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Cotton vs. Microfiber Sheets

Cotton vs. Microfiber Sheets

At a Glance

The best cotton sheets are some of the most durable and comfortable you’ll ever find. However, they require a bit more care and storage space than microfiber sheets, which also tend to cost less.

Sheets are a necessity for every bedroom in the home. If you’re in the market for a new set of sheets, you are probably looking for the material that presents the best possible combination of price and quality. When you shop for sheets in stores and online, cotton and microfiber are the two materials you’re likely to see most often. Microfiber is a term that is used to describe synthetic fibers that are woven finely to give utmost comfort at night. How thick a microfiber is happens to be known as dernier and the thickness is characterized by a high dernier count. However, a sheet’s dernier must be lower than 1 dernier for it to qualify as microfiber. In the cotton vs. microfiber sheets debate, cotton is among the oldest and most popular sheets and as the name suggests, it is made of cotton, frequently from Egypt. The longer the cotton staples, or fibers, the more comfortable the sheet and the best cotton sheets are those that have a higher thread count.


Microfiber sheets tend to have a smooth feel comparable to that of satin. At the lower end of the price scale, microfiber sheets can also be extremely thin, which may contribute to increased comfort during the hotter months. If you prefer smooth, “slippery” sheets, microfiber is definitely a material to consider. If you prefer crisp sheets such as the ones you’d find in a good hotel, cotton sheets are probably the only ones you’ll find acceptable. High-quality cotton sheets have a pleasant crispness — especially if you iron them after washing — that slowly gives way to a comforting softness throughout the night.


The highest-quality microfiber and cotton sheets can both be incredibly durable. Although individual microfiber threads aren’t particularly strong, the combined strength can be remarkable when the threads are woven closely together. However, it’s wise to avoid microfiber sheets if you’re looking for something with a low price point; after a few months of use, it’s common to remove a microfiber sheet from the washer or dryer only to find a giant tear in the middle. Likewise, you should look at a set of cotton sheets with a very high thread count and a very low price with a bit of suspicion. Low-quality cotton sheets tend to peel and become less comfortable over time. High-quality cotton sheets only become more comfortable as time goes by, increasing in suppleness with each washing.

Care and Storage

When you invest in a high-quality set of cotton sheets, you might be surprised the first time you pull them out of the dryer; they’re likely to still be wet. Some owners of cotton sheets find that they have to wash the flat and fitted sheets separately, essentially doubling the cost of laundering them. In addition, cotton sheets can be remarkably thick, requiring significant storage space in the linen closet. Microfiber sheets, on the other hand, are generally very thin. You’ll never have trouble getting them dry, and they’ll consume almost no storage space. If you’re looking for a set of sheets for occasional or guest room use, microfiber sheets may be the perfect choice.