Bamboo sheets to avoid

What Types of Bamboo Sheets Should I Avoid?

With the many bamboo sheets on the market, they are not always available to compare first hand in a store to look, feel and smell. It’s important not only to understand what are the best bamboo sheets to buy, but just as important what type of bamboo sheet you should avoid. We explore the qualities that you should look at and avoid when purchasing bamboo linens.

There’s a lot of confusion on the types of sustainable bamboo materials that make up bamboo sheets, and even how they are made. But for a quick summary, when looking strictly at the types of bamboo sheets you should avoid, let’s focus on materials and blends. The softness, care and sustainability will vary.

Avoid Types of Bamboo Sheets Labeled "Natural Bamboo Fabric" – It Will Not Be Soft

In fact, if you see the label: “Natural bamboo fabric”, it’s not going to be soft at all. It is a slightly coarse fabric, similar to linen and hemp. Who wants that on their skin at night?

Avoid Bamboo Rayon which has the Environmentally-Harmful Processes of Creating Bamboo Fabric

Bamboo Rayon can be environmentally harmful

Bamboo Rayon Fabric Eco-friendly? Maybe not.
Bamboo Rayon, produced via the bamboo viscose rather than bamboo lyocell process may be really chemically intensive. If you see the “Made in China” label, the manufacturer may not dispose of the harsh chemicals in an environmentally responsible way.

We’ve looked into this further and assign a sustainability score to green products we review. For bamboo sheets, see our sustainability guide to the best bamboo sheets to see what brands are eco-friendly.

Avoid Types of Bamboo Sheets Claiming to Be Antimicrobial

Antimicrobial? Maybe not too.
The bamboo rayon viscose process uses harsh chemicals to make the bamboo fibers soft. While many admire the fact that bamboo has antibacterial properties, there is no conclusive evidence these qualities are maintained once it has been through the viscose process, which is how bamboo fabric is manufactured. Those positive qualities essentially disappear.

Avoid Types of Bamboo Sheets Blended With Cotton

Bamboo vs cotton - which is better

Often bamboo is blended with cotton in a specific ratio in order to achieve the benefits of both materials. The most common blend is 70% bamboo viscose and 30% cotton, or 60% bamboo viscose and 40% cotton. Blending bamboo with cotton makes the fabric relatively stronger than 100% pure bamboo. However, in doing so, the softness of the material is compromised.

Avoiding Bamboo Sheets that are Stiff and not Soft

Avoid Percale Weave

The percale weave is a simple one over, one under pattern. It produces a light-weight sheet with a crispy feel and great fabric strength, but is not very soft.

Avoid Bamboo Linen Fiber (Manufacturing Process)

Bamboo linen uses the same manufacturing process that is used to produce common linen fabric from flax or hemp. It is a very sustainable fabric, however, it is not very soft.

Avoid Bamboo Cotton Blends

Bamboo can be blended in various ways, with the most common blend ranging from 40-60% bamboo, blended with cotton. This makes the fabric stronger than 100% pure bamboo. As a result, however the softness of the material is compromised. The lower quality 40% bamboo rayon sheets are stiff and starchy.

Avoid Bamboo Linen Fiber

Bamboo linen is a very sustainable fabric, however, it wrinkles very easily. Get your iron out if you want bamboo linen bedding, as it requires continuous ironing after washing.

Avoid Sheets that Wrinkle Easily

Avoiding Sheets that are
Not Eco-Friendly

Avoid Bamboo Rayon or Bamboo Viscose From Countries without Environmental Regulations

Bamboo Rayon or Bamboo Viscose that is made in China or other countries that don’t have strict environmental regulations, have a higher likelihood of the harsh chemicals not being disposed of properly, resulting in polluting the environment and harming people and wildlife.

Not all bamboo creates a sustainable material. The creation of bamboo fiber can be very environmentally harmful, particularly in countries that don’t have strict environmental regulations like China or India.

Positive Tips - What To Look For!

Types of bamboo sheets to avoid - what to look for

Now let’s look at what you should look for, to make a smart purchasing decision that will give you many great nights of sleep:

Bamboo Lyocell Fabric

 Bamboo lyocell bamboo bedding is the most eco-friendly type of bamboo fabric. Look for it on the label, but can be more expensive.

Bamboo Sheets with Green Certifications

Look for green certification labels such as GOTS to see if a fabric is sustainably made and Oeko-Tex certified to make sure it’s healthy for you.

100% Bamboo Viscose or Lyocell, Not Blends

The most common type of bamboo bedding is made of Bamboo Viscose. Choose 100% Bamboo Viscose rather than a bamboo-cotton blend for softness. Look at the material label to see what you are buying. By law, in the US the manufacturers can’t just mark their products as “100% bamboo”. They have to specify if it’s “bamboo rayon/viscose” or “bamboo linen” or “bamboo lyocell”.

Softest Feel - Choose Sateen Weave Bamboo Sheet

If you want the softest feel, choose a bamboo sateen weave. It produces a smooth, higher thread-count bedding with a thick, close texture and luminous sheen. However, it is a bit more delicate and requires a bit more effort in caring for your bamboo sheet.

Conclusions: Avoiding Terrible Bamboo Sheets You Will Hate

As we have seen, there are many different factors to understand what types of bamboo sheets to avoid:

  1. If you are looking for a soft feel, then avoid the bamboo linen fabric, the percale weave and the bamboo-cotton blends.
  2. If you are looking for a low maintenance sheet, then you should also avoid the bamboo linen sheet.
  3. If you care about the environment and the health and safety or workers that make the bamboo sheets, then choose the bamboo lyocell over the bamboo viscose fabric.

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What types of bamboo sheets should you avoid?
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