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Cotton vs. Polyester Sheets: Making the Best Choice

Fabric technology has come a long way in recent years, and much of the progress can be traced to the invention of polyester fibers in the mid-20th century. Washable, wrinkle-resistant, and budget-friendly, polyester is a synthetic fabric that was quickly adopted by producers and consumers alike. 

However, polyester isn’t necessarily the right fabric for every situation. While its technical attributes make it ideal for use in outerwear, workout gear, and other performance apparel, the same qualities put polyester at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to bedding.

The Origins — and Disadvantages — of Polyester Bedding

Polyester fiber is created through a chemical reaction involving coal, petroleum by-products, alcohol, and carboxyl acid. Processing these components in a vacuum at extremely high temperatures produces long polymer strands that are stretched while hot to create the basis for a fabric that is extremely durable, colorfast, and wind- and water-resistant. These qualities have made polyester a very popular choice for things like raincoats, swimsuits, and athletic apparel.

But when it comes to sheets and pillowcases, the pros of polyester are far outweighed by the cons. 

The same properties that make a polyester jacket impervious to the elements make polyester sheets less breathable, trapping heat and moisture while you sleep. And while polyester is water-resistant, it does absorb oil and grease, making stain removal difficult. Polyester sheets are also prone to static and pilling, and can be irritating to sensitive skin.

The Case for Cotton, the Original Performance Fabric

Looking for high-performance sheets, but not comfortable with the idea of making your bed with petroleum by-products? You’re in luck. The best choice for bedding that is soft, strong, and easy to care for is your favorite natural fiber — cotton.

With unmatched versatility, reliability, and comfort, it’s no wonder cotton is one of the world’s most popular natural fabrics. 

Its built-in advantages are ideal for high-quality sheets and pillowcases. After all, cotton is the original performance fabric: breathable yet absorbent, soft yet incredibly durable. Cotton is also naturally hypoallergenic, odor-resistant, and easy to maintain — everything you could want in your bedding without any of the harsh chemicals required to create polyester.

Choosing the Right Cotton

To maximize the benefits of cotton sheets and pillowcases, choose the highest quality cotton you can find. Egyptian cotton and pima cotton offer similar performance benefits to polyester but in a natural, breathable fiber.

While Egyptian and pima cottons sheets are exceptionally soft and luxurious, finding authentic fabrics can be a challenge. That’s why it’s important to select bedding that is proven to contain what it claims it contains. PimaCott is the only brand that verifies the purity of its pima cotton. It’s tracked at every turn, from the time it leaves the farm to the time it’s turned into high-quality products like Wamsutta sheets. So you get nothing but breathable, low-maintenance, long-lasting pima cotton comfort — just the way nature intended.