While the term “organic” has become a buzzword in recent years, organic bedding can have several benefits for sleepers. Organic materials tend to be more breathable, and they are typically free from harsh chemicals that could irritate the skin or respiratory system. Organic bedding can also be more durable than products made using non-organic materials, blends, or synthetics, which can make them a good long-term investment.
Additionally, producing organic sheets may be better for the environment and workers. Many organic bedding manufacturers focus on using socially and environmentally sustainable practices that support communities while limiting the environmental impact.
Since sheets lie against the body, choosing a quality set is an important task. To help you decide if organic sheets are right for you, we’ll explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of this type of bedding. We will also discuss our favorite organic sheets while outlining some important things to consider, such as weaves, thread count, and types of fabric.
How to Choose Organic Sheets
With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for when purchasing a new set. Between marketing lingo and greenwashing in the bedding industry, finding organic sheets that truly meet high standards of quality is often a challenge.
However, there are a few key things buyers can look for to help them find quality organic sheets. From performance factors to industry certifications, we’ll walk you through how to find the best organic sheets for you.
What to Consider When Buying an Organic Sheet Set
Several factors may influence which organic sheets are best for you, including material, weave, thread count, and performance.
Weave and Knit
Weave and knit refer to how the fabric is constructed, which can ultimately impact breathability, durability, and feel. While weaves, such as sateen and percale, are composed of several threads crossing over each other, knits consist of a single interlaced thread. Weaves usually have a tighter structure with minimal stretch. Knits stretch more easily, but they may lose their shape over time.
Staple refers to the length of the cotton fibers used to create yarn for the fabric. Short-staple cotton tends to feel rougher to the touch and may pill or wear out more quickly. Long-staple fibers are typically softer and more durable. Extra-long staple fibers are usually the softest and most durable, making them more common in high-end, luxury sheet sets.
The way a fabric feels plays a large role in how satisfied you will be with your sheets. The material and weave are two main factors that determine the overall texture, weight, and softness. Determining which materials or weaves you prefer can help you find the sheets that are most comfortable for you.
Sheets that don’t fit well can interrupt your sleep and make you less comfortable. If the fitted sheet is too small, it may be difficult to put on the bed and could pop off throughout the night. If it is too big, it may be baggy, bunchy, and uncomfortable. It is important to measure not only the width and length of your bed but also the height to ensure the pocket size is correct. Additionally, you should consider how much your material of choice may shrink in the wash to ensure a lasting fit.
Setting a budget is an important step when searching for new sheets. While the price of organic sheets varies widely, the typical price range for a quality organic set is $150 to $250. Organic sheets also typically cost slightly more than non-organic bedding because these products cost more to produce. However, shoppers should note that organic materials also tend to be more durable, which can make them a good long-term investment.
Thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads in one square inch of fabric. A higher thread count is often associated with enhanced softness and durability. However, shoppers should be aware that some manufacturers manipulate their thread counts, which can give a misleading impression of the quality of fabric. Additionally, not all materials will have a thread count. While thread count may be a small consideration, shoppers should also examine other factors to find quality sheets.
Design, Color, and Pattern
Feel and performance are critical in finding the right sheets for you, but style can also be an important consideration. Finding colors and patterns that suit your style preferences can help complete your bedroom’s look. Color and pattern options frequently depend on the type of fabric and the brand. Neutrals are more widely available, particularly with organic sets.
Breathability is a key factor, particularly for those who live in warm climates or who tend to overheat. Certain fabrics, such as cotton, are naturally breathable and promote airflow throughout the night. This can help with temperature regulation by distributing heat away from the body.
Since sheets rest so close to your body and need to be washed frequently, durable materials are important. Low-quality materials may wear thin, develop holes, lose their softness, or fade in color. While most sheets will need to be replaced after a few years, high-quality organic materials will likely last longer and remain in good shape even after considerable use.
Ease of Care
Since sheets often make direct contact with a sleeper’s body, they will need to be washed frequently. With that in mind, shoppers should consider how the materials need to be handled. Organic cotton sheets are usually machine-washable, but owners should follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to reduce the risk of damage.
The increasing popularity of organic products has caused some manufacturers to exaggerate their claims as a means to raise prices or increase sales. Many sheets that claim to be “made with organic cotton” may also contain other non-organic materials.
One way to determine whether a product is truly organic is to look for trusted third-party certifications. Certifications check the products to confirm their contents. Some certifications to look for include:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): The GOTS certification holds textiles to a worldwide standard of quality to ensure a product is organic. To have a GOTS label, a finished product must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibers, which is defined as fibers grown without the use of GMOs or synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or insecticides. The standard also includes other ecological and social criteria to ensure the product is not hazardous to the environment or the workers who make it.
- GREENGUARD Gold: While the GREENGUARD Gold certification does not directly relate to organic sourcing, products with this label are tested to be free from certain chemicals and to have lower volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. This means that GREENGUARD Gold bedding has low chemical emissions and should not interfere with indoor air quality. This may be particularly important when shopping for quality, organic mattresses.
- OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100: To have the OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 label, each component of the bedding must be individually tested for an array of potentially harmful substances. While OEKO-TEX also has other certifications, the STANDARD 100 is most common in the bedding industry, so it is often simply referred to as “OEKO-TEX certification.”
What Types of Organic Sheets are Available?
There are many types of organic sheets on the market today. Buyers can choose from distinct colors and styles as well as different materials and weaves. Some common materials and weaves include:
Regular Organic Cotton: Regular organic cotton is an all-encompassing term commonly applied to organic cotton varieties with shorter staples. To ensure the cotton is truly organic, shoppers should look for products with GOTS certification.
Organic Pima Cotton: Pima cotton is an extra-long staple cotton variety that originated in South America. It is valued for its above-average durability, breathability, and softness. Supima cotton is high-quality, American-grown Pima cotton. Because of its quality, Pima cotton tends to cost more than regular cotton.
Organic Egyptian Cotton: Organic Egyptian cotton is widely regarded as one of the highest-quality cottons available. Similar to Pima cotton, it is an extra-long staple variety that is known for its enhanced breathability, softness, and durability. Shoppers should note that many bedding sets advertising Egyptian cotton are often blends since Egyptian cotton can be quite expensive. If you want pure Egyptian cotton, look for manufacturers with accreditation from the Cotton Egypt Association.
Other Organic Materials:
Organic Bamboo: Rayon, viscose, modal, and lyocell fabrics may use fibers crafted from cellulose derived from bamboo. These materials are often purported to be eco-friendly since bamboo grows quickly. However, this point is debated since they use chemical processes in manufacturing. Bamboo linen is less common, but it removes the chemical processes. Most fabrics marketed as bamboo are breathable and have a silky texture.
Organic Linen: Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant, and it typically has a crisp feel that softens over time. Linen sheets are usually more expensive than those made of other organic materials, such as cotton, but they are often more durable.
Organic Silk: Silk is known for its luxuriously smooth feel that can be beneficial for those with dry skin or hair. This material is made from the cocoons of silkworms, and it is a very durable and hypoallergenic option.
Organic Flannel: Flannel is made using thickly woven yarn that is brushed or napped to create an extremely soft and durable fabric. Flannel is known for retaining heat, which can make it comfortable for those in colder climates. Organic flannel sheets usually consist of cotton or wool.
Organic Fabric Blends: Organic fabric blends use a variety of materials to create a comfortable and durable final product with a unique feel. Shoppers should look for third-party certifications to verify the organic status of blended fabrics since some manufacturers market blended materials as organic if they contain just one qualifying material.
Sateen: Sateen is a common weave that creates a silky, wrinkle-resistant fabric with a subtle sheen and good drape. In this weave, three or four threads go over for every one thread that goes under.
Percale: Also called a plain weave, a percale weave is made when the warp and weft threads overlap in an even, one-over, one-under grid shape. This leads to a crisp and breathable fabric that softens over time. Since this weave tends to retain less heat, it is often recommended for hot sleepers.
Twill: Twill can be identified by its diagonal ribs. Fabrics that use this weave are typically heavier and more durable. While some sheet sets use this construction method, it is most often associated with denim and upholstery.
Jersey: Jersey is a knit that interlaces individual cotton yarns to create a soft, stretchy surface. This method is often used when creating articles of clothing, such as t-shirts, as well as bedding.
What are the Pros and Cons of Organic Sheets?
High-quality organic sheets tend to be more durable and eco-friendly than non-organic options, and most organic bedding is made without the use of harsh chemicals. However, quality organic products can be difficult to identify because of misleading marketing tactics, and they are often more expensive.
Who is Best Suited to Organic Sheets?
A certified organic sheet set may be a good choice for many sleepers because organic bedding is versatile and available in a wide variety of materials and styles. Organic bedding may be particularly beneficial for sleepers who are sensitive to harsh chemicals since it is often free from substances that can cause irritation.
Organic sheets may also appeal to eco-conscious shoppers who value sustainable practices. Manufacturers that produce organic sheets frequently focus on responsible and ethical production. Additionally, organic materials tend to be more durable than other options on the market, which may be a good fit for shoppers who want a long-term investment rather than a sheet set they’ll need to replace every few years.
While organic sheets offer many benefits for a wide variety of sleepers, this bedding is usually more expensive upfront, so it may be cost-prohibitive for shoppers on a strict budget. Additionally, shoppers may have to do some extra research to understand what they’re getting for their money. Some manufacturers exaggerate their claims of organic materials to boost sales, so looking for certifications can help prevent you from overpaying for a product with little organic content.
What is the Ideal Thread Count for Organic Sheets?
Thread count refers to the measure of lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Thread count can be used as a way to predict the softness and feel of a fabric.
Shoppers should note, however, that thread count is not the only indicator of the feel or quality. Many marketers play up thread count to make their products appear higher quality. Shoppers should also consider the quality of the yarns or threads, which can be as important as thread count.
However, the ideal thread count for many fabrics is between 200 and 800. Fabrics with a thread count of less than 200 may not be as soft or as durable, while thread counts of over 800 may be more likely to be artificially inflated by twisting yarns together.
The best thread count for sheets also varies based on the type of fabric and the weave, but we’ll share some general guidelines:
|Fabric Type||Ideal Thread Count|
Shoppers should note that thread count is rarely listed for linen sheets, as it is not a useful indicator for the feel or quality of the fabric. In fact, a higher thread count may make linen sheets bulky and less breathable.
Some other fabrics use other metrics in place of thread count. For example, flannel is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). Heavier and more durable flannels tend to be in the 170+ GSM range. Like flannel, jersey is measured in GSM. Most quality jersey sheets are around 150 GSM, but this can vary based on the type of material. Silk is measured in momme, which is the number of pounds in a piece that is 45 inches by 100 yards. Quality silk sheets are typically around 17-22 momme.
More Frequently Asked Questions About Organic Sheets
How long do organic sheets last?
With proper care, quality organic bed sheets can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Thanks to the superior quality of organic materials, these bed sheets typically last longer than products made using non-organic materials. Some signs that your sheets are wearing out include thinning fabric, fading color, holes, or reduced softness.
How do I wash and care for organic sheets?
It is always advisable to follow manufacturers’ guidelines to extend the life of your organic sheets. Machine washing on warm and tumble drying on low is a simple and effective way to keep many types of sheets in good condition, though some materials or weaves require special care. Always read through the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper care.
Are organic certifications necessary for sheets?
Third-party certifications are necessary for verifying that sheets are fully organic. Unfortunately, greenwashing is common in the bedding industry. Some manufacturers claim that their sheets use organic materials, but non-certified bedding may also include non-organic content, including harsh chemicals and synthetic materials. Looking for trusted certifications can help you find products that meet established standards.