A Mum’s Guide to Fabrics for Bed Sheets

by Mother Huddle Staff
A Mum’s Guide to Fabrics for Bed Sheets

Shopping for bed sheets can be a bit bewildering. There are many considerations beyond just the look and style of the sheets. Get educated about your options using this guide to fabrics for bed sheets.


Cotton is a breathable fibre. When woven into bed sheets, it’s soft, strong, reasonably affordable and broadly available. It absorbs dye readily and takes printing beautifully, so you’ll find many stylish colors and print options available for your bedding. For all these reasons, cotton is Australia’s most popular bed sheet fibre.

Cotton is a natural, plant-based fibre that can originate from different cotton species: 

Gossypium barbadense: Long-staple, better quality cottons such as Egyptian cotton, Sea Island cotton and Pima cotton derive from the gossypium barbadense plant species. The cotton varieties originating from this species typically tend to be the softest, silkiest, strongest and most expensive cottons available.

Gossypium hirsutum: “Upland cotton” is the common name for this popular cotton species. It is by far the most prevalent plant species providing fibre for bed sheets, with about 90 percent of the entire global cotton crop being of this type. Upland cotton has a relatively short staple length as compared against the long-staple varieties. While it is comparatively less soft and less durable than Egyptian cotton, it still tends to offer a satisfactory level of softness and durability for common household use. Its relative affordability and broad availability make it the more attractive choice for the vast majority of Australian households.

Caring for Cotton Bed Sheets: 

Cotton bed sheets can be machine washed and dried. You can use your preferred laundry detergent. Follow the care instructions on the label for temperature setting, and wash and dry your sheets on the hottest temperature settings that are recommended by the manufacturer. 


Linen bed sheets are elegant, stylish, soft, durable and breathable. This natural material is made from the fibre of the flax plant. According to staff at the University of Georgia Extension’s textile department, linen is the best wicking natural fiber. So if your bedroom gets hot at night, and you’re hoping to buy sheets that will help you sleep comfortably despite high temperatures, linen sheets are well worth considering. They’re also a fantastic choice for anyone who suffers from night sweats.

How to Care for Linen Bed Sheets: 

Linen bed sheets are usually machine washable, but you must take care to use the delicate cycle on your washing machine. Don’t ever use bleach on your linen sheets. See this guide to caring for flax linen sheets for more in-depth information. 

Poly-Cotton Blends

Poly-cotton bed sheets are blended from cotton and polyester. Sheets made up in this fibre blend are broadly available, and they tend to be affordable. Because this blend is durable, long-wearing and easily washable, it is commonly used for children’s bedding.

 However, poly-cotton sheets have one major downside that mums should know about: The polyester in the sheets is resistant to absorbing moisture. So if you have a child who still wets the bed at night, or if the room temperature in your child’s bedroom often gets hot, sheets made from this blend will not be the most comfortable choice available. In cases such as those, bed sheets made from cotton or linen would likely be a better choice.

Caring for Poly-Cotton Bed Sheets:

 Poly-cotton blend bed sheets can be machine washed using the laundry detergent of your choice, and it is safe to machine dry them. Follow the care instructions on the label for temperature settings. 

These aren’t your only choices for bed sheet fabrics, but these are some of the most popular and widely available choices. We hope this information will be helpful to you next time you’re updating the bed linens for any of your family members. 

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