In addition to a good mattress, one of the most important factors that dictate a good night’s sleep are high-quality sheets. But finding your perfect set of sheets isn’t as easy as it might sound. You have to consider the fabric, the size, and the thread count.
Recently, bamboo sheets have been all the rage and it felt like, everywhere I turned, someone was telling me to try them out. So, after a lot of research, I decided to buy a set for myself and try them first-hand. Here’s what I found out.
What Are Bamboo Sheets?
Bamboo sheets are the most comfortable linens in the world and they’re more durable than cotton or microfiber. What’s more, they’re made from organic bamboo fibers and have antimicrobial properties.
Since bamboo can grow pretty fast and doesn’t need any pesticides, it’s an extremely sustainable plant. That’s why bamboo sheets are the most environmentally-friendly linens on the market. Unlike cotton or microfiber, they don’t contribute to pollution and you can recycle most of the fabric.
How Bamboo Sheets Are Made
First, the bamboo has to be cut and harvested. Since bamboo is technically a grass and not a tree, once you cut it, the roots will stay in place and the chutes will start growing pretty soon. Then, the manufacturer cuts the stalks into small chips and soaks them in a special liquid so they can become softer.
Once they’re out of the liquid, they resemble paste that a manufacturer dries and forms into sheets. When they’re totally dry, the sheets are ground up and spun into bamboo fibers.
Of course, the majority of sheets come from China, since bamboo mostly grows in Asian countries. You can check out this article on the production process of bamboo sheets for more information.
Types of Bamboo Sheets
Currently, there are four different types of bamboo sheets you can buy:
The first three types are made from regenerated cellulosic fibers, called viscose or Rayon. On the other hand, linen bamboo sheets are pretty similar to regular linen sheets. Here’s a quick rundown of all four types so you have a better handle on the terminology.
Viscose bamboo sheets are by far the most popular and common type. However, they’re not the most environmentally-friendly option because of the chemicals used in the production process. For example, most manufacturers use chlorine bleach, sulfuric acid, carbon disulfide, and lye to make them.
Modal has pretty much the same production process as viscose, with only a few differences. Namely, bamboo used for modal sheets is stretched more to ensure a lighter and thinner fabric. By doing so, these sheets are much softer and more durable than their viscose counterparts.
If you want to be truly environmentally friendly, you should choose lyocell bamboo sheets. There are fewer chemicals used in the production process and those chemicals are continuously recycled. What’s more, the fibers in lyocell sheets are tougher than those in viscose sheets, which makes them more durable.
Just like lyocell, linen bamboo sheets are good for the environment and don’t have any harsh chemicals in them. However, since they can be difficult to manufacture, they come with a heftier price tag. They’re also prone to wrinkling and might not be as soft as the viscose ones.
In addition to picking out your favorite type of bamboo sheet, you can also choose between two different weaves: sateen and twill. The biggest difference between the two is their softness and durability.
Twill weave is pretty tight and even though it’s softer than most cotton sheets, it’s not as smooth as sateen. It’s also pretty tough and can easily shrink in the dryer after a while. To ensure you’re getting the best size for your bed, I recommend buying them pre-shrunk.
On the other hand, a sateen weave is extremely soft and resembles silk to the touch. However, since it’s more difficult to make than twill, it’s also more expensive. What’s more, bamboo sheets with a sateen weave require more care.
The Pros of Bamboo Sheets
Bamboo sheets are currently the second best-selling type of sheets, right after cotton. What’s more, most people compare their softness to Egyptian cotton sheets with a thread count of 1000.
Prior to buying bamboo sheets, I’ve been sleeping on cotton sheets with an 800 thread count. So, when someone told me that bamboo sheets would be softer than my current ones, I was a bit skeptical. I thought that they’d probably feel a bit worse to the touch, or in the best-case scenario, feel the same.
However, let me tell you, after using them for a few months, I’m never going back to cotton. These bamboo sheets are as soft as silk and as comfortable as flannel. They’re also extremely breathable and don’t make me sweat, even when it’s hot outside.
What’s more, bamboo sheets feel extremely luxurious and easily compare to the finest Egyptian cotton. In fact, I think they’re so comfy that I’d go so far to say that they feel almost like cashmere.
As I’ve briefly mentioned, bamboo sheets and bamboo bedding, in general, are the most eco-friendly linens in the world. To start, bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world and doesn’t require any special environmental conditions. If you want to learn more about bamboo, how and where it grows, you can check out this link for more information.
What’s more, lyocell and linen bamboo sheets don’t have any heavy chemicals or pesticides in them. Also, companies that use responsible manufacturing practices enforce a closed-loop recycling process. By doing so, they’re not contaminating the environment or wasting any water during the production process.
In addition to being soft as silk, bamboo sheets are also extremely durable. In fact, with the proper maintenance and care, they can last up to 1,000 washes. Of course, that’s only true for the more luxurious ones, because the low-quality sheets will pill after a while.
Also, bamboo sheets are difficult to rip and are a perfect choice for those who have kids or pets. Since the fibers aren’t woven together like those in cotton or microfiber sheets, they can outlive them by a few years.
Hypo-Allergenic and Antimicrobial
Since bamboo in nature is pretty resistant to most pests and fungi, it doesn’t need to be treated with pesticides. So, bamboo sheets are the perfect choice for those of you who have sensitive skin or allergies.
What’s more, there’s some research that suggests bamboo sheets have antimicrobial properties. That means that they’re resistant to different types of bacteria that could be lurking in your sheets.
Another thing I’ve noticed with these sheets is that they always keep my body temperature in check while I’m sleeping. After a bit of digging online, I found that’s because of the cellulose fibers in bamboo sheets.
These fibers help with thermo-control, so you always feel great during the night. Also, since the fabric is extremely breathable, I’ve never had a problem with sweating while sleeping in my bamboo sheets.
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, bamboo is a natural deodorizer. That means that no matter how much you sweat during the night, you’ll wake up feeling fresh. What’s more, your sheets will smell nice much longer after washing than your average cotton sheets would.
If you’re having trouble with sweating during the day, too, you should try wearing a bamboo undershirt. Considering how breathable it is and how soft the material is, you should be sweat-free all day.
The Cons of Bamboo Sheets
Before you consider upgrading and replacing your old sheets, you should know that bamboo isn’t without its faults.
The biggest issue I had with bamboo sheets is their hefty price tag. Even though they’re not as expensive as they were 10 years ago, they’re still a pretty big investment. For example, the average price for bamboo sheets on Amazon starts at around $60 or $70.
Of course, you could always buy cheap bamboo sheets, but they’re usually not high-quality. Those sheets tend to have some polyester or harmful chemicals in them. That’s why, if you’re going to buy bamboo sheets, I recommend that you splurge on them a bit.
Since they’ll last you longer than your cotton sheets, just look at them as an investment. So, if you’re working with a tight budget, you can save up for a few months and buy them later.
Care and Maintenance
If you want to make sure your bamboo sheets last you a few years, you need to take proper care of them. To start, you should only wash them in cold water, on a gentle cycle, at 30°C max.
Also, use a mild detergent for the sheets and don’t wash them with towels or clothes, to avoid pilling. Since bamboo sheets are extremely soft as-is, you don’t have to use fabric softener on them. I would also recommend washing them once a week or every 10 days, to keep them and your bedroom smelling fresh.
If you get a stain on your bamboo sheets, you can use a natural remedy like water and vinegar to clean it. Mix one part vinegar to four parts water in a spray bottle, apply it to the stain and leave it for a few hours.
If the stain persists or you want to whiten your sheets a bit, I recommend using an oxygen-based bleach. Using chlorine bleach on your bamboo sheets can easily damage the bamboo fibers and make them feel less soft.
Tips for Buying Bamboo Sheets
Before you buy from any brand or manufacturer, make sure to read all the labels and claims. If your number one priority is to have soft sheets, you should buy a sateen bamboo weave. On the other hand, if durability and longevity are what you’re looking for, I’d go with twill bamboo sheets.
Also, always pay attention to the type of bamboo you’re buying. Getting either lyocell or linen sheets is the most eco-friendly choice, but it’s also the most expensive one. So, think about what’s important to you and set a budget that works for you.
Are Bamboo Sheets Worth It
As you can see, bamboo sheets have a lot of pros and only a few cons. They’re soft like cashmere, pretty durable, and good for the environment. What’s more, bamboo sheets have thermo-control and deodorizing features, and they’re extremely breathable. So, if you tend to sweat while you sleep like me, bamboo sheets are the way to go.
However, they do come with a hefty price tag and a long list of care and maintenance instructions. With that said, in my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons and they’ve given the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.