It’s tempting to pick out the cutest floral pattern or the boldest stripes when you need to purchase a new set of bedsheets, but for long-term comfort in your bedroom, you should make a decision based on the type of fabric you select. You probably want to know a good bit about each kind of cloth before making a final decision. For example, what are microfiber sheets, are they good, and are they breathable?
Microfiber is a synthetic fabric composed of tiny polyester threads woven tightly into a thin, smooth fabric even more lightweight than silk. Microfiber bed sheets are known for their soft feel, durability, and affordable pricing. However, they are also characterized by a lack of breathability.
In this article, you’ll find out how microfiber sheets are made. You’ll also get to compare these sheets to other popular types of bed sheets such as cotton and flannel. Finally, you’ll get some tips on finding the best sheet sets for your home!
What Are Microfiber Sheets?Microfiber sheets are a popular, affordable bedding option usually made from a super lightweight form of polyester. No matter what material it is made from, this fabric always features very thin yarns. In fact, a fabric must have yarns less than one denier thick to be considered microfiber!
These special thin yarns give the fabric its light, silky feel that creates a comfortable bed sheet.
Indeed, microfiber sheets are often seen as the economical option, while cotton sheets star as the luxury option. That said, advances in the textile industry have gone a long way to making high-class synthetic sheets competitive with cotton or other natural fabrics.
For example, today you can buy microfiber sheets in either percale or sateen weave, depending on your preference. Percale weave has a cottony, crisp feel and features the typical over-under weave of most woven fabrics. Sateen weave uses a special method to move the weft yarns to the top of the fabric to create a tight, satiny finish that drapes elegantly and feels silky to the touch!
Perhaps most importantly, this man-made, synthetic fabric costs much less to manufacture than a natural kind of cloth-like cotton. This means that microfiber sheets cost less than most other options on the market.
What Are Microfiber Sheets Made Of?
Microfiber sheets can be made of many different materials. The term “microfiber” refers to the style of using very thin yarns in the weave, not a particular material, such as cotton or silk. That said, most microfiber bedding contains polyester, nylon, or materials made from wood pulp.
It’s also common to blend two or more types of material, like polyester and cotton, to make sheets that contain the best characteristics of each type of cloth.
Microfiber is made by producing synthetic threads so thin and weightless you almost can’t see them without a magnifying glass! Each fiber weighs less than one denier, which is a special fabric term to describe the weight of one silk fiber. This kind of fabric has to weigh less than silk!
What Do Microfiber Sheets Feel Like?
The best microfiber sheets feel smooth and satiny to the touch. Because the fibers used are so thin, you will feel only the smooth expanse of the fabric instead of the individual threads. With this bedding, you should expect softness instead of the crispness of cotton.
Thread count and the type of material used can impact the softness of these sheets. Low-quality microfiber sheets can have a plasticky or coarse feel.
Ideally, your sheets will have a high thread count and the perfect satiny surface. They will not stick to your skin in hot weather.
Are Microfiber Sheets Good Quality?
Microfiber sheets vary in quality, just like cotton or flannel sheets. Some of the factors that determine the quality of these sheets include thread count, the brand, and the overall feel of the fabric.
Generally speaking, a higher thread count means softer bedding. You may also want to factor in the brand of the bedding. Well-known brands have a reputation on the line and may provide better quality bedding.
Besides this, every type of fabric has its unique qualities. Microfiber offers softness, durability, and wrinkle resistance. If you like these qualities, you are more likely to like these sheets!
Of course, ultimately, you get to decide if you like the texture and feel of the fabric. You may want to consider purchasing just a pillowcase from the brand you like to try out the feel of the fabric. If you like it, you can purchase the whole bedding set!
Are Microfiber Sheets Hot?
Microfiber sheets can feel quite hot because their synthetic threads impede airflow and trap your body heat against your skin. If you often feel chilled while sleeping, this quality might please you! On the other hand, if you suffer from night sweats or usually feel hot while sleeping, you may need to find a more breathable fabric for your bedding.
Lack of breathability usually ranks top of the list as the greatest flaw in this fabric. Indeed, you won’t get the cooling effect of a crisp cotton sheet from microfiber bedding. That said, these sheets can provide an affordable, comfortable source of warmth in the winter!
Are Microfiber Sheets Cool?
Microfiber sheets will not keep you cool as you sleep, but they do provide great moisture-wicking for heavy sweating. This happens because synthetics like polyester do not absorb moisture; they simply allow it to evaporate into the air.
Cotton sheets will feel cooler but will soak up your sweat and remain soggy for a long time. For this reason, lots of brands promote synthetic fabrics as the most effective way to handle night sweats.
It’s true that microfiber sheets will not provide a cooling sleep experience, though, so you may need to look elsewhere if that is what you want.
What is Brushed Microfiber?
Brushed microfiber feels like very soft flannel. It has a soft, velvety texture created by scraping metal brushes over its surface during the manufacturing process. Some forms of this fabric are brushed on both sides for even more softness!
Brushed microfiber, sometimes also called micro flannel, is much softer than cotton flannel. It has millions of tiny fibers brushed up to the surface. Cotton has thicker threads, so brushing it to create flannel does not raise as many soft thread fragments to its surface.
The downside to brushed micro flannel sheets is that they tend to lack breathability. The biggest advantage, on the other hand, is their softness and warmth.
Microfiber Sheets Pros and ConsIf you’re still considering whether microfiber sheets are good or bad, take a quick look at his summary of the pros and cons of this type of bedding.
- Affordability. Let’s be honest: cost is a big factor in any purchase decision! Synthetic materials cost much less to produce than natural materials. This means you can buy this type of bedding for way below the market value of a cotton or satin sheet set.
- Softness. Great microfiber feels soft and smooth to the touch because of the millions of thin threads woven into them.
- Durability. The best microfiber holds up well through many washing machine cycles. Its synthetic threads also resist ripping or tearing.
- Wrinkle resistance. If you love making your bed and smoothing your hand over that perfectly smooth top sheet, this quality could be a deal-breaker! Unlike cotton, microfiber resists wrinkling and maintains a smooth, satiny surface.
- Pill-resistance. Most synthetic fabrics resist pilling quite well. You won’t get those annoying little nubs of material balling up on the surface of your sheets!
- Lack of breathability. The synthetic fibers in this material trap air against your skin and can make you feel hot while you sleep.
- Quality issues. Low-quality microfiber may feel plasticky to the touch. It can also wear out quickly in the wash.
- Allergy issues. If you have sensitive skin, the chemicals used to create synthetic fibers may irritate you. That said, if you have dry skin, you might love the softness of this synthetic fabric!
What is a Good Thread Count for Microfiber Sheets?
The best thread count for microfiber sheets is anywhere between 200-800. That said, the grams per square meter provide a better indication of quality.
Look for the GSM on the package or in the product description before making a purchase. A high GSM indicates more thread density and a stronger, more durable sheet.
As you learned earlier, the construction of the material makes a big difference, too. You can often choose from percale or sateen weave or jersey knit. Each weave has a different feel.
The finishing process used on the sheet will create a special feel, too. If you like ultra-softness, look for brushed micro flannel!
Bamboo vs Cotton vs Microfiber Sheets: What’s the Difference?
Bamboo, cotton, and microfiber sheets all have unique characteristics. Learning a bit about each type of fabric will help you select the bedding best suited to your tastes.
Microfiber lacks breathability and traps heat. It works great in chilly weather or for people who like to sleep warm!
Cotton has naturally porous fibers and allows air to pass through its weave quite easily. It provides a cooler sleep.
Bamboo sheets rank somewhere between the other fabrics for breathability. It has natural air gaps in its fibers but is not quite as breathable as cotton.
ComfortIt’s tricky to claim that one type of material offers more comfort than another. That said, you can compare the way each kind of fabric feels and choose the feel you find most comfortable!
Microfiber sheets feel soft and satiny. They also have remarkably lightweight and thin texture. If you like to feel an airy, silky cloud is wrapped around you, you might like the kind of comfort microfiber sheets provide!
Cotton sheets have been the winner of the comfort contest for a long time. They provide a smooth, crisp feel. The best cotton sheets have special long-staple fibers that twist into smooth, strong yarns and have a luxuriously soft texture.
Bamboo sheets offer a softer texture than cotton. This may be hard to believe, but, several fabrics, like rayon, come from wood pulp! This fabric makes a great, soft sheet that also provides comfortable airflow, as you saw earlier.
Microfiber wins all the contests for durability, so long as you purchase a quality fabric with a high GSM. The synthetic fibers in this fabric do not fade, rip, or tear easily. They can hold up to a lot of washing as well.
Cotton lasts a long time. It does wear out eventually from washing, as its natural fibers relax and loosen eventually. The good news is that the softening of the natural fibers makes these sheets more comfortable over time!
Bamboo sheets last quite a long time with the proper care. Some companies claim that a typical bamboo sheet may last up to six years! They do require some finicky cleaning procedures, though.
Friction and long-term wear can cause little nubbins of thread to appear on the surface of some fabrics. This pilling may irritate your skin if you like super-smooth sheets.
Microfiber has excellent pilling resistance. This depends somewhat on the thread count and GSM of the fabric, though. Low thread count sheets tend to have a looser, coarser weave, which can catch and pill more easily.
Cotton fabric does pill over time. Again, high thread count makes a difference here! Generally speaking, though, synthetic fabrics resist pilling much better than cotton.
Bamboo sheets, unfortunately, may also pill slightly, especially during their first wash.
Temperature control usually depends on the breathability and moisture-wicking properties of your sheets.
Microfiber sucks at breathability. Sadly, there’s no way around that! On the other hand, it does great at moisture-wicking and can provide relief for anyone who sweats a lot while sleeping.
Because of these qualities, this fabric does not provide as much temperature control as cotton.
Cotton’s natural fibers offer both breathability and a high absorption level that give you excellent temperature control. Cotton does remain damp for a while, though, as it lacks the moisture-wicking capabilities of synthetic fabric.
Bamboo fabric rocks at temperature regulation. This is its greatest strength! The micro gaps in bamboo fibers allow natural ventilation, and the process used to manufacture the fabric also makes these sheets moisture-wicking!
Microfiber has a high stain resistance because its synthetic fibers do not easily absorb moisture.
Cotton, sadly, stains quite easily. Its natural and porous fibers soak up pretty much everything!
Bamboo also resists stains pretty well, though oil-based stains may prove trickier to remove.
Color FastingColor fasting means how well the dyes stay in a fabric without fading. Here’s a quick rundown on how vibrantly each type of sheet maintains its dyes!
Microfiber sheets are not technically colorfast, but they do hold dyes better than cotton. They will not fade after they are washed and dried many times. Even the color in these sheets is durable!
Light-colored cotton sheets do well in hot water, but one trick for maintaining a dark color is to wash the cotton in cool water. Otherwise, your cotton sheets will fade over time.
Bamboo sheets often bleed the first time they are washed and dried. After that, they should hold their color for multiple washings.
Microfiber sheets are so durable that they are easy to care for. You can wash them in a washing machine on a regular cycle multiple times without damaging them, so long as you bought quality sheets, to begin with! Plus, synthetic fibers like to snap back into their original alignment, so these sheets are wrinkle-resistant!
On the other hand, your typical cotton sheet is plenty durable enough to hold up to many washes, but it will grow softer and more worn over time. High thread count or long-staple cotton sheets may last longer through more washes.
Bamboo sheets require more careful care. You can wash them, but you must use cold water and wash them alone, without any items with zippers or hooks that could catch on the sheets. They often bleed color and shrink a bit during the first wash, and they tend to wrinkle.
Microfiber sheet sets cost about half the price of cotton sheet sets, generally speaking. Organic bamboo sheets often price out around the same range as Egyptian cotton sheets or Pima cotton sheets.
Price varies widely depending on the quality of the material, the brand, and the size of the sheet set. For example, a twin set has a lower price than a king-size set!
Microfiber Sheets vs FlannelThe warmest type of microfiber sheets come in style called either brushed microfiber or micro flannel. This material is softer and more affordable than flannel but lacks breathability. Micro flannel also maintains its softness for longer than regular flannel because its synthetic fibers provide extra durability that most natural fibers lack.
This velvety fabric offers many other benefits, too! It sheds less than cotton flannel, doesn’t shrink in the wash, and resists staining.
On the downside, it doesn’t absorb liquids, meaning that it can get sticky if you sleep with moisturizer on or sweat a lot during the night. It also does not allow airflow, making this kind of sheet too warm for some sleepers.
The bottom line is that microfiber gives you lots of warmth at a low cost. It provides more softness than cotton flannel but can grow sticky and less comfortable over time.
Best Microfiber Bed Sheets Reviews
To find the best possible sheets, make sure you read the package label or product description thoroughly. Look for the GSM and check the thread count. Finally, have fun picking out a color and pattern that match your home!
Let’s take a quick look at a couple of sets to give you an idea of what you can find on the market today.
Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Bed Sheet SetThis four-piece sheet set features brushed microfiber made of 100% polyester. It comes in various sizing options, all with an elastic that wraps around the edge instead of just fitting the corners. You can also select your favorite of forty-two different colors and patterns!
Better yet, these sheets have an 1800 thread count and a percale weave. They offer wrinkle and stain resistance. You can easily care for them by throwing them in a normal wash cycle.
Most importantly, you can expect a satiny feel and luxurious comfort as you sleep on these sheets!
6 Piece Hotel Luxury Soft Bed Sheets SetHave you ever stayed at a hotel and felt like you got the best night’s sleep of your life? Chances are you experienced a high-class set of sheets like these! This six-piece set features a fully elasticized fitted sheet with deep pockets for a taller mattress. The 1800 thread count and tight weave give these sheets a special softness.
You can select from five different sizing options and five shades of color that range from white to a more practical taupe. Just like hotel products, you can also expect these durable sheets to withstand frequent washing without fading or wrinkling.
As a unique touch, the flat sheet has a classic Z-fold hem as well!
In a nutshell, microfiber sheets are affordable, super soft, and highly durable. You may find you like these qualities so much that you prefer this kind of sheet over a more expensive option like cotton!
Cotton sheets do offer more breathability, and bamboo sheets provide greater temperature regulation. You will have to choose which characteristics you want most in your sheet set!
What kind of sheet do you like best? Leave a comment below to let us know!