The Great Sheet Debate: Linen or Cotton?
We've all used one or the other, and most of have a preferred sheet material or thread count. Both cotton and linen have excellent and not so excellent qualities; which one you use really comes down to your preference; though each material has its proponents and opponents.
There is no question that both materials are quite comfortable and offer a variety of uses; the preference really lays in the buyer/user and what they need. There are numerous factors, including thread count, economics, manufacturing, and environment that play a role in why people purchase one sheet material over the other.
There are numerous reasons buyers might purchase linen sheet over a cotton sheet, or vice versa, but what feels the best is often the greatest determiner of which sheet someone prefers. Both materials are natural fibers that have long, well-established histories. Both have played a large role in import and export over the years, and both have been used as bedding literally as early as ancient Egypt and beyond.
Linen derives from the plant called flax which is grown in the colder climates of the world, such as western and northern Europe. Its use spans thousands of years and many civilizations. High quality linen is usually more expensive than cotton, though this isn't always the case.
Though traditionally grown in colder climates, linen is an excellent warm-weather sheet material. It soaks up body oil without creating any discomfort, and allows your skin excellent breathing space. It is also useful in cooler weather, and can be used in both very cold and very warm environments.
Cotton, too, is as old as time, and has been traditionally cultivated in warmer environments around the world. From tropical climates up to the hot, humid climate of the southern United States, cotton has been one of the world's largest exports many times over.
Cotton is a great material for any weather, though certain types of cotton materials can be too warm for hot weather. But cotton sheets in general are all purpose, and fit numerous environments from the coldest to the warmest climates. Cotton tends to be less expensive than linen unless you buy Egyptian cotton, which is highly valued because of its texture and high thread count.
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