Which is better for your bed, cotton or linen? It’s a debate as old as the hills and one Molly could waffle on about for hours (yippee!). Both are natural fibres and make great sheets, but both have very different qualities and also feel very different.
So, before you get your duvet in a twist deliberating the ayes and nays of each, take a deeper look into what makes both these materials so brill.
Look and Feel
Made from flax fibres, linen has been grown for thousands of years and is one of the world’s oldest and most prized fabrics; it was even the textile of choice for Roman togas! Thought of as nature's wicking fibre, linen has unique filtering, moisture-absorbing and evaporative qualities, making it resistant to bacteria and the perfect non-allergenic bedding (try saying that with a mouthful of biscuits). Simply put, linen can absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture before ever feeling damp, making it a fab choice for warm sleepers or those with sensitive skin.
Bulldogs, Mick Jagger and your much-loved sweater that’s always within arm’s reach, all prove wrinkles are great. That's why, despite linen being notoriously prone to creasing, we think every crumple adds to its charm. Perfectly imperfect, each piece of our 100% linen range is individually dyed, laundered and hemmed for a rustic finish that makes our bedding truly unique.
However, if you’re a stickler for polished perfection and a crease-free bed, our cotton collection is the one for you. The cotton plant yields fluffy clusters called bolls that once woven, make fibres that are significantly finer than linen and can be woven together into a higher thread count fabric with many finishes from silky to soft, sateen to smooth. Unlike linen, which softens over time, cotton is at its cushiest the moment it’s removed from the packaging.
Care and Cleaning
Like all good things, linen gets better with time, and softer with each wash! For maximum snuggability, we recommend washing at a cool temperature with fabric softener. Then, get the bunting out, because one of the best things about 100% linen is there’s no need to iron. Throw it straight from the line onto your bed and try and resist jumping in.
Caring for cotton requires a little more effort, especially if you want to achieve percale’s crisp finish. It’s best not to wash your sheets with non-textile items (no trainers or zips please!) and to avoid overloading your machine as this can damage your washer and break down the fabric's fibres. Dry flat or on a washing line, then use a medium to hot iron to smooth your folded pillowcases, duvet covers and flat sheets. Fitted sheets can be ironed on the bed, but if you have a polyester topper or mattress test a small area first as it may stick. To turn ironing into a treat rather than a chore, pour a glass of vino and whack the radio up.
Bang for Your Buck
Cotton sheets are typically the cheaper of the two because cotton is more widely produced and costs less to manufacture. Our flax is grown in France and finished and dyed in Portugal with the rest of our bed linen. However, it’s certainly a lengthy, labour-intensive process. First, the flax is harvested, then it’s dried, the seeds removed, and the longest fibres from the stalk extracted. Finally, these are knitted together to form the textile. Linen is also the more environmentally friendly option, due to it needing little irrigation to grow.
We spend such a large portion of our lives in bed with the average person sleeping for 229,961 hours in their lifetime (that’s a heck of a lot of zzz’s), so making the right bedding choice is certainly important. But, in the end, the choice between cotton and linen really does come down to personal preference, and if you’re still unsure, why not try both?