Linen vs Cotton: the facts

The great debate is cotton versus linen, and which one affords a better night’s sleep. Both sides have die-hard fans that will rally till the end, but for us there is no right or wrong answer. The decision always ends with personal preferences and lifestyle. The way linen and cotton washes, looks, and feels are completely different, so the three pillars to consider when purchasing your next set of sheets are care, style, and comfort. Here are a handful of facts that will guide you to your most suitable sleeping experience. 

Linen 

Facts on Comfort

  • A product of the flaxseed plant, linen is one of the world’s oldest and coveted textiles because of its pillowing softness--a softness provided by the way the fabric is woven. We use a fine, European open weave not only assists in the softness of your sheet but also how it reacts with your body.
  • Linen is the most thermodynamic fabric which simply means it balances the temperature as your body heat fluctuates. As a hollow fibre, linen keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I am about to use everyone’s favourite buzz word, but the importance of this is that linen sheets are trans-seasonal! 
  • Linen yields and absorbs moisture for all of those sweaty sleepers & if you are sensitive to allergies, linen is non-allergenic--both beneficial to your good night’s sleep! No hot discomfort or allergy flare-ups or reactions during the night. 

Facts on Style 

  • This can be the kicker for people who like the perfect, finished look, but linen’s natural state is wrinkled. I personally love the messy look (less effort haha) but if you have OCD this is not the sheet for you! 
  • Similar to the way it wrinkles, the actual weave of the sheet is perfectly irregular (not flawlessly smooth like cotton sateen).
  • Lacks lustre and shine, but it does give heaps of texture. 

Facts on Care

  • Linen gives us so much! And one of its best character traits is its ability to get softer as you wash it. With every wash, the fibres break down a little bit more. However, this incremental movement requires responsible washing. For longevity, linen requires a gentle wash at 30 degrees, preferably with a plant-based cleaning agent. 
  • Linen naturally pills. It's just the name of the game, but because of the pilling, it is not tumble-dryable. One round in the dryer and you will lose heaps of fluff and lifetime. Compared to cotton, linen requires a bit more TLC, but if your lifestyle can’t make the time, this is something to consider. 
  • P.S. you can iron linen if that is your prerogative (haha)

Cotton 

Facts on Comfort 

  •  Regardless of whether you enjoy cotton sateen or cotton percale, both weaves are perfectly smooth, offering a different kind of softness than linen. Like the underside of your pillow, cotton is cool to the touch. 
  • Unlike linen, cotton is less thermodynamic, so some super hot sleepers may feel a bit stuffy under their sheets. 
  • Cotton sateen is silky smooth & cotton percale is crisp + smooth

Facts on Style

  • Good News! Cotton is wrinkle-resistant for those who want a clean, fresh look. It will lay seamlessly unlike linen. 
  • If you want the best of both worlds, cotton percale matches well with linen too! 
  • Cotton sateen has a gorgeous lustre and shines finish while cotton percale is soft and matte. 

Facts on Care 

  • Like linen, I recommend washing them on a gentle cycle at 30 degrees using a plant-based detergent. If you fall in love with cotton percale, you can pop them in the dryer! Their one over one weave can handle a tumble dry; however, cotton sateen will start to pill with the excess heat from your cycle--not tumble dry friendly. 
  • It is important to note that regardless of thread count, these care suggestions remain the same. 

These facts serve as a good baseline for those exploring new options! I hope this was helpful, and we are always here if you need more guidance on your next set of sheets.

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