It’s a question we all ask when we find ourselves out shopping for bedsheets; what on earth is the difference between the various material options, and does it matter?
It is estimated that the average person spends as much as 33 years in bed, so the sheets you choose are important, you will be spending a pretty significant portion of your life on them after all.
There are a variety of factors that you may want to take into consideration when you are purchasing your next bed sheets.
First, what is the material that the sheets are made from?
Next, you may consider how the textures differ between the different materials; are they smooth, soft, and silky, or are they rough to the touch and itchy?
After that, it has become increasingly important to consider whether the farming, manufacturing, and procurement of these materials are environmentally friendly?
Finally, and possibly most importantly for many consumers, what is the price range that you can expect to be looking at.
Let’s explore our top three options: Eucalyptus, Cotton, and Bamboo.
Eucalyptus: The High Koala-ty Natural Sheets
What is Eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree native to Australia, known for its speedy growth, medicinal benefits, and popularity with Koalas.
For thousands of years, cultures from around the world have incorporated Eucalyptus into their medicinal treatments for a wide range of medical conditions.
Modern research has even been backing up these age-old claims, with some hospitals incorporating them into their antimicrobial treatments.
Furthermore, the oil from the tree is used as an antiseptic, a perfume, a flavouring, and even as a component in industrial solvents.
Is Eucalyptus Good for the Environment?
Unfortunately, in the case of Eucalyptus, the answer is not so clear-cut.
Eucalyptus is what we call a restoration tree, which is known for its ability to grow quickly and adapt ferociously in new environments.
These factors, however, aren't necessarily a good thing when considering the overall ecology of an area and the biodiversity within it.
When placed in an environment that they are not usually found, they are essentially considered a bioterrorist.
Eucalyptus is typically grown as a monoculture, a form of farming where trees of only one species and extreme genetic similarity are grown in mass.
The clearing of indigenous forests for these farms, paired with the intrinsically fast-growing biology of eucalyptus trees, will undoubtedly cause havoc on the local ecology.
Firstly, on the trees which are cut down and not allowed to regrow and secondly on the animal life which depends on those trees for food and shelter.
On top of this, they are culpable for a phenomenon known as allelopathy, which means that they produce a biochemical that can influence the soil where they are located, this biochemical can influence germination, growth, and survival of the other life forms in the area.
Luckily, it's not all grim though.
Their fast-growing nature means they require less irrigation and pesticides to thrive, and they can be grown in places that are inhospitable to other large plant life.
This results in less water usage, less pollution of waterways and soil, and reduced need to intrude on areas with high biodiversity.
So when it comes to Eucalyptus, we cannot look at its environmental sustainability as a black and white issue.
It is dependent on a variety of factors, which should all be taken into consideration when choosing to purchase a product that uses eucalyptus.
What are The Benefits of Eucalyptus Sheets?
Eucalyptus is well renowned for its more breathable fabric when used in your sheets.
It is particularly recommended for sleepers who find themselves getting overheated at night, or sweating in their sleep.
The material is cool to the touch and has a natural wick to the surface which helps reduce sweat as you sleep.
These incredibly soft sheets are quickly gaining popularity among consumers.
If you go for higher quality, higher thread count sheet sets, then your Eucalyptus sheets may cost you a pretty penny, but it will be well worth it, trust us!
Cotton Sheets: Where Did you Come from, Where Did you Go?
Cotton sheets are probably the most well-known and most popular material of sheets.
What is Cotton?
Like Eucalyptus sheets, cotton sheets are natural and come from a plant, which in this case, is the cotton plant.
Cotton is the most widely grown non-food plant in the world.
Its primary compound is cellulose, which contributes to its delightfully soft and fluffy texture.
Cotton's strength, durability, and absorption add to its popularity as an all-purpose material.
If you check the tags on your clothing, a fair few of your favourite items are likely made of cotton.
Is Cotton Good for the Environment?
If you want to find an eco-friendly option, make sure you go for organic cotton, which is grown without harsh pesticides and doesn’t use harsh toxic dyes or finishing chemicals.
By choosing cotton over a synthetic option, you are also choosing the option that is best for your skin, synthetic fabrics are made from petrochemicals which are known skin irritants.
Synthetic fabrics also have microfibres that shed and pollute waterways and oceans, which can negatively affect local marine life and agriculture.
Cotton is also a major culprit of soil degradation, but this can be limited with proper care.
Proper care largely being; limiting the harvesting and cultivation practices to more organic and sustainable alternatives.
Overall, cotton is generally known to be an environmentally friendly option, most notably for its ability to be reused and the fact that it is easily biodegradable.
What Are The Benefits of Cotton Sheets?
Cotton sheets have a luxuriously smooth feel, are breathable, and come in a variety of thread counts.
Cotton bedsheets are low maintenance and last a long time, so you are often getting your money's worth.
Whether you want to splash out, or are shopping on a budget, you should be able to find some cotton sheets that suit you.
Bamboo Sheets: They’ll Bamboo-zle their Way into Your Heart.
Bamboo is a species of grass and, being one of the fastest-growing wood plants on the planet (reported to grow up to 47 inches in just over 24 hours), it is relatively easy to farm and harvest.
Its fast growth means that in as little as three months you can find yourself with a full-grown bamboo tree, this is particularly amazing when you consider that the average tree can take 30+ years to grow to its full height.
Bamboo shoots are thought to have a number of health benefits.
When you consume them, they help with digestion, weight loss and are even reported to have antibacterial properties; thanks to its secret ingredient- methanol.
The benefits of bamboo don't just apply to its consumption, an increasing variety of industries are using bamboo wood and fibres in the production of their materials, from building houses, to making fabric, to utensils and accessories.
Is Bamboo Good for The Environment?
Bamboo is a big friend to the environment.
It is one of the most eco-friendly trees you can find.
If you are looking to harvest bamboo you don’t need to worry about using toxic pesticides or chemicals, because natural cultivation is effective with bamboo.
Due to its antibacterial properties bamboo doesn't even need to be treated after harvest.
It has even been nicknamed “green steel” for its incredible strength and durability, gaining popularity as a reliable eco-friendly wood to use in construction.
Finally, bamboo is a carbon dioxide-absorbing machine, consuming twice as much carbon dioxide as other trees.
It also produces 30% more oxygen than other plants and trees, so supporting products that use bamboo means you are supporting the environment too!
What is The Benefit of Bamboo Sheets?
If you take good care of your bamboo sheets, they'll take care of you right back.
Like the tree they come from, the fibres used to make the sheets are very strong and durable, meaning that they will last you for a long time.
If you are more of a colourful soul, bamboo sheets hold dye better, so your sheets will stay bright and vibrant for longer.
Bamboo is well reported as being great for your skin and hair, it’s got a soft and smooth texture, which will help keep your hair shiny and your skin supple.
The natural wick to the surface of it means that your skin will stay healthy and clean, reducing sweat.
Even if you go for a lower thread count bamboo sheet, some people claim it feels softer than the higher count cotton sheets.
If you are an eco-friendly shopper, then bamboo sheets are the option for you.
At this point, you should be well aware of the key differences between Eucalyptus sheets, cotton sheets, and bamboo sheets.
If you are looking for a breathable and smooth sheet with purported medicinal properties, and are willing to spend a little more for them you may consider investing in some Eucalyptus sheets.
If you’re after a more traditional and budget-friendly option, and if you are an environmentally conscious shopper, make sure to look into organic cotton.
Finally, if purchasing an eco-friendly and sustainable product is your top priority, and you also want a smooth texture with a moisture-wicking surface, bamboo sheets are the ones for you.
Depending on what your priorities and values are you should be prepared to make an informed choice about which set of natural sheets are the best fit for your needs.