Type of fabric
One thing we can get out of the way – no one likes synthetic sheets. They feel plasticky, they electroshock you all through the winter and make your hair stand up from all that static electricity. Even the ones that resemble silk sheets are meant to resemble silk aren't great and can be extremely slippery. If you ever thought synthetic sheets provide extra strength, they don't and they can lose the fresh look much faster than sheets made of natural materials. With synthetic sheets, you’re often left fighting off pilling from day one.
There are a few options with natural fabrics: cotton, linen, bamboo, viscose, silk, and various blends of those. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Inexpensive – while it does seem like an immediate benefit, the cons of this fabric don’t make it a worthy way of saving.
Breathable – cotton is probably the most common natural material for bedsheets. Like most natural fabrics, it is breathable, although it can be partly due to a looser weave, which makes it easy for pet hair to get tangled between the threads and remain on your sheets.
Less durable – cotton threads are not very strong or long, so they are prone to breaking. It won’t take long for your pet to start pulling threads or even tear these sheets.
Prone to pilling and becomes coarse over time – cotton sheets are a bit more likely to start pilling than other fabrics. These sheets also become coarse over time and might look and feel less pleasant compared to new cotton sheets.
Soft and breathable – linen is a good option for hot/cold sleepers as it is breathable, although it’s not as great as quickly drying if you sweat a lot at night.
Dirt and stain repellent – linen fibers are quite rough, which on the one hand can make a less appealing bedsheet, but at the same time, the fabric effectively repels dirt and dander, and makes stains easy to remove.
Hypoallergenic – one of the good options for people with sensitive skin and hair, or prone to allergic reactions and rashes. It has a cooling feel so it can help sleep better at night if you're often bothered by itching or general skin sensitivities.
Long-lasting – this is one of the stronger fabrics on our list. What it might be losing in looks, it gains in strength and durability.
Expensive – compared to cotton, linen is more expensive, although its many benefits compensate for the price difference.
New sheets can feel stiff – while many fabrics are reasonably soft from the start, it takes multiple washes and months of use before linen sheets feel lose their roughness.
Wrinkles easily – no amount of ironing and gentle care can keep these sheets crisp and wrinkle-free, in case that’s how you like your sheets to be.
Soft – these sheets are probably some of the softest, silkiest (literally), and most comfortable.
Prevent dust mites, antimicrobial – silk has great antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and naturally repels dust mites, house dust particles, pet hair, and everything else that makes us all go eww if we think about it being in our bed. Be warned though, silk sheets are so slippery they might accidentally “repel” you out of your own bed!
Hypoallergenic – for the same reasons of being naturally antibacterial, this is a good option for sensitive people. Silk sheets are pillowcases can keep your hair looking nice and prevent “bad hair days”.
Needs special care – laundering your silk sheets is a massive undertaking. They need special detergents and care products, to be washed at low water temperatures and never ever be put in the dryer. “Troublesome” does not begin to describe the care silk sheets require.
Stain easily, non-waterproof – silk tends to absorb water easily but that also makes this fabric prone to stains. If you have pets, you will have stains on your sheets at least once, and with all the care requirements, silk sheets are really not that pet-friendly.
Prone to tears – this soft and silky fabric won’t be able to stand up to the teeth and claws of active playful pets.
Durable – bamboo threads are long which makes them stronger and less breakable, resistant, and able to withstand a lot of roughness.
Soft – surprisingly, along with being durable, bamboo sheets are exceptionally soft, they fold nicely and have a luxurious feel.
Hypoallergenic – for people with sensitive skin, prone to allergies and respiratory symptoms, as well as for their pets, bamboo sheets are a great option. They are breathable and naturally antimicrobial so you’ll be sleeping on cleaner sheets every day.
Non-absorbent – perhaps anything that starts with "non" doesn't sound like an advantage, but in fact, this one is: bamboo sheets don't hold onto the warmth and sweat we tend to produce more of at night, so they allow for good ventilation and temperature regulation. Even if you're a "hot sleeper" (tend to overheat at night, which sometimes negatively affects sleep quality due to tossing and wake-ups), sweaty sleeper, or simply looking for comfort in any weather, bamboo sheets check the box.
Can be expensive – especially when bamboo is produced sustainably and hasn't been treated with chemicals during the production process, which can be reflected in the price. However, with all the positives, bamboo sheets can be considered an investment and the higher price will be amortized by the longevity of this type of bedding and less need for frequent bedding purchases.
Requires gentle care – while not too big of a disadvantage, bamboo sheets should be washed with a mild detergent at lower temperatures. These simple care suggestions will help the sheets last long and look good.
Prone to wrinkling – bamboo sheets are extra soft, therefore they don’t have the same “crispy sheet” feel that other types of bedding might have, but besides that, the wrinkles smooth out quickly once the bedding is being used.
While bamboo is not the most common bedding fabric, it's been gaining popularity thanks to its sustainable production and all the benefits this fabric can provide. Bamboo bedsheets come in a variety of colors and patterns as they are easy to dye and retain color well.
Weave and thread count
These are important characteristics of bedding fabrics. Weave refers to how loosely or tightly the threads are interlaced to create the fabric. A tighter weave makes bedding more pet-friendly as loose pet hair cannot easily get stuck between the tightly woven threads.
Thread count is the number of threads (strands of fabric) per square inch of fabric. Most sheets have a thread count between 200 and 400, sheets with a thread count below 180 tend to feel rough, and about 400 is usually a number listed for the multi-ply threads, so in reality, these sheets are not necessarily softer but they are often expensive.
Antistatic and antibacterial characteristics
As you’ve noticed in the pros and cons sections above, some fabrics are more antistatic and antibacterial than others. Bamboo is probably the best choice from this perspective, given that it is also very pet-friendly and resistant.
Two more things, which are not necessarily related to the quality of the bedding itself, can add to the longevity of your bedding.
Waterproof bottom layer
A waterproof mattress cover can keep your mattress (often the most expensive bedding item) from spills, potty accidents, dust mites, and bed bugs. It keeps the mattress cleaner and reduces the need to vacuum or dry clean it.
Adding a quilt as a top layer can serve many functions. For example, your pets will likely be napping on the quilt instead of directly on the sheets, so if there’s any pet hair or dirt, it’ll end up mostly on the quilt. You can then rotate your quilts instead of taking the trouble to change your bedsheets often or clean off pet hair every night before you go to bed.
We hope this article helps you choose the right bedding for you and your fur babies.