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Polyester vs Microfiber vs Cotton Sheets: Which Material is Best?

polyester vs microfiber vs cotton sheets

Choosing the right material for your sheets is important, right? Yes, of course. Because we usually spend almost one-third of our day in bed.

So when I wanted to buy new sheets, I got stuck between these options: Polyester, Microfiber or Cotton.

It did seem a difficult choice to make. But once I considered the qualities that I needed or did not need, it became a pretty simple choice to make.

In short, cotton sheets are the most desirable when it comes to aesthetic feel, breathability and smoothness on the skin although polyester sheets are durable and affordable. Microfiber sheets, however, can be a great alternative to cotton since they offer the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and maintainability.

Read also: Microfiber Sheets Pros and Cons

Polyester vs Microfiber vs Cotton Sheets Compared 


If you’re just looking for something that stays put for a very long time, look no further. Polyester it is.

Both regular polyester and micro fiber fabric are way more durable than cotton.

Fabrics made out of polyester are relatively water resistant, dirt resistant and they tend to retain their color for a long time when compared with cotton.

The only downside is that when reacting to oil, they form stains that may be too difficult to clean.

So if there’s a chance of oil spilling on your sheets, better stay away from polyester. But otherwise, polyester and microfiber simply outperforms cotton in terms of durability.


A very closely related quality is washability. Since polyester is water resistant, it doesn’t hold water, it doesn’t become as heavy as cotton fabrics when wet.

On the other hand, micro-fiber sheets are like a sponge and can hold up to seven times their weight of water.

And they also give up water faster too – about three times quicker than cotton sheets

This makes microfiber sheets easier to wash and it also dries faster than cotton. So if you’ll have to wash your sheets often, better choose microfiber sheets.

And also, Polyester and microfibre sheets stay in shape and don’t tend to wrinkle as much as cotton does, which is an added bonus.


Pilling is the formation of small bobs on the surface of the fabric. Pilling is considered an eye-sour in the textile world.

Over time, all three types of sheets tend to start pilling and it primarily depends on the quality of the fabric.

If the sheets are made with a high thread count (like >400) and come from a good manufacturer, then pilling should be minimal.


Breathability refers to the ease with air can flow through the sheets.

Polyester sheets tend to trap the heat and hold the moisture inside on usage. This makes breathability poor in polyester

It means if you sweat a lot or stay in a place of humid climate, your sweat will not get off your skin quickly.

Cotton, on the other hand, has high breathability thus it helps keep your skin get rid off you sweat and keep you cool.

Microfibers too like cotton have a better breath-ability than regular Polyester sheets

So it depends on whether you want yourself cool and dry – cotton, or warm and moist – polyester


Although both cotton and polyester are processed materials, cotton is more natural than polyester, which is a completely artificial material.

So if you’re looking for the feeling of being one of nature, choose cotton over polyester.

Cotton is soft on the skin, it feels warm and cozy.

So if you’re that person who likes to sleep in with an old cotton t-shirt because it’s just so comfy, cotton sheets are easily the pick for you.

Also, the more you wash and iron, cotton sheets feel more cozy and crisp.

Polyester and microfiber can cause skin irritation for those with a sensitive skin.

So in that case, it wiser to choose cotton.


But again such a rich feeling of comfort and luxury comes with a higher cost.

Cotton is made from natural resources whereas polyester fabric is artificially made. So cotton especially egyptian and pima cotton are very expensive.

Meanwhile, polyester and microfibers can be mass produced at a faster rate and in a lower production cost compared to cotton.

Therefore polyester and microfiber sheets are usually only half as expensive as cotton sheets.

So, What’s Better – Polyester Microfiber or Cotton?

cotton vs Polyester microfiber
Yarn running in the machine

Cotton sheets are a more natural option and offer better breathability. However, polyester sheets have come a long way and I actually have felt some microfiber sheets that feel better than cotton. In general though, cotton tends to feel better on the skin. Microfiber sheets more durable than cotton and usually a bit cheaper but there is not a big difference in price.

Polyester Microfiber sheets are a great option but if you are against chemicals, have allergies or are a hot sleeper then you should go for cotton sheets.

Not all sheets are created equal and it is important that you choose a high-quality product. I personally like to shop in Amazon because I can read customer reviews and be sure to receive a sheet set you’re happy with.

What Are the Best Cotton Sheets in 2018?

Thread Spread True Luxury 100% Cotton Sheet Set

Best Premium Sheets 

Made from one of the world’s finest cotton, these sheets are a must for the ones who want an absolutely luxurious bedtime.

They might seem too expensive for being just a bed sheet but you won’t regret after spending a night in them.

They’re very breathable and  their softness really can get you addicted to Egyptian Cotton.

It has a thread count of 1000 and you don’t have to worry about pilling. The dye too doesn’t fade away even after many washes.

They also have elastic features at the corners so that you can easily snug them onto your bed.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price

California Design Den 100% Cotton Sheets

Best Sheets Overall

These sheets have a thread count of 400 and are made of Indian Cotton. Although they may seem less exquisite than more expensive ones, they still give you the luxurious hotel suite feel.

As with any great cotton sheet, they are breathable and are extremely comfortable to sleep in.

They also have elastic features for snugging the sheets on to the bed.

At its price point, you simply won’t get any better sheets than this.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price

What Are the Best 100% Polyester Microfiber Sheets in 2018?

Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Bed Sheet Set

Best Budget Sheets

These are made of brushed microfibers which are 100% polyester. They are very durable and are easy to wash.

Being made of microfibers they are surprisingly breathable and are very soft on the skin.

In fact, these microfiber sheets are the best selling sheets on Amazon and have over 42 000 reviews! That’s a lot! It’s also worth mentioning that they come with a lifetime guarantee that you’ll love them.

They’re also inexpensive, feel luxurious and very low maintenance. Wrinkle, stain, fade resistant and hypoallergenic.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price

Sweet Home Collection Extra softPolyester Microfiber Sheet Set

There are things life that are inexpensive but not cheap, if you know what I mean. These sheets are just an example of that.

They provide the luxurious feel, they wash well and they’re breathable.

The best part is they don’t wrinkle! As with other models, they offer elastic features for snugging onto the mattress.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price

So basically, if you are the kind of person who wants the best of the best and doesn’t mind spending a lot in the process, then the Thread Spread True Luxury is the one for you.

These sheets will definitely make you feel like a medieval king when you sleep on them.

The California Design Den Cotton Sheets on the other hand also offer rich man’s bed feeling but at a price which is commonly affordable.

At last, if you are not much into this “love natural – hate synthetic” thing, you can go for either the Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Bed Sheet Set or the Sweet Home Collection Sheets.

Both of these sheets are very inexpensive and offer you a comfort which is way more than what you’d expect at this price.

FAQ About Polyester Microfiber and Cotton 

Below are a few commonly asked questions when choosing between cotton, microfiber and polyester.

What is a Thread Count?

A thread count is simply the number of threads that a fabric contains in one square inch of fabric. This gives us a basic idea of how densely the fabric has been weaved.

Usually, the higher the thread count, the better the durability and softness of the fabric.

What is warmer cotton or polyester?

By warmer, I consider literally “warmer”. If you are living in cold climate, polyester sheets will keep you more warm than cotton ones. This is because polyester is less permeable to air and water when compared to cotton.

Is Polyester waterproof?

Polyester especially microfiber allows very little water to get absorbed into it. But it is not totally waterproof.

How to wash microfiber sheets?

Microfibers sheets need to be washed without any detergents or fabric conditioners to last long. Just soak them in warm water and hand wash them.

If you use a washing machine, make sure you wash them separately without any washing powder.

See more polyester microfiber sheets available on Amazon

See more cotton sheets available on Amazon

microfiber or polyester


Polyester vs Microfiber vs Cotton: And the winner is…

So to put things to a conclusion, the once difficult choice between polyester microfiber, and cotton becomes easy when compared side by side. You just have to decide what qualities of the fabric are important to you.

Our ever-beloved cotton is still is the material of choice by providing us with a comfortable and enjoyable sleep even when the weather is humid.

But although polyester scores a bit lower in breathability, the polyester-based microfiber sheets recommended above are wonderful options to consider.They’re surprisingly breathable, comfortable and durable. Being cheaper than cotton, microfiber sheets can be a great alternative to cotton ones.

So there you go, in which sheeets are you gonna sleep tonight? Polyester microfiber or cotton? 

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