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When it comes to bedding, due to its poor cooling properties, I’ve broken up with cotton. But I still love its feel against my skin…
Although synthetics are perfectly acceptable, my bias is towards natural fibers, the closer to a cotton-feel the better.
Table of Contents
Lyocell, Tencel™, Eucalyptus, and Bamboo
My favorite fiber for sheets (at present) is Lyocell, which is derived from wood cellulose. It is usually marketed under the brand name Tencel™ from a company called Lenzing located in Austria. If the wood is described as “sustainably grown in Austria” the fabric most likely came from this company.
Both branded and unbranded Lyocell uses wood that is sustainably grown, such as eucalyptus or bamboo. Lyocell is manufactured using a “closed-loop” process to re-use the solvents.
The reason I love Lyocell is that it feels like a “blend” of cotton and silk, but wicks moisture away from you, cooling you down via evaporation. You don’t get that clingy wet feel that you can get with cotton.
Fabrics made of Modal, viscose, or viscose bamboo have a similar feel and cooling properties.
Sheex bed sheets review ↓
- SHEEX Arctic Aire Max Sheet Set. These sheets are made of 100% Lyocell and therefore have the moisture control and wicking ability of that fabric. They also have something additional called “SHEEX® CoolX™ Technology”.
Interestingly, they have a pronounced cool feel. They are noticeably cooler to the touch than other Lyocell sheets. Is this from the “CoolX™ Technology”? (Whatever that is…)
They feel light and have a “silky feel” halfway between cotton and real silk.
I am currently combining these with either a comforter or blanket made from either Lyocell or wool, respectively.
They are fully washable using my aggressive “everything-in-hot” laundry protocol.
- Furry friend alert. Tiny claws poke holes in this fabric. (They like this fabric too!) Fortunately, there hasn’t been any permanent damage (yet). Simply rubbing the hole with my fingernail will realign the fibers and make the hole go away.
Sheets & Giggles bed sheets review ↓
As I need several Lyocell sheet sets I’ve also purchased these:
These sheets are slightly thicker and more “cottony” in feel than the Sheex above. This lyocell is from sustainably managed Eucalyptus sourced from around the world.
As advertised, these sheets are cool and comfortable.
So far, the Sheet & Giggles sheets are more resistant to cat claws.
- Sheets & Giggles Eucalyptus Lyocell Sheet Set. “Naturally softer and more breathable than cotton, and more sustainable than bamboo.”
Unlimited return policy (within reason). No questions asked.
Use the included mailer to return your old sheets and receive 10% off your next order.
Yes, Amazon will offer FAST shipping, but only a 30-day return policy.
Eli & Elm bed sheets review ↓
I unboxed my new Eli and Elm bed sheets and immediately noticed something odd. They’re actually labeled as sheets from Brooklyn Bedding.
(The two companies describe themselves as “sister companies” located at the same warehouse and production facility.)
Good news! I paid less. But if you’re interested, first check the price on both sites. (Note that Brooklyn Bedding has a 30-day return policy vs Eli & Elm’s 45-day return policy.)
- Eli & Elm Whalley Collection. 400 thread count Tencel sheet set, with a “sateen” finish.
For a bit less $, consider bamboo: Eli & Elm Winchester Collection. 350 thread count. 100% eco-friendly bamboo rayon. Described as the “world’s softest bamboo sheet” (according to reviewers).
45-day money-back guarantee
Eli & Elm
Eli & Elm Whaley Collection (Brooklyn Bedding TENCEL™ Sateen)
These sheets come in multiple colors but I went with Champagne. They are shiny, smooth, and cool to the touch. (Due to their silk-like shininess, they are branded as “sateen” even though that term is usually associated with a particular weave of cotton sheets.)
They are similar to the Sheex (above) in terms of subjective “weight”. In other words, they feel very light.
Eli & Elm Winchester Collection (Brooklyn Bedding Bamboo Twill)
These particular sheets came in “chocolate brown”. Because of the shininess, they resemble a metallic color, more like dark bronze. It’s a lovely color.
Bamboo sheets are very similar to Lyocell (TENCEL™), but there were a few subtle differences with this set. Out of the box, these sheets were a bit shinier, silkier, and very cool to the touch. And slippier.
However, I expect they will lose some of these properties, and become softer and have a more cotton-like feel with use and multiple washes.
It’s unknown at this time whether these will hold up as well as the Lyocell sheets…. stay tuned…
Buffy Eucalyptus duvet cover review ↓
For some reason, I have plenty of sheet sets. To be different, I purchased the Buffy Eucalyptus duvet cover instead.
Out of the box, the cover feels more on the hefty side and slightly less shiny than some of the other Lyocell brands. Very nice.
Stitching is of high quality, with ties in the inside corners to attach to a comforter (“duvet”). The bottom closes using buttons.
At present, I have yet to put a comforter inside this cover (it’s July). Instead, I am using it as a top sheet.
More specifically, I’m using it to replace a BedJet Cloud Sheet.
And yes, it works great for my unorthodox use.
- Buffy Eucalyptus Sheets. 300 thread count, 100% Eucalyptus.
- Buffy Eucalyptus Duvet Cover. 100% Eucalyptus.
Both sustainably grown in Austria using 10X less water than cotton. Colored with only plant-based dyes. Free shipping (3-5 days) and free returns.
30-day return policy
Other Eucalyptus, Tencel™, and Bamboo options to try
- Sijo Eucalyptus Lyocell Tencel sheet set. Ultra cooling and soft; created sustainably from Eucalyptus trees from Austria.
Note: may be purchased with or without a flat sheet. Also available as a duvet cover.
30-day return policy (in “donatable” condition)
Cotton plus PCM
If you insist on sticking with cotton, try using cotton sheets with an added phase change material (PCM). Originally developed by NASA, this material captures and holds excess body heat, then releases it back to you when needed.
- Eli & Elm Whitney Collection. 400 thread count PCM long-staple cotton sheet set. PCM made of “cellulosic fibers” (lyocell) with additional moisture-wicking properties.
According to Eli & Elm, this PCM is composed of microscopic beads of plant oil within lyocell fibers. This PCM is set to just above room temperature.
These sheets are 70% cotton, 20% lyocell, and 10% paraffin (plant oil).
Here are some other choices made of polyester designed to wick moisture. (Similar to your workout wear.)
If you don’t mind moving away from the feel of cotton/silk then these are priced more affordably.
The PeachSkinSheets website will send you free fabric swatches. The fabric is extremely lightweight, but will never be confused for cotton.
I did observe shrinkage, but the cases still easily fit my standard-sized pillows.
Momme is like thread count. Look for a momme of 19-25.
Most silk is made from the Mulberry silkworm. Double-check that you are purchasing silk and not polyester “satin” falsely marketed as silk.
I’ve since purchased the cases below. I don’t notice any difference in the feel between 19 and 21 momme.
There is some evidence that silk will benefit your hair and skin.
The best value may be to purchase silk pillowcases and a different fabric for the rest of your bedding. As mentioned above, Eucalyptus, Bamboo, and other Lyocell products look and feel very silky.
Linen is much tougher than cotton and has much better cooling (and warming) properties. Sheets made of linen are truly an “investment” in bedding. Sure, linen-cotton blends are available, but that’s cheating…
If the price scares you, remember that linen will last far longer than cotton. In theory, linen can last for generations.
Like cotton, linen becomes much softer with multiple washes. Many sheet sets will already come “stone-washed” or similar so they are soft right out of the package.
Brooklinen bed sheets review ↓
If you want something close to the soft feel of cotton go with linen. These sheets feel cozy, without the temperature issues of cotton.
These sheets also have a loose weave. This is both good and bad. Good: these sheets BREATHE.
However, I’m a big BedJet user. My BedJet blows either cool or warm air under the covers. But in order to enjoy that air, your bedding needs to hold it in. I was combining my Brooklinen linen sheets with the loose-knitted Bearaby weighted blanket.
It took me a while to figure out where all my air was going…
If you choose to combine your linen sheets with a BedJet, you’ll need to add an additional “solid” layer, such as a blanket or comforter. Or a sheet with a tighter weave, such as the Lyocell examples above.
Although linen is more resistant to cat claw damage than Lyocell or silk, it is not immune. I’ve already noticed a few (fixable) tiny holes and one pulled thread…
Despite the issues, overall, I’m enjoying the soft, cool feel of these sheets.
And I plan to purchase more linen to try out…
- Brooklinen Linen core sheet set. 100% Linen made from Belgian and French flax. Made in Portugal
365-day return policy
Other Linen options to consider
- Sijo French Linen sheet set. 100% linen from French flax. Stone-washed for softness. (Bedding made in China.)
30-day return as long as the item is in “donatable condition”
Value Pick: linen from IKEA
Originally IKEA only sold linen duvet covers, with included pillow shams. But now full sheet sets are available.
Like most “deals”, however, you get what you pay for. While the Brooklinen linen reviewed above is soft like cotton, with a loose weave, this linen is quite rough and has a tighter weave.
On the plus side, it has inspired me to investigate ways to soften linen…
- IKEA PUDERVIVA sheet set and pillowcases. 100% linen. Breathes and absorbs moisture. Available in multiple colors.
365-day return policy (temporarily suspended due to the current world health situation)
If you like linen, consider sheets made of hemp. Whereas linen comes from the fibers of the flax plant, hemp comes from fibers from the plant Cannabis sativa.
Cannabis represents a group of different plant strains that produce cannabinoids, including CBD and THC.
CBD is used to treat epilepsy and is being studied for a wide range of medical issues, including pain, anxiety, and inflammation.
THC is the marijuana drug that gives you a high.
Cannabis grown for hemp produces a large amount of CBD, but very little THC. Indeed, in some places only strains with negligible THC are legally allowed to be grown.
No, hemp bed sheets do not contain THC.
Like linen, hemp is durable, long-lasting, and a cooling fabric that efficiently wicks away moisture. And it gets softer with wear and laundering.
Unlike flax, hemp is much easier to grow. In fact, it grows like a weed, outcompeting other plants. . . little to no chemicals required.
Although processed like flax, because it’s easier to grow, in theory, hemp should be comparably less expensive than linen.
But as hemp cultivation has only recently been legalized in most places, it is harder to find.