When I moved into my first apartment, I was still a student and didn’t have a lot of money. So, of course, as you’d expect, my budget for buying sheets and linens was pretty much non-existent. I picked out the cheapest sheets I could find, which turned out to be made out of microfiber.
From what I had previously heard about them, I didn’t expect a good night’s sleep on them. But to my surprise, they were actually amazing. After a few years, I had a bit more money, and I could afford to buy something more expensive. However, I decided to stick with microfiber sheets because they hadn’t failed me.
Since I know many of you out there still have questions about microfiber sheets, I decided to answer all of them right now. Here’s everything you need to know before you go linen shopping next time.
What Is Microfiber?
Microfiber is made from extremely thin fibers, which are then woven together to create light and durable sheets. These sheets are only made from synthetic materials, like polyester, nylon polymers, and even recycled fabric.
The fibers inside microfiber sheets are thinner than silk, measuring at just one denier in diameter. What’s more, unlike some natural fibers like cotton or linen, they’re not as prone to shrinking or wrinkling.
Of course, not all microfibers were created equal and not all of them will feel silky to the touch. In fact, for this type of sheet to remain soft and durable, it needs to be woven pretty tight.
Now, since microfiber sheets come from man-made fibers, they also boast some features that natural fabrics can’t match. To start, since the weave is so tight, microfiber is great at repelling most stains.
They also keep dust or any other allergens at bay, making them the perfect choice for those who struggle with allergies. Finally, unlike cotton, these sheets are extremely tough to rip and they can last you a long time.
Having sheets that promote breathability is crucial, especially if you tend to run hot or you live somewhere where the temperatures are always high. However, since microfiber sheets don’t have natural fibers, most people think that they’d make them sweat during the summer.
Let’s just get this right out of the way — sleeping in microfiber sheets won’t make you sweat more than you normally would. With that said, it’s still not as breathable as natural fibers like cotton or bamboo.
As I said, to ensure durability, some of these sheets are tightly woven which means air can’t easily pass through them. So, while they’ll keep you warm during the cold months, they might not be the best choice if you live somewhere that’s hot. But that’s usually true just for the cheaper models.
On the other hand, some of the more high-end microfiber sheets feature innovative thermal-regulating technology. It makes the sheets more breathable while wicking away any sweat or water off it. So, depending on your body temperature, they will fluctuate between cool and cozy to give you the most comfort.
Thread count is a simple measure that shows how many threads per square inch there are. To calculate it, you have to multiply the vertical and horizontal weaves of the fabric, and then add them up.
Now, most people think that for sheets to feel soft, they should have a huge thread count, but that’s just not true. In fact, for most of us, sheets that are in the 200 to 800 thread count range are more than comfortable enough.
You can go over that number, but the truth is, you won’t feel much of a difference. However, if your sheets have a thread count that’s smaller than 200, they might feel itchy and uncomfortable. Also, they’ll pill after a few washes and won’t be as durable.
The good news is that just like cotton, microfiber sheets come in a wide variety of different thread counts. For example, if you want to splurge, you can even buy them with 1500 thread count. Again, I think this is too much, and that you’d be perfectly fine staying in the 200 to 800 range.
Before I bought my first set of microfiber sheets, I thought they would be scratchy or rough to the touch. However, after sleeping on them the first time, I found that’s completely not true. Because of the high fiber count in them, microfiber sheets are extremely soft to the touch, almost like silk.
Of course, you can always find those low-quality sheets that will feel rough or irritate your skin. That’s why you should always look for a higher thread count or try to feel the fabric before you buy it.
Now, I know some people have said that microfiber sheets irritated their skin, but I’ve never had that problem. In fact, I have extremely sensitive skin and have found microfiber sheets to be extremely soothing.
The only thing I don’t like about these sheets is that they sometimes bunch up while I’m sleeping. Since I’m a restless sleeper, I often toss and turn in my bed and the sheets crease. However, I found that to be the problem with most of my linens, so I don’t hold it against microfiber.
Maintenance and Care
There’s pretty much no difference in how you would wash and dry microfiber sheets to cotton ones. You don’t have to use any special cycle, although I wouldn’t recommend putting them at the highest temperature. Just like any other sheets, microfiber ones might shrink a bit during the first wash, so it’s better to put them on a low temperature.
You also don’t have to use any particular detergents or softeners, because they work with everything. However, I wouldn’t recommend putting them in the same wash as your towels, because they might transfer lint or produce static.
What’s more, I’d be careful when separating the colors. If you have sheets that are a bright or dark color and you put them in with your whites, they’ll probably bleed and transfer color.
One of the biggest differences between microfiber and cotton sheets is in the drying time. Depending on their size, if you air-dry them, your sheets might only need a few hours to dry. What’s more, if you put them in the dryer, you can use the lowest possible setting.
Whitening Microfiber Sheets
Even though microfiber sheets are pretty stain-resistant, accidents do happen and you might get a stain on them. I don’t recommend using chlorine bleach, because it might break down the polyester fabric.
Instead, you can just put some undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to the stain. Then, wash your sheets using a mild laundry detergent. If the stain is persistent, you can put one scoop of oxygen-based powdered bleach in your washing machine dispenser.
What’s more, if you want to whiten your microfiber sheets, I recommend putting half a cup of white vinegar during the final rinse. Once it’s done, put your sheets in the dryer on low heat.
Just like any other sheets, the microfiber ones come in a wide variety of different colors and sizes. In recent years, they’ve become more popular, so now you can also get them in bright colors or with prints. However, those aren’t my favorite because the color tends to fade after only a few washes.
Also, with proper care and maintenance, microfiber sheets won’t pill or produce lint, and they’re not likely to wrinkle. In fact, I’ve had one set of white microfiber sheets for a couple of years now. I don’t see any difference between how they look now and what they looked like when I first bought them.
One thing to consider is that you might see a bit of pilling if the sheets are low-quality or have a small thread count. But the same can be said for the cotton ones, so I don’t hold this against them.
One of the things that first drew me toward microfiber sheets was how cheap they were. I bought my first set off of Amazon for about $40. Granted, they didn’t have the highest thread count, but they served me well for a long time.
Having a comfortable set of sheets shouldn’t break the bank. Luckily, microfiber sheets are perfect for almost every budget and they usually start around $20.
On the other hand, you couldn’t buy high-quality cotton sheets for the same price. Since they’re more expensive to make than microfiber, they usually don’t come cheap.
Warranty and Lifespan
As I mentioned before, microfiber sheets are extremely durable and can last you a few years with proper care. Of course, you can’t just buy some that have a 100 thread count and expect them to last you a lifetime.
While you’re shopping, make sure to pay attention to that count and the claims the company’s making. Also, always check if they offer money-back guarantees or warranties on the products.
Most often, any type of sheets will come with a one-year warranty. But that doesn’t mean you should throw them in the trash once the year’s up. If you take proper care of them, they can last you up to four or five years.
I’ve also seen plenty of manufacturers on Amazon that offer lifetime guarantees on their sheets. So, if you have kids or pets that like to sleep in your bed and are afraid the sheets might rip, you should look into these warranties.
One trick I’ve picked up is always having at least two clean sets of sheets on deck. That way, I don’t have to wash them every week and they last me a long time.
What’s more, I recommend whitening them only when absolutely necessary. If you put bleach or vinegar on your microfiber sheets too often, they’ll break down the fabrics inside the sheets, causing them to rip more easily.
As someone who’s had microfiber sheets for a long time now, I have to say I truly enjoy them. They’re easy to clean, don’t take a long time to dry, and are almost impossible to stain. They’re also cheaper than cotton sheets, and you can get them in a wide variety of colors and sizes.
The only drawback to microfiber sheets is, if you get ones with a small thread count, they might not be as comfortable. You’ll feel hot sleeping in them and they can pill after a while. However, as long as you buy sheets that have a higher thread count than 200, I’m sure you’re going to be happy with them for a while.