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Bamboo Sheets: Pros, Cons & 4 More Sustainable Options To Look Into

Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
This Popular Type Of Sheet Comes With Environmental Concerns: 4 Better Options
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Sheets are one home good that it pays off to be picky about. We sleep on them night after night, after all! Bamboo sheets are likely one material you've come across in your search for the perfect set. Here's what to know about how this material is made, its pros and cons, and how to find a sustainable set (it's harder than it seems).

How does bamboo work as a textile?

Bamboo is a popular material in everything from sheets to clothing to toilet paper, mostly because it's so quick—and, therefore, cost-effective—to grow. (Some varieties can grow up to 2 feet every day!) Another perk is that once you get a bamboo plant going, you can harvest it over and over again.

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"Because it's so prolific and renewable, you can pull about 50 million pounds of bamboo fiber annually from about 1,000 acres once it reaches maturity," David Knight, the founder of multiple companies that incorporate bamboo, previously told mindbodygreen. "You can do that for decades without replanting it, whereas when you cut a tree down, that's it."

But obviously, the bamboo that's harvested isn't quite ready to drape your bed just yet. First, its pulp needs to be broken down and turned into a fiber that's soft enough to sleep on. This requires the use of chemical solvents, so although bamboo on its own is a natural fiber, bamboo sheets are heavily processed.

Most bamboo sheets are made using a viscose process: The bamboo is broken down, crushed, mixed in a bath of chemicals, and then spun into yarn. This method comes with a few environmental concerns, which you can read up on here. Sheets made using a viscose process will typically be labeled "viscose made from bamboo" or "rayon made from bamboo." (In the U.S., they legally can't just be called "bamboo" because of all this processing.)

Bamboo sheets can also be made using a lyocell production method. This method uses slightly gentler solvents, repurposes them in a closed-loop system, and tends to be more eco-friendly. After pulling back the covers on the bamboo sheet industry and analyzing the options currently available, researchers concluded that lyocell is "considered to be one of the leading methods of producing environmentally friendly regenerated fibers for textiles" in a 2016 paper in the journal Fashion and Textiles.

Sheets made this way will be labeled "bamboo lyocell" and they'll probably be more expensive than viscose options.

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Benefits of bamboo sheets:

1. They're natural—to an extent.

Unlike completely synthetic sheets made from materials like polyester, bamboo sheets do originally come from a naturally regenerating source. However, it's somewhat misleading to call them natural after all the ways they change during processing. While bamboo on its own is antibacterial, for example, this quality is likely lost in the production process.

2. They're soft.

As far as their look and feel, bamboo sheets tend to be very soft, smooth, and luxurious looking—similar to high-quality cotton. Though they often require special laundering, pure bamboo sheets also tend to dry wrinkle-free.

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3. They're breathable.

Depending on the weave, bamboo sheets can be lightweight and breathable, which makes them a favorite among sleep specialists—especially for sleepers who tend to run hot as they snooze.

4. They're durable.

The way bamboo is treated tends to lead to strong, long-lasting sheets that can keep you cozy for years with proper care.

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What to look for in a sheet set.

Material:

Bamboo lyocell tends to be the healthiest, most sustainable material, though even it comes with some potential environmental concerns. Since bamboo is such a voracious plant, it can quickly overtake the area where it's grown and threaten other native species. Large-scale bamboo plantations need to be carefully managed to protect biodiversity.

Thread count:

Typically, the higher the thread count, the softer (and more expensive) the sheet. For bamboo, a thread count of over 300 should be very soft and cozy.

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Weave:

The most common types of weaves for bamboo sheets are percale and sateen. Percale is made by weaving a one-yarn-under, one-yard-over grid, which makes them crisp and lightweight. They tend to be a good option for the summertime. Sateen is made by weaving one yarn under and three to four yarns over, so it's thicker and warmer, but can still be cooling.

Our product recommendations.

Whether they source their bamboo from certified sustainable forests or treat it using a closed-loop lyocell process, the following sheets all prioritize human and environmental health in one form or another. They also earn rave reviews for their soft feel thanks to generous thread counts and cozy weaves.

You'll note that it's a pretty short list, as responsibly made bamboo sheets are not so easy to find. By supporting companies doing it right, we can all use our dollars to vote for a more sustainable future for this fabric.

Best sustainable: Ettitude Signature Sateen Sheet Set

Ettitude exclusively sells bamboo home goods, so the company pays a lot of attention to responsible sourcing and processing. All of their bamboo comes from FSC-certified sustainable forests, meaning it was grown in a way that doesn't harm local people or wildlife. They also have ambitious carbon reduction goals and offset any emissions they are currently producing.

But what about their sheets? Ettitude's signature bamboo lyocell set is woven in a silky sateen weave. Customers note that their soft feel, temperature-regulating qualities, and rich colors make them a great option for all kinds of sleepers.

Ettitude Signature Sateen Sheet Set ($229/Queen)

bed with soft, draping navy sheet set
Ettitude

Best value: Movesgood Bamboo Lyocell Bed Set Double

Swedish clothing and textile company Movesgood operates off a slow fashion model, meaning they focus on minimalist staples that can live in your closet or bedroom for a long time. Their 300-thread-count lyocell sheets are soft and sustainably made, certified by independent company OEKO-TEX for their commitment to healthier and more environmentally friendly production practices. We also appreciate that the company is transparent about the labor conditions of its three factories, sharing details like how many hours employees work in each one.

Note that since this is a European company, you'll want to double-check on sheet size before ordering.

Movesgood Bamboo Lyocell Bed Set Double ($140/Double)

white bed in front of bamboo room divider
Moves Good

Best overall: HyggeB Bamboo Lyocell Signature Set

Singapore-founded HyggeB is creating sheets that sleepers worldwide love. These bamboo lyocell signature sheets with a sateen weave have hundreds of five-star reviews from folks who rave about their buttery-soft feel and luxurious look. They're OEKO-TEX certified and at $138 for a queen set, a good deal for sheets of their quality.

HyggeB Bamboo Lyocell Signature Set ($138/Queen)

bed made with white sheets in front of white curtain
Hygge B

Best budget: Horimote Home Linen Textured Sheet Set

These sheets do make trade-offs for affordability, and they are made from bamboo viscose instead of lyocell. Bamboo is blended with cotton to further bring down the price point. But we appreciate that the finished product is at least OEKO-TEX certified safe to sleep on.

Reviewers note that the bamboo blend does tend to wrinkle but is incredibly soft and cooling for all kinds of sleepers.

Horimote Home Linen Textured Sheet Set ($69/Queen)

bed made with soft, cream-colored sheets
Horimote Home
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The bottom line.

We suggest opting for bamboo sheets that are made using a closed-loop lyocell production practice, as they tend to be the safest from a human and environmental health perspective. If you can't find those, might we suggest snuggling up to a silk or TENCEL™ set?

sleep support+
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(275)
sleep support+

sleep support+

The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about*

sleep support+

sleep support+

The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about*

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(275)
sleep support+

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