Cotton vs Microfiber Bedding: Which sheets & comforters are better?

Written by the Beckham Hotel Collection team


What dresses your bed is almost as important to your sleep health as the mattress you lay on. How do you choose what type of sheets and pillowcases are right for your bed? From bed sheets to comforters, learn about microfiber bedding and how it compares to cotton or linen sheet sets!

microfiber vs cotton bedding

What is microfiber bedding?

Microfiber is a polyester and polyamide fabric. Polyamide is a fancy word for nylon. The fibers are broken into thin strands that dry fast. Combined with the polyester, you have a versatile cloth that is resilient, soft, and absorbent.

The softness and durability ensure the great feel and long-lasting life of the sheet sets. The material ensures that moisture is quickly wicked away and dried then easily cleaned!

Do microfiber sheets pill?

Microfiber is highly durable and resists pilling more than its counterpart does. Proper care and maintenance will further reduce the occurrence of your sheets pilling.

Is microfiber bedding environmentally friendly?

As a conscious consumer, it's important to know the environmental impact—and more—of the products you use. Microfiber is a low-cost synthetic bedding type compared to cotton. The process of creating microfiber can output fumes into the world. Cotton may be natural, but it is not always sourced ethically.

What is a good thread count for microfiber sheets?

A good thread count for microfiber sheets is between 200 and 800. However, thread count is not as great of a quality indicator for microfiber sheets as it might be for cotton sheets. Microfiber materials will often have a GMS (grams per square meter) number; the higher the GSM, the more durable the material is.

How to wash and dry microfiber bedding

Caring for your microfiber bedding properly will increase its life and even increase its comfort. Follow these steps for your microfiber sheets and comforters:

  1. Wash the microfiber items separately from other items, especially cotton.
  2. Toss the sheets into the washer with a mild detergent.
  3. Use warm to hot water and a bedding cycle to wash.
  4. Do not use fabric softener or bleach! Softener clogs the pores in the materials reducing breathability. Bleach breaks down the fibers that hold the material together.
  5. Air drying is best for microfiber as it dries quickly. If you use a dryer, opt for low heat or no heat.

Types of cotton bedding

Generally, there are three types of cotton materials used to make cotton sheets.

  • Egyptian Cotton: This type of cotton is considered the best because it has a soft, gentle, and cooling feel. However, Egyptian cotton requires extra care when it comes to cleaning.
  • Pima Cotton: Pima cotton is the second best type of material and is pretty soft. Compared to Egyptian cotton, however, Pima cotton is a little rougher.
  • American Upland Cotton: Sheets that are labeled as “100% cotton” are usually of this type. Compared to Egyptian and Pima cotton, American upland cotton is rougher.

When it comes to cotton bedding, softness and durability will come down to not just the source fabric but also the weave pattern and thread count.


Microfiber vs cotton bedding

Why choose microfiber over cotton? The differences in the bedding materials can be felt and seen after just a few nights on each. Cotton and microfiber differ by:

  • Construction: Cotton is made from a renewable resource while microfiber is synthetic. Both are woven from threads with the weave tighter in microfiber.
  • Feel: Cotton is soft, but over time it pills and wears losing its silky softness. Microfiber remains soft and reduces pilling, becoming softer with each wash.
  • Dryness: Cotton tends to soak up the moisture and retain it, creating a musty odor and increasing staining. Microfiber resists moisture reducing the likelihood of creating stains and smells.
  • Cost: Higher quality Egyptian cotton increases in price with thread count making the necessary sheet set a luxury. Microfiber has a lower cost so that even higher thread counts are affordable for everyone.

Cotton is considered more environmentally friendly, but microfiber helps reduce the occurrence of uncomfortable nights, ill-fitting sheets, and tears or fading that forces you to replace your cotton sheets often. You'll undoubtedly go through less microfiber sheets (when properly cared for) than cotton in your lifetime. There are even more options to consider like cotton vs bamboo sheets.

Why choose microfiber over cotton?

Microfiber provides ample benefits to help improve your sleep and help you wake up rested. If you're thinking of switching to microfiber bedding but are unsure, there are several benefits to using microfiber in the bedroom. These include:

  • Hypoallergenic qualities ensure that dust and other allergens do not collect or pass through the tightly woven material. This helps prevent you from laying down in the middle of a cloud of allergens that are bound to keep you up sneezing at night.
  • Microfiber is less likely to stain because of the taunt structure. Moisture that gets spilled on the sheets initially bead instead of soak in. If the moisture is wiped quickly away it will not be able to pass through the material greatly reducing the likelihood of staining.
  • The durability of microfiber increases because of the synthetic construction and the tautness of the weave. They may last up to twice as long as your current favorite sheet set did!
  • Softness is the key to comfort in bed. Microfiber provides a smooth and soft covering that doesn't shift as much during sleep, reducing the unsightly wrinkles.
  • Microfiber's increased breathability helps to reduce the sweating and uncomfortable heat that cotton sheets can produce. Slip into a cooler bed during the heat of summer.
  • Bedding that is easy to care for is essential to a healthy and happy home. No one wants to spend extra time scrubbing their sheets. Microfiber keeps its shape even after several washes.
  • Microfiber bedding is often less expensive than cotton and silk because of the manufacturing process. Higher quality cotton and silks require special care increasing the cost.

How to pick the right sheets and pillowcases for your bed

Choosing the right sheets and pillowcases for your bed is a very personal choice. Seasonal changes may affect which material you would prefer.

Microfiber bedding helps keep warmth in your bed, making the material perfect to be your winter comforter. Cotton is usually hot in summer and winter which reduces its seasonal use. Silk remains cool in the summer but stays cold in the winter. You may even prefer to have a different sheet and pillow case material than your comforter!

Beckham Hotel Collection has it all to provide you a 5-star sleeping experience.