Even if you barely give it a thought on a daily basis, the bedding you choose can make a significant difference to the quality of your sleep, as well as to your bedroom decor. Two hugely popular choices, when it comes to bedsheets, are Egyptian cotton and bamboo.
Because they look alike, and are often similarly priced, many people get confused when comparing the two. How can a grass perhaps best known for being the staple of a panda bear’s diet – bamboo – also make a great bedsheet? What is different about Egyptian cotton when compared to other types of cotton that seem to make it so sought after? And which is the better choice, bamboo sheets or Egyptian cotton?
These, and other questions, are what we are going to take a closer look at here.
You’ll love BAMBOO SHEETS if you:
- Want to sleep cool
- Want chemical-free sheets
- Are looking for a softer material to sleep on
- Are looking for durability in your bed sheets
- Have sensitive skin and skin allergies
You’ll love EGYPTIAN COTTON SHEETS if you:
- Are looking for breathable sheets
- Are looking for quality sheets
- Want silky soft sheets
- Want wrinkle-resistant sheets
Bamboo vs. Egyptian Cotton Sheets (Pros and Cons)
What is Bamboo?
Bamboo is a thick, sturdy grass that is native to Southeast Asia. Many people often mistakenly believe it is a wood, as a bamboo plant looks very much like a tree, and as a natural material bamboo is exceptionally strong. It is a grass though – a member of the Poaceae grass family – and as such is far more eco-friendly for widespread use, as a bamboo plant will begin rapidly regrowing as soon as it is cut.
Bamboo has lots of uses, other than for feeding cute panda bears. It is used to craft sturdy flooring, all kinds of furniture, wall coverings, and when woven into a fabric clothing, towels, and bedsheets.
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Bamboo Sheets: 5 Pros and 3 Cons
Bamboo sheets have become increasingly popular in the West over the last several decades. But, like any other type of bedding they do have their pros and cons:
Bamboo Sheet Pros
Excellent Thermoregulation Properties: In simpler terms, bamboo sheets sleep cool naturally. For those who tend to ‘sleep hot’ bamboo sheets are often the absolute best choice they can make to stay cool all night long.
Exceptionally Soft: Bamboo sheets are as soft as higher thread count cotton sheets but often cost less.
Moisture Wicking: On a very hot night even the coolest sheets may not be able to keep you sweat free. Bamboo’s natural moisture wicking properties will help keep ‘sleep sweat’ at bay though.
Naturally Hypoallergenic and Anti-Microbial: The natural anti-microbial properties bamboo has been prized for centuries is not lost when the grass becomes a fabric. Bamboo sheets are hypoallergenic too, so there is nothing to make you sneeze.
Durable: In some parts of the world bamboo is used to make scaffolding, something that can give you an idea of just how strong it is! Bamboo sheets are, therefore, exceptionally durable, and a single set can last for years.
Bamboo Sheet Cons
Harder to Find: Although they are becoming more and more popular it can be hard to find bamboo sheets in bricks and mortar bedding stores. They are readily available online though.
A Little Harder to Care for: Bamboo bedsheets can be washed in a standard washing machine, but they should not be bleached or washed in very hot water, so may need to be washed separately from the rest of the laundry.
May Wrinkle More Easily: Bamboo sheets may wrinkle more easily than cotton sheets.
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What is Egyptian Cotton?
Egyptian cotton is, as the name suggests, cotton grown in Egypt. What makes this cotton special is that thanks to the unique weather and soil conditions there the cotton grows as a long staple cotton, which means that the plant’s fibers are unusually long, up to 2 inches. This means that fabric woven using Egyptian cotton boasts some very impressive advantages. Including the fact that the resulting cloth is stronger, softer, and cooler than that woven from some other cottons.
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Egyptian Cotton Sheets: 4 Pros and 3 Cons
Egyptian cotton sheets do offer several advantages over many other bedsheet choices. And come with a handful of disadvantages built in. Here’s a look at some of them.
Egyptian Cotton Pros
Breathable: The longer threads Egyptian cotton boasts create a bedsheet that is breathable, and thus considerably cooler to sleep under.
Silky Soft: New Egyptian cotton sheets are incredibly soft out of the package and get softer the more they are laundered. They also have a silky sheen that not only looks good but feels good too.
Durable: There is a reason lots of hotels make use of Egyptian cotton sheets: they are durable, and they are easy to wash. They can be bleached and, as long as the right detergent is used, hold their pristine colors – or whiteness – longer.
Wrinkle Resistant: Cotton is reasonably wrinkle resistant and that property is amplified in Egyptian cotton bedding. If you want to ensure that your bed looks smooth and very well put together then Egyptian cotton bedsheets are an excellent choice for achieving that look.
Egyptian Cotton Cons
Not All Egyptian Cotton Sheets Are Created Equal: To be labelled as such the cotton used in Egyptian cotton bedsheets simply must have been grown there. But not all Egyptian cotton plants are created equal, and a poor-quality cotton plant can lead to a poorer quality sheet.
Expensive: Higher thread count Egyptian cotton bedsheets are usually more expensive than many alternatives.
May Be Very Stiff at First: As it softens as it is washed Egyptian cotton can feel rather coarse and stiff at first.
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The Comparison: Bamboo vs Egyptian Cotton Sheets
As you can now see, both Egyptian cotton and bamboo are used to create some great bedsheets. But which is the better choice?
Verdict: It is fair to say that it is almost a tie. Both sheet types are cool sleeping. Bamboo does tend to sleep a little cooler though, so, for hot sleepers especially, may have the edge here.
Verdict: If cared for properly, both higher thread count – 400 or above – Egyptian cotton and bamboo sheets with a thread count of 200 or more – are very durable and can last for a decade or more. This does mean that the larger investment you are likely to make in them initially over other, less expensive choices, will pay off in time. On this issue, the two options are really tied.
Ease of Care
Verdict: In some ways Egyptian cotton bedsheets have the edge here as they are wrinkle resistant and can be safely used with a color safe bleach and fabric softeners, which bamboo sheets really should not. Some bamboo sheets, if not put on the bed as soon as they are taken out of the dryer may need ironing before they go on the bed, something that Egyptian cotton bedding will rarely need.
Moisture Wicking Properties
Verdict: Egyptian cotton sheets do have some natural moisture wicking properties, but bamboo sheets usually perform a lot better here, so for ‘sweaty sleepers’ will be an excellent choice to keep them drier at night.
Antibacterial and Hypoallergenic Properties
Verdict: Bamboo is prized in this area because it has natural antimicrobial properties and resists dust very well. This means that if you have indoor allergies those annoying dust mites cannot cling to your bedsheets and lead to a sneezing fit in the middle of the night.
Verdict: High quality Egyptian cotton sheets – as mentioned earlier, defined as those with a thread count of 400 or more – are not cheap. Superior quality bamboo sheets are not either, at least compared with some other options. Bamboo plants are more consistent though, reducing the chance that a bad plant will lead to an inferior bedsheet.
So, Which is Better, Egyptian Cotton or Bamboo?
Both types of bedsheet really are excellent choices – Egyptian cotton is probably the best choice for most sleepers – they offer cooling properties, durability, and a very stylish look. For hot sleepers bamboo bedsheets have the edge for sure, but, for everyone else the choice between Egyptian cotton and bamboo bedsheets really is a matter of personal preference.