Tencel Vs Cotton – Which Should You Choose?
Buying bedsheets in Malaysia can be a tough decision. The differences in choosing a suitable fabric for sleep may seem minimal but you can’t deny that a good night’s sleep can have an effect in your work performance the next day. Most are familiar with Cotton and TENCEL™ is a relatively new player in the textile industry. However, both are heavy weights when it comes to bedding material. In this article, we pit TENCEL™ vs Cotton and their differences, so you know which to choose when shopping for your bedsheets.
What is Cotton?
Cotton has been the go-to fabric for bedsheets due to its smooth, comfortable touch at affordable prices. It is made from the fluffy fibre of the Cotton plant and has been used for a very long time in all types of fabric production for at least the last 7000 years. Cotton has reigned as the king of fabric and is often seen as a gold standard for bed linen material.
What is TENCEL™?
TENCEL™, also known as Lyocell is produced from Eucalyptus or Beech wood. The wood is chopped into chips and then soaked in water where the cellulose is dissolved. Non-toxic solvent water is added, and the pulp is heated where the liquid evaporates to form a viscous solution. It is then filtered and forced through spinnerets to produce TENCEL™ fibre.
Touch and Feel
TENCEL™ is smoother to the touch and feels softer than Cotton. It is ideal for those with sensitive skin as the smoothness feels good against the skin. Cotton too is comfortable, however takes time to get softer with each wash. It also can feel scratchy and cause a rustling sound when you rub against it.
We all want a durable material for our bedsheets. How does Cotton match up against TENCEL™? Complex weaving is required to produce Cotton and this process contributes to the strength in Cotton. It takes multiple washings, daily wear and tear to create rips or tears in Cotton sheets. TENCEL™ on the other hand, is more wrinkle resistant and is also less likely to shrink or lose its shape in the wash. It is very long lasting and is not prone to thinning with time.
TENCEL™ is produced from Beech and Eucalyptus which are fast-growing trees from FSC-certified plantations, which are sustainable. Thus, no arable land that could be used for food production is used to make TENCEL™. As compared to Cotton, about 30 million hectares of land worldwide is being used for Cotton cultivation.
Also, very little water is needed for producing TENCEL™ while Cotton needs a large amount of water. In addition, TENCEL™ is made with a closed loop process where loose fibres are recycled back into the material, so it does not produce much waste back into the environment.
If you are environmentally conscious, TENCEL™ is more sustainable in its production process compared to Cotton.
If you live in a tropical climate or if you are prone to sweating, this would be an important difference between TENCEL™ and Cotton to consider. TENCEL™ again has the upper hand here – its hydrophilic quality allows it to wick moisture away from the body, keeping the body cool while you are sleeping. Cotton is also a comfortable material when it comes to enduring heat due to its breathability, but it is not as absorbent as TENCEL™
TENCEL™ sheets are low in maintenance but when compared to Cotton, it requires a little more care. You need to select a delicate cycle wash option on your washing machine accompanied with cold water temperature. A mild detergent is recommended but any detergent that does not contain bleach or stain removers should also do the job.
Cotton can be washed in the washing machine and dryer and stains on the fabric can be removed from the cloth without the need of a special detergent or certain water temperature. Though warm and hot water is recommended for Cotton in light or white colours whereas cold water helps maintain the darker colours from bleaching out from heat.
Although choosing TENCEL™ or Cotton for your bedsheets is entirely up to your preference, you can consider the fabric’s coolness, maintenance and its environmental impact to help you make your decision.