Tencel vs. Cotton Sheets

Posted by Minh Ha on

Tencel and cotton sheets are both natural materials prized for their breathability, durability, and softness. Since the two share notable similarities, deciding between them can be tricky. We’ll highlight some of the biggest differences to help you choose.

While both Tencel and cotton sheets tend to be durable, cotton sheets usually have easier care instructions. Tencel sheets may be damaged by high heat, so washing them in hot water, tossing them in the dryer, or ironing them could affect their longevity.

Tencel may appeal to eco-conscious shoppers. Wood pulp is typically considered sustainable, and Lenzing has implemented protocols to make processing more environmentally-friendly by reusing chemical solvents. While cotton is a natural material and it can be processed without chemical solvents, cultivating the crop usually uses pesticides and a significant amount of water.

Most Tencel sheets have a silky smooth feel, which is somewhat similar to the feel of sateen cotton sheets. Since cotton sheets are more readily available in different weaves, however, shoppers may have a broader selection when shopping for cotton sheets.

Category Tencel Sheets Cotton Sheets
Durability If cared for correctly, Tencel is typically very durable and resists signs of wear, like thinning. Cotton sheets are usually quite durable. They are also prone to getting softer with additional washings, so they may become more comfortable as time goes on.
Comfort & Feel Tencel sheets usually have a silky smooth feel. They are not especially prone to wrinkles, further enhancing the smoothness. Most cotton sheets have a fairly smooth feel, but this can vary based on their weave. Sateen tends to be silky, percale is usually crisp, twill is typically a bit coarser, and jersey is generally very soft.
Cost While Tencel sheets are not as expensive as most Egyptian cotton sets, they tend to be higher in price than many other options. Cotton sheets come in many different price points depending largely on the type of cotton. Regular cotton sheets can be very budget-friendly, starting at under $50. Luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets can set you back over $500.
Temperature Neutrality Since Tencel is both absorptive and breathable, it excels in temperature regulation. Cotton sheets are typically moisture-wicking and breathable. However, these traits vary between weaves. Percale is usually the most temperature-regulating weave for cotton sheets.
Cleaning & Care Tencel sheets are durable, but they may not last if cared for incorrectly, so it is important to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Most sets can be washed in a machine with cold water on the gentle cycle. High temperatures should be avoided. Cotton sheets are usually machine washable and dryable in accordance with the instructions on the care label. Laundering usually makes cotton sheets softer, so they may get more and more comfortable. Most cotton sheets can also withstand heat, so owners may be able to iron them as needed.


Our Verdict

Tencel and cotton sheets have distinct advantages, so the choice isn’t easy.

If you’re prone to overheating and sweating during the night, you may prefer Tencel for its exceptional temperature regulation. However, if you like a crisper feel, percale cotton sheets tend to be nearly as breathable and moisture-wicking while having a bit more structure.

You may prefer Tencel sheets if:

  • You tend to sleep hot
  • You like the look and feel of silky, drapey sheets
  • You prefer sustainable materials

You may prefer cotton sheets if: 

  • You prefer a crisper feel
  • You like to iron your sheets
  • You want your sheets to soften over time

Need more advice on products, materials, as well as advice on bedding, please contact us immediately. Minh Ha Bedding we are proud to be the supplier of high-class 4-5 star hotel standard bedding for all customers.

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