? You’ll want to read on about the eco-friendliness of bamboo vs. cotton sheets.


Bamboo is often considered one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly crops there are. It can grow in a wide variety of soils. The grass also doesn’t require much water. Plus, when bamboo is harvested the roots stay where they are. New chutes just grow back in the same place, often hardier than the last batch.

Creating bamboo viscose does require some chemicals. Even then, manufacturers are increasingly using a process that uses sodium solutions instead of more harmful concoctions. In short: bamboo remains one of the most earth-friendly plants for creating fabric.


On the other hand, cotton requires a much dirtier growing process. A lot of pesticides are used to keep the plants free of bugs and other pests. Growing cotton also requires more water than bamboo and the seeds need to be spun out (adding another chemical impact). While some organic cotton is grown with fewer harmful chemicals, it’s not typically considered a highly sustainable or environment-friendly crop.

Layla Bamboo Sheets for Better Sleep

Cotton and bamboo sheets are both great summer bedding ideas. So, should you buy bamboo or cotton sheets? It’s all a matter of preference. For some, comfort and durability will be most important, while others will be looking for a breathable and affordable option.

The battle of bamboo vs. cotton sheets will likely rage on, but we’re brave enough to take a side. All things considered, we think bamboo is the best investment. Not only does bamboo keep you cooler all night, it’s also moisture-wicking. That means when you do sweat, it pulls the moisture away from your body and then dries really fast.

Bamboo sheets are also an investment. The Layla Bamboo sheets have been tested to last for at least 1,000 washes! All of our bamboo sheet sets come with a fitted sheet, top sheet, and pillow shams. Whether you’re sleeping in a twin bed or a Cal-king – we’ve got you covered with a soft set of bamboo that will send you into sweet dreams.

Pair your new bamboo sheets with a new memory foam mattress and memory foam pillow for even more comfort. You’ll wake up feeling like you just slept on a cloud. And when you REM better, you live better.