Pros and Cons: Linen vs. Cotton Sheets

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.

Many apartment dwellers like to use cotton bedding because cotton sheets and blankets are affordable and easy to find, but they might not be your best bedding option. Some people say that linen sheets are higher-quality and worth the investment for better sleep. In reality, both linen and cotton have many advantages and disadvantages, so below, find out whether you should buy linen or cotton bedding for your apartment.

Pros of linen over cotton

Better sleep

Linen is a natural material made from the cellulose fibers of resilient flax plant stalks. They have become a top choice for bedding, especially in luxury bedrooms, due to their tightly woven construction. Additionally, higher-weight linen blankets may be significantly warmer than cotton bedding, so many people find linen sheets to be more comfortable.Pros and Cons Linen vs. Cotton Sheets

Eco-friendly

Since linen is made from a flax plant, it is one of the most sustainable fabrics you can use. Flax plants require less water to grow than other plants such as cotton, and they can also grow in lower-quality soil. Additionally, linen is biodegradable, so when you want to discard your linen sheets, you won’t create near-permanent waste.

Durable/long-lasting

Linen is more durable than cotton and can last several decades if you take good care of it. That’s because flax fibers are much stronger than cotton fibers, so linen can more easily withstand a greater number of wash cycles during its lifetime. This strength also explains why linen is also less prone than cotton to balling up.

Moisture-wicking/antimicrobial

Linen is breathable, which means it allows more moisture to pass through. Air can thus easily circulate through linen sheets, thereby keeping you cool and dry for an extended amount of time. Additionally, if you have an allergy or respiratory problems, linen is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. It can also filter allergens and help combat breathing issues while you’re sleeping.

Cons of linen over cotton

More expensive

Linen is more expensive than cotton because of how it’s produced. The process of accessing the cellulose fibers inside the flax plant’s stems takes longer than picking cotton. Additionally, since linen is not stretchy, it needs to be carefully prepared during production, as the looms often used during production can exert a large amount of tension on the fabric. 

Rough initial feel

Although linen can last many years and gets softer with time, cotton is usually softer immediately out of the box. Additionally, cotton initially feels smoother than linen because cotton can be woven into fabrics of higher thread count.

Not as many patterns

Linen does not offer as many patterns and colors in comparison to cotton. If you go with linen sheets, you may find a limited number of bedding options that adequately match your bedroom’s aesthetic.

Easy wrinkling

Linen and cotton can both be wrinkly, but linen wrinkles more easily than cotton. That said, some people iron their linens if they prefer smooth-looking sheets. Of course, this ironing means that keeping linen sheets looking wrinkle-free is more work than with cotton bedding. 

Do you prefer linen or cotton bedding? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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