Microfiber sheets vs. cotton, what should you get?

colorful bed sheet
Bed sheet photo by Min An from Pexel

What should you buy microfiber sheets or cotton?

Well, if you’re looking for affordable sheets choose microfiber. Pure cotton sheets tend to be more expensive than microfiber sheets.

Now, wait……                                      

Your decision making shouldn’t be that easy especially on your bedding choices.


Well, because good bedding should last you a while. Remember this is for the most important space in your house where you spend a third of your time.

So have a look at these other factors before you make the final decision. And please check the bed sheets post that includes a lot more information on sheets.

Both materials tend to be popular with buyers for different reasons.

And the reasons are:

1. Microfiber sheets and cotton compositions

Now, pure cotton is made of cotton fibers that may be long or short. The long fibers tend to make quality sheets than short ones.

microfiber sheets vs. cotton
CC microfiber sheets image courtesy of coffeechica on Flickr

You can also find cotton blend sheets that feature a combination of other natural or synthetic fibers.

The sheets include polyester fibers in most cases because of some properties that are not easily found in cotton fibers.

Microfiber, on the other hand, features recyclable plastics made into thin fibers that can be blended with nylon and other materials.

Some manufacturers call their microfiber sheets polyester, which is a synthetic fabric.

So, between the two, cotton is the eco-friendly fabric that decomposes well. Lovers of naturally made products will prefer cotton sheets to microfiber.

Verdict: Cotton is a natural fiber, while microfiber is a synthetic one. Manufacturers use both fabrics to make sleep products, but cotton is still a popular choice.

2. The bed sheets texture                              

Now, this relates to the thread count in cotton sheets as I mentioned in the sheets post.

Pure cotton sheets with long fibers tend to produce softer quality sheets when woven.

microfiber sheets vs. cotton
CC image courtesy of Fox & Thomas on Flickr

The ones made of short fibers don’t produce the best results when it comes to texture.

Quality cotton sheets are comfortable and quite good for people with skin problems. They aren’t harsh on the skin because of their natural fiber compositions.

On the other hand, most manufacturers don’t use thread count for microfiber sheets; they use the words ‘brushed microfiber’ instead.

These sheets made of very fine synthetic fibers are smoother than most cotton sheets. The good ones don’t slip and aren’t as shiny as satin sheets; they work well on most mattresses.

Verdict: Brushed microfiber bed sheets are usually softer than their cotton counterparts. But quality cotton sheets are the better choice for people with skin issues.

3. Microfiber and cotton damage resistance

The truth is both fabrics make durable sheets that can withstand a lot of pressure. Well-made quality cotton sheets work well in most weather conditions without getting damaged.

cotton bed sheet
CC cotton bed sheet image courtesy of Dreams Beds and Mattresses on Flickr

Microfiber sheets do well in average conditions, not so well in warm surroundings. But they don’t fade as fast as cotton sheets. And quality ones tend to be wrinkle resistant.

Now, if you love cotton sheets don’t fret.


Quality cotton blend sheets usually have the same properties as microfiber sheets. They don’t fade or wrinkle easily. So you can get the best of both worlds in these sheets.

Poorly made cotton and microfiber sheets can pill easily causing discomfort when in use. Pilling here refers to the formation of small ball-like knots on areas with weak weave constructions.

Verdict: Well-maintained cotton and microfiber sheets can withstand pressure and damage. But microfiber sheets don’t wrinkle or fade as easily as some cotton sheets.

Now, what about moisture absorption?

4. Moisture, Heat and Breathability properties

It is safe to say, most sheets made of natural fibers absorb and release moisture easily than synthetic ones. They are comfortable because they breathe well.

And they work for all weather conditions because they adapt to their surroundings. They become cool in warm conditions, and vice versa.

cotton sheets breathe well than microfiber
CC cotton sheets image by Fox & Thomas on Flickr

Some microfiber sheets don’t absorb moisture, so they aren’t the best choices for night sweaters. They leave you wet and hot in some cases.

I believe this is why cotton sheets are still amongst the preferred choices to date.

Verdict: Cotton sheets absorb moisture better than microfiber sheets. They work well for most weather conditions. Microfiber sheets are great for cool weather.

5. Hypoallergenic properties

Well, natural fibers such as pure cotton sheets are naturally hypoallergenic.

And this is because of the reasons I mentioned earlier, which are:

The sheets breathe well and have higher thread counts of tightly woven threads. These fibers create barriers for allergens to thrive.

This, however, doesn’t mean that you cannot get hypoallergenic microfiber sheets. Genuine manufacturers will include this property in their sheets descriptions.

Now, I may seem a little biased here because of my preference to cotton on this matter. Cotton has been around for ages, and it has always been amongst the best fabrics for bedding.

Verdict: Pure cotton bed sheets with high thread counts are naturally hypoallergenic. And so are some microfiber sheets.

6. Care and maintenance

Most manufacturers /sellers include care instructions for their sheets.

washing machine for microfiber or cotton sheets
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

The good thing is sheets made from these fabrics are machine washable, so they are easy to clean.

In most cases, you may have to use warm water for washing cotton sheets, and cold water for microfiber.

Both sheets require gentle washing and short low-heat drying cycles.

Now, cotton doesn’t work well with chlorine bleach because it yellows and weakens its fibers over time.

For your peace of mind clean both sheets a couple of times per week to keep off germs, and other elements that can spread diseases.

Verdict: Follow care instructions provided by the seller. Use gentle cycles for both fabrics. Avoid chlorine bleach on your whites.

So, now that you have read all the points, which bed sheets do you think will suit your needs?

Should you get microfiber sheets or cotton?

It is hard to choose, but I would buy cotton bed sheets because I tend to sweat a lot at night.

The prices are higher, but the pure ones are hypoallergenic and work in different weather conditions.

Now, microfiber sheets aren’t bad either because they are soft, cheaper and require low-maintenance.

Bottom line: Both sheets will give you the best results if you handle them well. Follow their care instructions to the tee. And remember cheap can become expensive sometimes.

Author: Brenda

Brenda Nadi is a proud mama, entrepreneur, and sleep blogger. She creates guides, tips, and reviews of sleep products that make comfortable environments for new buyers.

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