The right sheets are essential for a good night’s sleep. There are many materials available, such as cotton, microfiber, linen, bamboo, and more. Each of these fabrics has their pros and cons and it’s indeed the fabric that largely determines the quality of the sheet. This time we will zoom into microfiber, a synthetic material that is in many ways different from natural materials like cotton and linen. So let’s shine some light on what are microfiber sheets, what are the pros and cons or microfiber sheets, and what are the best microfiber sheets to buy.
⭐Best Microfiber Sheets to Buy ⭐
Before we dive into what microfiber sheets are, here are the best microfiber sheets if you’re looking to buy one
- Best overall: Bare Home double brushed microfiber sheets
Highlights: Excellent color and size selection, super soft
- Best value: LBRO2M soft and comfy microfiber sheets
Highlights: Double pillowcases, thin, extremely soft
- Best luxury: Sonoro Kate great quality microfiber sheets
Highlights: Very deep pockets, double brushed, shrink and wrinkle free
- Best cooling: Royal Hotel cotton-microfiber blended sheets
Highlights: Breathable, silky soft sateen weave
- Softest: IR Imperial Rooms excellent fitted sheet
Highlights: Fitted sheet only, super soft
What Are Microfiber Sheets?
As you probably guessed, microfiber sheets are made out of… you guessed it – microfiber. Microfiber is a man-made fabric rather than a natural one, like cotton or linen. The most usual microfibers for bed sheets are polyesters or polyamides.
Microfiber sheets consist of finely woven fibers with a denier of less than 1. You’ve likely come across this term on stockings packages with the abbreviation den. Denier is the unit to measure for linear mass density. It is the mass in grams per 9000 meters of the fiber. Just to bring a comparison, light summer stockings are usually 8-10 denier and fine silk measures approximately at 1.25 denier. So microfibers are truly fine, with their less than 1 denier.
Thread Count vs GSM
Keep in mind that thread count is not a way to measure the thickness of a microfiber sheet. Thread count is something that describes cotton sheets and some other natural fabrics. For microfiber thickness, keep a lookout for GSM – grams per square meter.
The higher the GSM, there more fibers there are in the sheet and the heavier it is. Usually the GSM of microfiber bed sheets falls between 55 and 120. The lower ones are more thin, the higher ones more thick and heavy. But similar to the thread count of cotton sheets, a high GSM is does not necessarily indicate a high quality sheet. What matters is the quality of the material. There are some excellent microfiber sheets out there that are thick and have good quality.
Ignorance is not always bliss
Most people are not aware that GSM is the term that describes the thickness of microfiber sheets (not thread count). And sellers are well aware of this. So when you read a description of a microfiber sheet, you will almost always see a high number like 1800 somewhere. But if you pay close attention, it’s usually not followed by thread count or TC. That’s simply because it wouldn’t make any sense for microfiber sheets. It’s actually a quite cunning way to trick people into thinking that the number refers to a thread count. Your brain automatically adds these two words into the description, because it has seen such constructions in similar contexts in the past.
A high thread count is often, and mistakenly, automatically considered as high quality. And that’s a neat way to trick people into buying low quality sheets, without actual false advertising. After all, adding a number to the product description doesn’t mean anything. It’s the buyers who construct the idea of a thread count around the large number. There are also some sellers who make it a bit easier for others. They explicitly say that the microfiber sheet has the feel of a 1800 thread count. Which is more correct.
Polyester is a synthetic material that is derived from petroleum, coal, air and water. The name consists of two parts: poly comes from Greek and simply means “many”, while ester is a basic organic compound. Polyester has extremely wide usage. Although the biggest market is in clothes manufacturing, it is also used for making plastic bottles, holograms, films, threads, for insulating purposes and as a finish to many high quality wood products, such as pianos and guitars.
But let’s come back to clothes. Just think of the famous shiny disco suits of the 70s. That’s polyester in all its glory. Or consider yoga pants that have taken over the globe in the last decade. You can find polyester in almost anything – just go to a regular clothes shop and check the tags. Chances are you’ll have trouble finding an item that does not have polyester listed among the materials.
Bedding is another category where polyester is abundant. It has certain advantages over natural fabrics, like cotton. To name a few, it does not absorb moisture, so you don’t have to worry much about stains. Polyester sheets are sometimes preshrunk during the finishing process which means that they will not shrink later when you wash them. That’s one less thing to worry about. More on the pros and cons of microfiber sheets below.
Nylon is a synthetic polyamide and a highly durable material. Thanks to its strength and resistance to water it is used to make fishing nets, ropes, tents, sails, as well as plastic machine parts, toothbrushes cookware etc. The textile industry is also rich in nylon. It’s lightweight and water resistant, so perfect for sports jackets and swimwear.
Nylon bed sheets are not the most common microfiber sheets. But you can still find some of them. The biggest advantage is certainly the strength of the fabric. Nylon sheets are extremely strong and you won’t have to worry about ripping them. They are also easy to dye, which means that you can choose between a variety of fun and colorful sheets. There are many more characteristics we will cover in the next section about the pros and cons of microfiber sheets.
Pros and Cons of Microfiber Sheets
As with anything, there’s a good and a bad side to this fabric. We already covered some of the advantages in the previous sections about polyester and nylon. We’ll look at them in a little more depth here. And also bring out the negative aspects.
Pros of Microfiber Sheets
Microfiber sheets are cheaper than bed sheets made from natural fabrics. That’s because they’re a man made material and can be produced on demand. There’s no need to bother with growing, harvesting, spinning and weaving, as with natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or bamboo. So if your budget is limited, microfiber bed sheets are definitely a more friendly way to go. Just don’t go crazy chasing the lowest price. Otherwise you’ll end up with bad quality sheets that you will soon need to replace.
The individual microfiber is fairly weak on its own. But as microfiber sheets have a very tight weave, the whole sheet actually becomes much more durable. Of course, the sheet has to be made from good quality microfiber. If the quality is low, even a very tightly woven sheet won’t last long. You want to stay away from that. Low quality sheets will tear easily and you will have to start searching for a new sheet after a few months. Usually the sheet price reflects the quality as well. You probably want to stay avoid the cheapest products on the market. The price is low for a good reason – usually the material is simply rubbish.
It’s fairly easy to care for microfiber sheets, due to some of their core qualities. First, microfiber is not fond of water. Second, a microfiber sheet is very tightly woven. Together these qualities make sure that you won’t have to worry much about stains. If you spill some liquid on the sheet, just wipe it away as fast as you can and you should be in the clear. If stains do find their way into the sheet, it’s unfortunately almost impossible to get them out. So be sure to act quickly. Also keep in mind that oil acts differently and can easily leave marks on this fabric.
Microfiber sheets can be washed and dried in regular washers and dryers. They do not need special attention in this area. As a thin fiber also makes for a thin sheet, it takes little time for these sheets to dry. Especially when compared to natural fibers. Another bonus that comes from their thinness is purely practical – the sheet takes less room in the laundry hamper, as well as in the washing machine.
One less thing to worry about is ironing. Microfiber sheets are usually pretty much wrinkle free, so you can put them straight on your bed after taking them out of the dryer.
If you’re one of those people who is easily gets cold or you’re just living in a colder climate, microfiber sheets can be a true savior. They’re so tightly woven that air does not easily move through them. So they retain the natural body heat that you emit. They’re great at keeping you warm throughout the night.
Microfiber sheets are well known for their smoothness. One might even say that they are silky smooth. This gives them a truly delicate feel.
Microfiber sheets hold dye very well. So the color will not wear out, instead it will remain vibrant even after many washings. Since it is able to hold color well, you can choose from a variety of shades and patterns. Natural bed sheets have a smaller color range available. So if you’re looking to liven up an otherwise grim bedroom, microfiber sheets are a great choice.
Although it is possible that microfiber sheets also pill, this is usually not the case with good quality ones. There are a few processes that prevent bed sheets from pilling. One of them is singeing, which means that the loose fibers that are sticking out from the surface of the fabric are burnt. The second process is mercerizing, which improves the luster and strength of the sheets.
Cons of Microfiber Sheets
Microfiber is a man-made fiber, it does not breathe well. This means that the sheets will easily become hot. They are definitely a poor choice for sweaty sleepers or for hot climates. If you do tend to get hot during the night, microfiber sheets will make you feel like you’re sleeping between luxurious and pretty plastic sheets. But there is also an upside to this, as we saw earlier. As this fabric tends to keep heat, they are a great option if you get cold easily.
Not suitable for sensitive skin
Another drawback of a man-made fiber, such as microfiber, is that it does not suit people with sensitive skin. So if you have easily irritated skin or you have other skin issues, like eczema or psoriasis, it’s best to avoid microfiber sheets. Go with a natural material instead. Otherwise you might end up with rashes or itching skin.
Not very environmentally friendly
Microfiber sheets are not a renewable resource, nor are they biodegradable. Nylon and polyester are made from petrochemicals and are not very environmentally friendly. There are some other microfibers that are renewable, such as Prolene which is made of polypropylene, but this material is not used in bedding. If you’re keen on living a greener lifestyle, you may think twice about getting synthetic fabric.
Microfiber also contributes to water pollution. Every time you wash microfiber sheets, or any other clothes made of microfibers for that matter, some tiny fibers become loose. They make their way to your local wastewater treatment plant and the fibers themselves are so small that the filters do not catch them. Eventually, the fibers end up in our oceans. They’re not biodegradable, so they stick around and often fish end up eating them.
How Good Are Microfiber Sheets?
So exactly how good are microfiber sheets? There’s no clear cut answer to this question. You have to weigh the pros against the cons and decide what is more important to you. If you’re looking for bed sheets that are cheap, easy to care for and last for a long time, go with microfiber sheets. Just make sure they’re actually good quality microfiber sheets. But if you have sensitive skin, tend to sweat more during the night, or want to leave a lighter environmental footprint, go for a natural fabric like bamboo, cotton or linen.
Microfiber sheets versus cotton sheets
|Breathability||Doesn’t breathe well||Breathes well|
|Durability||Sheets with a higher GSM are more durable||Long-staple cotton can last for years, |
short-staple cotton wears out quicker
|Maintenance||Very easy to care for||Fairly easy to care for|
|Cost||Generally less expensive than cotton sheets||Generally more expensive than microfiber sheets|
Microfiber sheets are a synthetic, man-made material. How will you know if this is the right fabric for you? You’ll just have to consider your needs. These sheets have certain pros to them: they’re affordable, can be durable, easy to care for, keep you warm, won’t pill and retain their color.
At the same time they have their cons also: they don’t breathe well, don’t always suit sensitive skins and are not environmentally friendly. As you now know what microfiber sheets are and what pros and cons they come with, we hope it’s easier for you to decide if this is what you’re looking for.