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Linen vs. Cotton Sheets - What is the best material for bed sheets?

There’s a lot that goes into setting up bedrooms. From paint to little pieces of decor, we pay attention to every detail, and when you have everything in place, there’s usually one final thing that needs to be added before the bedroom is all done - bed sheets. 

Buying bed sheets may seem like an easy task. A nice looking bed sheet may allure you, but the look of a bed sheet is the last thing you should factor in; the first being the material. 

Bed sheets are mostly made of linen and cotton. Both are great, but choosing between the two can be difficult for many people. Let’s go over the difference between cotton and linen to help you make a good choice. 

What Are Linen Sheets?

When it comes to bed sheets, the first word that pops into most people’s minds is ‘linen.’ The common questions that people ask include “Are linen sheets comfortable?” and “Are linen sheets better than cotton?

Linen and bed sheets go hand in hand, so much so that most people use the word linen to refer to bed sheets. And they’re undoubtedly comfortable and high quality, which is why most people prefer linen over other materials. 


Linen is a fabric made out of the fibers of a flax plant. It’s built into different thread counts, with a soft and cozy texture. The lived-in type of fabric can add a homey feel to any room! One of the best parts of Or & Zon linen bed sheets is that they’re very eco-friendly. Almost all of the flax plant is used in the manufacturing process, with no residue left behind.

Linen Sheet Types

100% flax linen bed sheets: These are the strongest, most durable bed sheets in the markets.

Linen blends: Since 100% pure fabric can run a little expensive, some brands may blend them with other materials to reduce costs. The higher the percentage of flax, the better the linens.


Irish linen: Having origins in Ireland, this sheet is made of Irish linen fibers extracted from flax plants or spun from yarn.

Pros and Cons of Linen Sheets

When you’re considering to buy linen sheets, there are a few pros and cons you need to keep in mind:

Pros of Linen Sheets

  • Hypoallergenic: A lot of people have skin allergies; these can get worse if the fabric they come into contact with is too harsh against the skin or has too many chemicals. Linens are made entirely out of plants and are super soft, making it perfect for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
  • Durable: Linen bed sheets are made from thick threads woven together. This gives the sheets impeccable strength. They’re very soft when you first buy them, and the more you use them, the softer they become. 
  • Easy to wash: Unlike most fabrics that require extra care during washing, linens are easy to wash. They’re machine washable, and these high-quality sheets get better and softer with every wash. No matter how you choose to wash them, linen bed sheets will retain their shape, and the color will not fade.
  • Quick-drying: Since linens take moisture away, it makes them one of the quickest drying fabrics out there. You can wash the sheets and have them back on the bed the same day.

Temperature regulating: Or & Zon Stonewashed linen sheets are made to give them a natural ability to regulate temperature. In the summertime, they pull heat and moisture away from the body, whereas, during the winter, they can trap heat in. You can rest assured that they’ll keep you cool on hot nights and warm on cold nights.

Cons of Linen Sheets

  • Expensive: Linen bed sheets are expensive and for good reason. The benefits of linen sheets, as explained above, make them more pricey. The good news is that unlike most other fabrics, linen sheets can last for many years.  
  • Limited options: Since linen is an expensive, natural fabric, the sheets usually come in limited colors, and most of them are typically solid. 

What are Cotton Sheets?

Like linen, cotton fibers come from a plant. But unlike linen, cotton is produced in abundance and is the most widely used fabric in clothing today. If something is off the peg, it’s at least partially cotton. 

Cotton sheets come in a variety of types. Based on their thread count, the weave, and the blends, they can be expensive or cheap. 

Cotton Sheet Types

Egyptian cotton sheets: These are usually the more luxurious cotton sheets, with the extra-long staple and long staple cotton being the best ones. A shorter staple means the fabric will not last long.

Pima cotton: Pima is similar to Egyptian cotton, but it’s usually made from plants grown in the United States and South America.

Regular cotton: Also called “upland cotton,” regular cotton is the typical cotton used to manufacture bed sheets. It is the cheapest among all the cotton types out there.

Pros and Cons of Cotton Sheets

Knowing the pros and cons of cotton sheets can help make a good decision when shopping for bed sheets

Wrinkly: Linens are meant to give off a homey feel. This includes the fact that they’re naturally wrinkly. You can iron them to straighten them out, but they’ll eventually wrinkle back up anyway.

Pros of Cotton Sheets

  • Breathable: Cotton is a naturally breathable fabric. The purer the cotton, the more breathable the bed sheet. Cotton sheets also have temperature regulating features but not as much as linen. 
  • A lot of options: Cotton bedsheets not only come in a variety of colors and designs, but they’re also available in an array of blends and thread counts. Many people prefer a medium thread count, while others prefer high thread count. With cotton sheets, you can find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Durable: While it depends on the quality of the cotton used, most cotton bedsheets are reasonably durable and won’t rip with minimal use. Even if they do, they’re pretty inexpensive to replace.

Cons of Cotton Sheets

  • Shrinks: Most cotton bed sheets aren’t washed before they’re shipped. As such, you should expect them to shrink and lose their shape after the first wash. If they shrink enough, they might not fit your bed.
  • Pills easily: Cotton is pretty durable, but the cheaper options tend to wear just after a few washes. This ruins their feel, leading many people to toss them aside quickly.

Could cause allergies: Many cotton sheets are very cheap. At first, their color and vibrance might look appealing, but to get there, they usually go through a lot of bleaching and chemical processes. The chemicals can stick to the fabric, and since they’re generally not washed before being packed, the lingering chemicals can end up causing skin reactions for people with sensitive skin.

How do Linen and Cotton Compare?

Although the linen vs cotton sheets debate is as old as time, the two are made for entirely different groups of people. If you’re looking for bed sheets that are comfortable enough and won’t break the bank, cotton might be a good choice. Cotton sheets have the breathability feature that everyone wants. Also, you get many color, design, quality, and budget options. These are also suitable for people who don’t like more wrinkles in their bed sheets

Linen bed sheets are perfect if you’re looking for something hypoallergenic, durable, easy to care for, and temperature regulating. You can use these sheets year-round. Since they’ll last you at least a few years even if you wash them regularly, cotton sheets are worth your every penny. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what plant a bedsheet is made of or how luxurious it is but your preference and comfort. Some people prefer cotton, while others just can’t sleep without linen bed sheets. However, before buying a linen or cotton bed sheet set, be sure to keep their pros and cons in mind.

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