Who wins in the war to the softest, most comfortable and ecofriendly sheets?
A Comparison of Cotton vs Bamboo vs Eucalyptus Sheets
Not Your Grandma’s Bedding
For as long as I could remember, my mother would pull out her blue-and-white printed floral cotton bedding and preach to me about the benefits of cotton sheets with a high thread count. Much like almost everyone I know, I grew up sleeping on cotton bedding, indifferent to how it felt or its impact on the environment. Cotton bedding, I thought, was the only means to a good night of sleep.
Cotton had long been the popular crowd favorite for bedding, as it had been the only options available for a long time. However, early into my adulthood, the green movement took off, and people began to branch out from their stuffy cotton bedding in search of something that was softer, more versatile, and more eco-friendly.
It was around this time that bamboo bedding began making a splash as the new innovative and eco-friendly bedding material. People were keen to try these new environmentally sustainable, natural, silky-smooth sheets. These types of sheets were flying off the shelfs, and people were enthused that they could actively support something that was helping the environment. As I would later come to discover, most of these words used to describe bamboo sheets-“eco-friendly, natural, organic”-were all a marketing gimmick.
In reality, bamboo sheets did not hold up to a lot of these eco-friendly qualities they boasted.
Bamboo: Wolf in Grandma’s Clothing
If you closely examine the fibers of bamboo made fabrics, you will find that there is virtually no trace of the bamboo plant in the sheets. The process of breaking down bamboos to the creation of bedding is so intensive that the final product is essentially stripped of all the benefits of the organic bamboo plants.
While the mechanical process of creating bamboo bedding is environmentally friendly, the chemical process adds so much toxic chemicals to the fibers that is could hardly be considered green. The process of creating bedding from bamboo is composed of using 12 toxic chemicals. These chemicals are incredibly harsh and harmful not only on the bamboo fibers but also on the environment.
These chemicals are just as damaging as they are hard to pronounce - are composed of multi-syllabic words that are classified as corrosive, and its chemical composition drastically alters the beneficial qualities of bamboos. Furthermore, there is no way for the chemicals to be recycled after usage, so they are dumped into the environment. About 50% of them find their way back into the environment, polluting the earth, dirtying the air, and contaminating the water.
Once the Federal Trade Commission caught on to this, they began mandating companies to list the product as made from Rayon rather than bamboo. Since the chemicals so harshly altered the bamboos fibers, they couldn’t list these types of sheets as bamboo but rather as Rayon.
Happily Ever After with Eucalyptus Bedding
I am a big proponent of making things in a more sustainable way - that is gentle to the earth and also better for you. After hearing about these detrimental qualities of bamboo bedding, I began seeking out alternatives for cleaner, greener linens.
All Eucalypso products are made from 100% Tencel from organic eucalyptus fibers, milled sustainably and produced in small batches to produce the growth of Eucalyptus trees.
The best thing about Tencel bedding that sets it apart from bamboo bedding is that it uses absolutely no (that’s right - 0) harsh chemicals, as opposed to the 12 toxics chemicals bamboo uses. Tencel lyocell uses simply one solvent in its creation, and it 100% organic and is not toxic. In fact, the process of creating Tencel allows the solvent to be recycled and reused. This is called a closed-loop process, in which the transformation process recovers and reuses 99% of the organic solvent and water used in this process.
On top of all of these great environmental benefits of eucalyptus bedding, the fibers are incredibly soft and durable. This meant that the fibers are less prone to wrinkling, so you don’t have to put as much time into caring for the sheets. These types of sheets are also super silky, cooling, and perfect for sensitive skin. To read more about the benefits of eucalyptus bedding, you can click here.
We live in a world where we are always striving to do better and be kinder to our Earth. So take a deep breath and dive into your comfortable eucalyptus sheets, knowing that you’re making the right choice for both you and the environment.
My issue is quality. The cotton sheets I’ve bought last 5 to 10 years at least. The reviews for bamboo and eucalyptus sheets I’ve seen all indicate that holes are likely to develop immediately (supposedly in situations of a defective product and why isn’t that being caught) or after only a year or so of normal use.
Cotton is not an environmentally unfriendly product if it lasts 5 or 10 times as long as everything else. I am a firm believer in a moderate thread count, not only because it lasts longer than the cheapest of the cheap cotton sheets, but also because the highest thread counts just use up more of the crop product for no discernable reason (feel or durability) except that it can be marketed to idiots as more luxurious.
Crops, harvesting, milling/production, manufacturing, shipping, etc is all a factor in the environmental/energy use process, not just the crop.
April 19, 2021
Michelle Harris said:
There is now a bamboo lyocell vs the eucalyptus lyocell. With both having the same processing I’m looking at the difference between the plants now. Especially the properties of cooling sheets. No one on the internet has made the comparison between the two plants using the lyocell process.
April 19, 2021
There are three types of bamboo:
Rayon/Viscose – sustainable fabric that’s not environmentally friendly
Bamboo Linen – sustainable fabric that’s manufactured similarly to flax linen
Lyocell – sustainable fabric that’s environmentally friendly
August 08, 2019
Isabella Reyes said:
In my own preference, I’d choose bamboo bed sheets. I tried cotton and bamboo, I can actually feel the difference between the two.
June 10, 2019