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Microfiber vs Cotton Sheets: what’s the differences?
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Microfiber vs Cotton Sheets: what’s the differences?

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When you consider the fact that you sleep about one-third of your life, you start to realize that picking the right bedding is as important as choosing the right mattress.

Your sheets, including the material they are made of, are a big part of living a happy and healthy life. They need to be durable, comfy and warm or cool enough depending on the season and your preferences.

But, what’s the difference between microfiber and cotton, you might be wondering. 

Well, in this article, our mattress specialist at Polysleep, tells you about microfiber vs cotton sheets, the pros, the cons and which one is worth your money. Check this out!

What is microfiber?

Top view of white sheets and pillows


Microfiber is exactly as the name sounds-- microfibers! Mini! Fun size! This fabric is composed of many mini fibers woven together into a sheet with extremely thin, light thickness. 

The thickness of microfiber is typically as small as 1 denier wide. 

What are microfiber sheets made of? 

Polyester, nylon polymers, and wood pulp are some examples of fibers used in this synthetic material. 

Benefit of using microfiber sheets

Microfiber is lightweight, so it is well-suited to prevent overheating at nighttime. If you live somewhere hot or feel hot and sweaty when you sleep, this light fabric could be for you. 

Microfiber also has the benefit of durability, due to its extremely tight woven fabric and the fact that many of its fabrics are strong. 

It is thin and lightweight, but mighty! This makes it easily machine-washable

Finally, it is less prone to wrinkles and crinkles, and damage than cotton or linen, since it is made of synthetic materials.

Stay cool with our cooling mattress topper!

Woman sleeping on Polysleep refreshing mattress

Cons of microfiber sheets

However, it is important to note that the microfiber durability and temperature-regulating abilities will still depend on its thread count

Extremely tightly woven high thread count microfiber sheets will be much more durable than low thread count microfiber sheets. 

Additionally, microfiber can obtain and hold stains due to its absorbance ability, making removing stains difficult. The synthetic fabric is also more likely to generate static than cotton or linen.

What is cotton?

Side view of a bed with its white pillows


Cotton is a natural, sometimes organic, fabric made directly from cotton plants. Sometimes cotton is available as 100% pure cotton and other times it is mixed with other fabrics, like polyester, to make a cotton blend. 

This natural material is extremely soft, but its softness depends on fiber length. 

  • Extra-long fibers, like in Egyptian cotton, are the most high-end and expensive
  • Pima cotton is mid-length and mid-cost
  • Upland cotton is the most affordable and shortest, making for slightly coarse cotton.

Cotton sheets are woven or knitted together. 

Benefit of cotton sheets

Cotton is already very soft and it gets softer each time it is run through the washing machine. 

Cotton is a natural option and can often be organic and more environmentally-friendly than synthetic options. 

It is also very well-established in the sheets and bedding industry, so there are many options for cotton sheets on the market

It is widely regarded as cool and breathable

Finally, its natural plant-derived nature can be beneficial for people with allergies

Cons of cotton sheets

Cotton is typically more expensive than synthetic options since it can cost money to harvest the natural plant. 

Furthermore, because cotton is natural, it is not as durable as synthetic options

While washing can make the fabric softer, washing can also lead to wrinkles and shrinkage of cotton sheets.

Linen vs Cotton sheets: which one to choose?

Microfiber vs cotton sheets: what’s the difference?

Young woman sitting in bed looking towards daylight window

The difference between microfiber and cotton can be difficult to distinguish from the untrained eye. 

However, now that you have background knowledge, you can be a master at understanding key variations between these sheets:

Microfiber is measured in grams per square meter (GSM) and is typically around 90-120 GSM. Cotton is often a 200-400 thread count, perhaps with a high end of 600 thread count. 

Microfiber is lightweight, slippery, and thin, but might get scrunched up during the night if you toss and turn. Cotton feels clean, cool, and soft. 

While microfiber is absorbent and lightweight, its fibers can trap more heat than cotton fibers.

When assessing microfiber vs cotton sheets, it is important to note that microfiber can be more durable and long-lasting than cotton after multiple washes in a washing machine. However, cotton still has the benefit of becoming softer as its fibers break down. 

Cotton is all-natural and less likely to contain toxins or trigger allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin. 

Cotton is undeniably more eco-friendly, since it is made naturally instead of synthetically. However, organic cotton is a better choice for the environment. 

Cotton tends to be more expensive than microfiber, but all of these sheets’ prices are dependent on thread count as the most contributory factor to cost. 

Finally, washing microfiber vs cotton sheets is an important factor. Microfiber is easier to clean and more long-lasting, but it is difficult to get rid of stains. Cotton is not difficult to clean, but it is prone to shrinkage and breakdown.

What's better: microfiber or cotton sheets?

A breakfast tray in bed

Most people grew up using cotton sheets or with a greater knowledge of cotton sheets than microfiber sheets. However, now you might be wondering: is microfiber better than cotton? Or is cotton better than microfiber?

Both microfiber and cotton sheets last about 2-3 years. 

Microfiber is durable and easy to wash, with the exception of staining. It is also more affordable than cotton, typically around $15 or more instead of $50 or more for cotton sheets. 

Cotton is more prone to wrinkling and pills, but it can also be organic. It is natural, and softer than microfiber. Cotton is also more well-suited for people who have skin allergies

At the end of the day, microfiber vs cotton sheets is a decision that you will make based on your own personal preferences for sleep comfort. 

Bamboo vs cotton sheets: 101 guide

Polysleep answers some of your questions

Yes, sometimes microfiber sheets can trap heat and become warmer than cotton sheets. However, they are also fairly absorbent, so they can absorb sweat.

Microfiber sheets can be of good quality, especially with a high thread count! They are also very durable and affordable. 

Microfiber sheets are better-suited for colder climates or people who feel chilly at night. But their slippery texture can sometimes act cooling and absorbent. 

As mentioned above, microfiber is made of a mix of strong fibers. Most often microfiber is made from a mix of synthetic fibers, like polymers, polyester, and even wood pulp. 

Learn more about cooling mattress pads

Folded corner of the Polysleep mattress protector on the Polysleep mattress topper

Sheets matter. Everyone should be aware of how their bedding affects their quality of life! That is why Polysleep wants to create a community of support and education. 

At Polysleep, we make designing products for better sleep our priority. 

This antimicrobial topper can work hand-in-hand with your cotton or microfiber sheets to absorb body heat when your body is hot, and release heat when your body is cold.

Our products are specially designed to keep you cool, comfortable, and happy all year long for all 2,555 to 4,015 hours of your nights!

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