Lyocell vs Cotton Sheets (2024)

Alex Forest

Sleep Content Specialist

After months of research and careful deliberation, you’ve finally found the perfect mattress. But now comes the next important choice: selecting the ideal set of sheets. Choosing between Lyocell and cotton sheets is no easy task.

Cotton is a popular choice for many sleepers. It comes in a variety of options, is breathable, and is affordable. On the other hand, Lyocell sheets provide a silky, smooth, and cooling feel. Although ultra-breathable and eco-friendly, they can be more expensive than cotton.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the specifics and break down the differences between Lyocell and cotton sheets. We’ll help you find the right fit to complement your mattress and improve your sleep experience.

 

Breakdown: Lyocell vs. Cotton Sheets

FactorLyocellCotton

Cost

$100–200+

$50–200+

Appearance

Smooth, shiny finish; wrinkle-resistant

Smooth, matte, or shiny finish; certain weaves are prone to wrinkling

Durability

Long-lasting with proper care

Long-lasting with proper care

Machine Washable

Yes, but requires special care and may shrink in the dryer

Yes, but may shrink in the dryer

Feel

Soft and silky

Soft, breathable feel

Variety

Plain, twill, crepe, and more

Sateen, percale, flannel, twill, jersey, and more

Temperature

Wicks moisture for a cool and dry sleep

Regulates temperature well

Sustainability

Known for its sustainable, closed-loop production process

Uses more water to produce

Best for…

People wanting soft, sustainable sheets with less focus on price

People wanting versatile, breathable sheets at a lower price


What Is Lyocell?

Lyocell is commonly known by the brand name Tencel (trademarked by Lenzing AG in 1982). It’s a plant-based, semi-synthetic fibre used in clothing, bed sheets, and other items.

Typically made from eucalyptus, birch, or bamboo, Lyocell is usually produced through a sustainable, closed-loop process that minimizes or eliminates pollution and runoff during manufacturing.

The manufacturing process involves soaking and dissolving the wood from these trees in a non-toxic solution, turning it into pulp, and spinning the pulp into fibre. These long fibres give Lyocell its smooth feel.

Lyocell is more absorbent than cotton and draws moisture away from your body for a cooler, airier sleep. While they require extra care, you don’t need to wash them as often due to their antibacterial properties. It’s even possible to damage Lyocell sheets by overwashing them.

READ MORE: How often should you wash your sheets?

Lyocell sheets could be a good fit if you’re willing to spend a bit more time laundering them and if you’re fine to splurge on hypoallergenic sheets with a smooth, cool feel.

 

Benefits of Lyocell Sheets

  • Cooling properties keep the sheets comfortable, even if you’re a hot sleeper
  • Wrinkle resistant for easier maintenance and an attractive look
  • Hypoallergenic to ensure comfort for sensitive skin
  • Eco-conscious manufacturing so you can feel good about your bedding

 

Drawbacks of Lyocell Sheets

  • More expensive than other types of sheets
  • Needs special care and maintenance
  • Can shrink or be discoloured if exposed to high temperatures
  • Can’t be used with bleach or fabric softener
  • Fewer weave options than other types of sheets

What Is Cotton?

Cotton plants produce fibres used to create a material that’s popular for its versatility and comfort. However, cotton requires lots of water, space, and time to grow, making it less environmentally friendly than Lyocell. That said, organic cotton is becoming more accessible as a green alternative.

Cotton is very versatile and comes in a variety of weaves, like Sateen, Percale, Jersey, Flannel, and Twill. Short staple cotton, such as Upland cotton, is less smooth and has a crisp feel. It is typically used in less expensive sheets and garments.

Cotton sheets, such as Pima and Egyptian cotton sheets, have extra-long fibres, producing a smooth, silky, and luxurious material. The type of weave you choose will vary depending on your budget and how you want the sheets to feel against your body.

Shop Cotton Sheets

 

Benefits of Cotton Sheets

  • Soft and silky feel that’s enjoyable for many sleepers
  • Durable and easy to care for
  • Affordable compared to many other types of sheets
  • Easy to maintain because they’re machine washable

 

Drawbacks of Cotton Sheets

  • Only certain weaves will be wrinkle-free
  • Manufacturing process isn’t as eco-friendly as Lyocell
  • Typically feel less cool compared to Lyocell
  • Can shrink when exposed to high temperatures

 

Which Is Better: Lyocell Sheets vs Cotton Sheets?

Both fabrics have their own pros and cons. In the end, it all comes down to preference. Use this table to pick the type of bedsheet that best suits your needs:

 

Choose Lyocell sheets if…Choose cotton sheets if…
  • Sustainable products matter to you
  • You want sheets that offer maximum cooling and breathability
  • You enjoy silky-smooth sheets
  • You don’t mind taking extra effort to clean and maintain your bedsheets
  • You don’t mind spending a bit more money to get a high-quality set of sheets
  • You want more weave options to choose from
  • You don’t need cooling sheets but wouldn’t mind some temperature control
  • You want low-maintenance bedsheets that don’t require as much effort to clean
  • Sustainable products aren’t a top priority
  • You want more budget-friendly options

 

FAQ

How do you wash Lyocell sheets?

Lyocell sheets need more specific care and maintenance compared to sheets made of cotton. Either hand-wash your Lyocell sheets, or wash them alone in your washing machine at a lower temperature on a gentle cycle.

If you have it, use biodegradable detergent to avoid any damage. You can also hang your sheets to dry, or tumble dry on low, to avoid shrinking or discoloration from high heat.

Because of their antibacterial and moisture-wicking properties, Lyocell sheets shouldn’t need to be washed as often as cotton sheets. Instead, you can hang them outside on a nice day to freshen them up.

 

How do you wash cotton sheets?

Every two weeks, place your sheets in the laundry machine with your favourite detergent, and wash them in warm water. Tumble dry on medium or low, as high heat could shrink your sheets.

Your new cotton sheets might start out a bit stiff, but don’t worry—they should get softer with each wash.

 

What’s the difference between Lyocell and bamboo?

Lyocell and bamboo are similar in nature. They’re both known for being cooling, antibacterial, hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking, environmentally conscious, and smooth to the touch.

What makes these sheets slightly different is the way they’re manufactured. Bamboo sheets are made with existing bamboo fibres, while Lyocell uses a process that spins wood pulp into fibres.

Both the bamboo and Lyocell processes are considered eco-friendly because of their closed-loop nature. There is little to no product runoff or pollution during manufacturing.

Lyocell can sometimes be a pricey option. Bamboo sheets are a good alternative to get all of Lyocell’s benefits at a lower cost.

 

What’s the difference between cotton and bamboo?

Cotton sheets are ideal for those who want a low-maintenance, breathable, and affordable bedding option. They are known for their versatility and comfort, making them a reliable choice for many sleepers.

Bamboo sheets are often praised for their cooling properties and smooth and silky feel. They offer a luxurious sleeping experience and are perfect for those who prioritize eco-friendly products and enjoy a cooler sleep environment.

Both bamboo and cotton sheets have unique advantages, so consider what qualities you value most in your bedding.

Shop Bamboo Sheets Shop Cotton Sheets