What Is The Difference Between Linen And Cotton?

Linen vs. Cotton

Linen sheets or cotton sheets? That is the question. 

Both linen and cotton sheets rank highly for comfort, absorbency, and breathability. Both are soft, luxurious, and help you get a good night’s sleep. Although linen bedding is slightly more expensive, it is much more durable than cotton, promotes unique health benefits, and is better for the environment.

Keep scrolling to find out the main points that will help you decide whether linen or cotton sheets are a better option for you.


While linen and cotton are both natural fibers, linen is more sustainable than cotton. That’s because the flax plant is resilient and can grow in poor soil, using significantly less energy and water in its consumption. Flax also doesn’t require any chemicals to grow, while pesticides and fertilizers are often used in the growing process of cotton (doesn’t apply to organically grown cotton).  


When it comes to breathability, high thread count cotton has a tight weave that doesn’t allow for as much air circulation. Linen fibers, on the other hand, are hollow, so air can easily circulate through the fabric, providing optimal breathability.


Studies have shown that because linen fibers are longer, linen is twice as strong as cotton. When washed and cared for properly, cotton sheets will last around 5 years before showing any signs of wear, while linen has the potential to last up to 2-3 decades before needing to be replaced.


When we touch cotton sheets, we immediately feel the softness and luxurious feel of the material. Linen, on the other hand, can feel somewhat rougher at first but softens with each wash. 


Both linen and cotton are highly absorbent fabrics. Cotton absorbs up to 25% of its weight in moisture, while linen absorbs up to 20%. 

Health benefits

One aspect that draws a number of people to linen bedding is the fact that it is hypoallergenic: perfect for those who have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies. Cotton sheets aren't known to have any health benefits like linen, but they are gentle to the skin. 


Cotton doesn’t conduct heat, and because of this, you may end up getting a little too warm during the night. Linen, however, has natural thermoregulatory qualities that keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. 


The price of both fabrics is remarkably similar for high-quality sheets. Although linen sheets tend to be slightly more expensive, the investment will be worth it due to their durability and unique health benefits.


Conclusion: Linen sheets vs. cotton sheets

Needs significantly less energy and water for plants to grow
Needs lots of water and pesticides for plants to grow
Breathability Highly breathable Slightly less breathable
Durability Very durable and strong Durable but not as strong as linen

A bit rough at first, but softens with each wash

Soft right out of the box
Absorbency Highly absorbent Slightly more absorbent than linen
Health Hypoallergenic No health benefits
Keeps you cool in hot weather and warm during the colder months
Keeps you warm in winter but you may over heat during the night
Texture Rougher texture
Smoother than linen
Wrinkles Wrinkles more Wrinkle easily but not as much as linen
Cost Slightly more expensive than cotton Cheaper than linen, but price varies based on the type of cotton and the weave of the fabric



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