Our Guide to Different Sheet Fabrics
Looking for new bedsheets and not sure where to start? This guide is for you
With so many options out there, it can be difficult to navigate the various choices available for bed sheets. We’ve taken a moment to break down some of the different fabric choices to help you narrow down your search, while also looking at additional factors such as thread count, fabric weave, and how to find the perfect fitted sheet. From cotton fabrics, to silk, to flannel, we’ll examine the differences between these popular bed sheet materials and give some helpful recommendations along the way.
Here are some basic things to think about when choosing a bed sheet fabric:
Durability. How long will your bed sheets last before you need to think about getting new ones?
Comfort. Are your bed sheets soft and comfortable for your sleeping environment?
Level of care. How difficult or easy will it be to take care of your bed sheets?
Affordability. Are you getting the most value from your bed sheets?
A brief summary of different bed sheet materials
Cotton is one of the most popular and widely available natural fibers used in fabric-making, not only for bed sheets but for a wide range of products. Cotton sheets are often durable, breathable, soft, and accessible. There are a large variety of different types of cotton sheets, usually depending on the specific strain of cotton fibers used during the manufacturing process. Cotton can often be a great choice for sensitive skin, as this natural fiber is naturally hypoallergenic. Let’s look at some of the different types of cotton sheets you may find on the market.
Egyptian cotton is probably one of the most well-known types of cotton due to its reputation for being the highest quality cotton. Egyptian cotton sheets are known for being luxurious, durable, and breathable. Egyptian cotton varies from other cotton varieties due to its extra long staples, making the fabric exceptionally soft. It’s important to follow the maintenance instructions for these sheets as they can shrink in the dryer if not properly cared for. Egyptian cotton sheets are often more expensive than standard cotton, but you can bet on getting a good night’s sleep with these luxury bed sheets.
Pima cotton, sometimes referred to as American Pima cotton, is a type of cotton that was originally grown and harvested in the southwestern United States. Similar to Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton consists of extra long fibers, meaning the quality is on par with its luxurious Egyptian cotton cousin. Soft, durable, and breathable, Pima cotton produces a great high-quality bed sheet at a slightly more economical cost than Egyptian cotton. Be sure to follow the wash instructions, as Pima cotton may also shrink in the dryer without proper care.
Upland cotton is one of the most planted species of cotton in the world and is used for many everyday cotton-based products, including bed sheets. Upland cotton is short staple cotton, meaning it has shorter fibers. While Upland cotton may not have the same luxurious reputation as Egyptian cotton or Pima cotton, this fiber produces a quality, durable, and breathable fabric. Upland cotton bed sheets, along with some types of cotton blends, are going to be the more economical cotton sheet on the market.
Jersey cotton sheets are very similar to t-shirt fabric, which is where this fiber gets its name. Jersey cotton has a soft, ribbed texture and is usually made with 100 percent cotton fibers. Jersey cotton can produce bedsheets of the finest quality due to its tight weave. These types of sheets are great for warm climates or hot sleepers.
Microfiber is a popular synthetic fiber for making bed sheets, made from tightly woven polyester. Microfiber is particularly beneficial due to its moisture-wicking properties, meaning that Microfiber sheets are often stain resistant and wrinkle-resistant. These bed sheets are an even better low-maintenance option when you take into account that they don't have the same tendency to shrink as cotton sheets. Despite microfiber fabric being made from a polyester material, microfiber sheets are softer than traditional polyester sheets due to the tight weave. Microfiber sheets are a great value as they look great, feel great, and are made of a very forgivable fabric.
Modal bed sheets are made from a semi-synthetic fiber created from wood pulp. Modal fibers go through a hefty manufacturing process, using the same polymers spinning process as rayon. Modal fibers create sheets that are soft and moisture-absorbing, however cheaper materials such as cotton produce a more breathable fabric. Tencel™ is a popular branded material name for modal fabric.
Bamboo bed sheets are made through a process of taking what is essentially bamboo pulp and converting it into a bamboo rayon fiber. Bamboo fibers tend to create a soft and durable fabric and are a great hypoallergenic option, especially if you struggle with dust mites. While bamboo is considered by some to be a more environmentally friendly material, these bed sheets can be considered high-maintenance. Bamboo sheets tend to be more on the expensive side and while luxurious, are not quite as versatile as Egyptian cotton.
Linen is another popular material with a long history of being used for bed sheets and other items. Linen is a material created from the flax plant. This makes linen, like cotton, a natural fiber. Similar to microfiber and cotton sheets, linen sheets are moisture-wicking and can help keep you cool in the summer months. Even though linen sheets can require more care (they are more prone to wrinkling or shrinkage due to being made from natural fiber), they are a very comfortable sheet option that is especially great for warmer seasons or climates.
It’s no secret that silk is considered one of the most luxurious fibers and silk sheets have a reputation for being soft. In terms of bed sheet materials, silk fabrics are known for being high-quality and very comfortable. Especially compared to linen sheets, silk sheets are highly wrinkle-resistant. Along with cotton and bamboo, silk is also a hypoallergenic option, as well as moisture absorbing. That said, silk sheets require extremely delicate care and are not a great option if you need a more durable sheet that can go in the washing machine. Additionally, silk sheets are some of the most expensive you will find on the market.
Flannel is a material that can be made out of a variety of fibers: cotton, wool, or synthetic. Flannel fabrics are probably most well known for their winter use. A flannel bed sheet traps body heat and keeps you extremely warm even during the coldest months. Flannel sheets are easy to care for, are machine-washable, and are less prone to shrinkage. Flannel is also a material that does not wrinkle easily and does not generally require ironing. Flannel sheets are super soft, extremely durable, and affordable. Flannel sheets might not be the best option for warmer climates or warm sleepers.
Other things to consider when choosing bed sheet fabrics
When comparing sheets there are a few other considerations to take into account, such as thread count, weave, and weight. Material alone is not the only thing to look at when thinking about the different types of bed sheets. Let’s take a look at some other things that might factor into your search for new sheets.
Thread count refers to the number of threads that are woven into one square inch of fabric. It is a common misconception that a higher thread count automatically means a softer or higher quality bed sheet. A thread count range between 200 and 800 is generally considered ideal. Anything under 200 may be considered a low thread count and could indicate a coarser feel to your fabric. Anything above 800 could be an inflated thread count and could also result in a rougher & heavier feeling bed sheet.
When looking for new bed sheets, it’s important to look at more factors than just thread count. Oftentimes, the type of fiber used in bed sheet materials is as much of an indicator, if not more, of comfort and quality. That’s not to say thread count doesn’t matter at all. It’s still good to aim for a higher thread count than 200, especially if softness is an important factor. Keep in mind that an extremely high thread count might not indicate better quality.
Ply and Weave
In addition to thread count, ply and weave are additional details to look at when examining bed sheet fabrics. In terms of bed sheets, ply is used to describe the number of fibers that are used to create one thread. Sheets that are one ply, or single ply, utilize threads that only have one fiber. Two ply sheets utilize threads that have two fibers wrapped together to create a stronger, thicker thread. Double ply refers to a thread with several fibers wrapped together, creating an even thicker thread.
Two ply sheets are usually a good bet for your bed sheets. These threads end up being a little more sturdy than a single ply, without becoming too thick and rough as with double ply.
Weave refers to the thread pattern used to weave the horizontal and vertical threads of a fabric together. In bed sheets, common weaves include percale, twill, sateen.
A percale weave, also referred to as a plain weave, is the simplest weave type. Bed sheets with a percale weave tend to be lightweight and produce a crisp finish. This is a typical weave for cotton sheets.
A twill weave is a thicker weave. This weave tends to be wrinkle resistant, but bed sheets with a twill weave may be more prone to shrink. A twill weave fabric is often more economical.
A sateen weave uses more threads per square inch. Bed sheets using this weave tend to look and feel more luxurious than those with a plain or twill weave due to the glossy effect produced by the number of vertical threads compared to horizontal threads. Sateen weaves usually correspond to a thread count of between 300-600.
Types of bed sheets
When looking at different types of bed sheets, it’s important to consider the different types of bed sizes, mattresses, and other accessories you may have on your bed. Sheet sets usually come with three types of bed sheets: a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and pillow cases.
Fitted sheets refer to the tight, elastic bed sheet that goes over your mattress. The devil is in the details: if you have an extra thick mattress or a mattress topper, be sure you are looking at fitted sheets that will fit properly. Deep pockets on fitted sheets can be useful for getting that perfect fit -- there’s nothing worse than having your fitted sheet separate from the bed in the middle of the night!
Flat sheets refer to the bed sheet that lies between your body and quilt, blanket, or comforter. Flat sheets are often most comfortable when they are breathable, but it’s good to take into account your sleeping environment when looking at different sheets.
Pillow cases are the fabric pieces that cover your pillows. Everyone loves a soft and silky material to rest their face on at night.
At Mellanni, we have several different types of high-quality bed sheets that will leave you feeling comfortable and well rested.
Mellanni Organic Cotton
Our 100% organic cotton sheets are a gentle light-weight, breathable, and non-toxic option, perfect for those with sensitive skin.
GOTS Certified Organic Cotton
Certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), our 100% organic fabric has been thoroughly inspected in order to keep harmful toxins and synthetic chemicals from interrupting your sleeping experience.
Made from long-staple organic cotton fibers, similar to Egyptian cotton, these long lasting sheets are sure to last many seasons. Easy to care for, soft to the touch, and fade resistant, these are truly fantastic high quality bed sheets.
With over 400k positive reviews on Amazon, our flagship sheets are a luxurious option for a busy family. Beautifully designed and with exceptional quality, they’re available in many colors and prints to match your decor. Discover some of the reasons they’re such a fan favorite below.
Easy to Care For
Stain resistant, wrinkle resistant, and shrink resistant, these are the perfect bed sheets to put on any bed in the house. The exquisite high-quality look and feel makes a winning combo for these sheets.
Moisture-wicking and breathable, our popular microfiber fabric is soft to the touch and incredibly durable.
Made from 100% Jersey cotton, this sheet set feels just like your favorite t-shirt. It’s a great option for those looking for comfortable, breathable, and soft bed sheets to wake up feeling full of energy.
Fitted sheet is equipped with deep pocket elastic corners for that perfect fit every time. The jersey knit’s natural stretch helps give these sheets an extra-snug fit.
Jersey cotton is a naturally lightweight and breathable fabric, perfect for all night comfort so you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
These 100% Cotton Flannel bed sheets are the coziest of the coziest. Made with a comfortable and high-quality cotton flannel, this is a great option for cold sleepers.
Our 100% Cotton Flannel provides a warm, yet breathable sleeping environment. Durable, soft, and easy to care for, these sheets are sure to become a favorite.
Variety of Color Options
While plaid is a go-to for flannel fabrics, our selection boasts floral designs and lighter hues, as well as some of those classic cooler winter tones.
Delightfully warm yet breathable, these 100% Cotton Flannel bed sheets are an essential addition to any household.
Warm and Breathable Fabric
Flannel is well known for retaining body heat during those colder months, but these lightweight 100% cotton flannel bed sheets also provide a breathable and soft sleeping environment.
Durable, wrinkle resistant, and easy to care for, these bed sheets are a reliable mainstay and will get softer with every wash.
Wake up feeling completely refreshed with our 100% Cotton Percale bed sheets.
OEKO TEX Certified
OEKO TEX Certified so you know your bed sheets are safe for your family and have been manufactured under environmentally friendly and conscious working conditions.
Perfect for those that love a crisp, clean feel, these sheets are lightweight and extra-breathable. It feels like waking up in a cloud!
Which fabric makes the best sheets? Does thread count really matter? There are a lot of factors that go into bed sheet options and while looking for new sheets, it’s important to consider what’s right for you. Looking at material durability, comfort, type of care, and affordability can help you narrow down your bedding selection and find the best sheets for you and your family. Check out some of our favorite options from our high-quality, affordable, and luxury line of bed sheets:
For the hot sleepers who want their sheets softer with every wash: Mellanni Organic Cotton
For the low-maintenance folks who love a buttery soft feel: Mellanni Queen Sheet Set - Hotel Luxury 1800 Bedding
For those who just want to curl up in their favorite tshirt: Mellanni Queen Jersey Sheet Set
For the colder sleepers in cold climates who love to get extra cozy: Mellanni 100% Organic Cotton Flannel Sheet Set - Heavyweight
For the colder sleepers in more moderate climates: Mellanni 100% Cotton Flannel Sheet Set - Lightweight
For those sleepers who love a cool and crisp set of sheets: Mellanni 100% Cotton Bed Sheet Percale