Summer is on its way, which makes it the perfect time to think about refreshing your bedding for the new season. To confuse matters, there are now more sizes, colours, and materials for bed sheets than ever. While OLARA has a stunning range of luxurious bamboo sheets, pillowcases, and duvets covers, if you are new to bamboo, you might not know what to look for in bamboo sheets, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
Bamboo – fast-growing and very popular
Over the last few years, we've seen an incredible increase in the popularity of bamboo material. The significant popularity growth is due to bamboo's soft, lightweight feel, its fast-growing and sustainable nature, and its hypoallergenic properties.
However, while the benefits of bamboo sheets are apparent, many people find it hard to distinguish good quality bamboo fabric from bad quality bamboo fabric. Not all bamboo sheets and bedding are of the same quality – there are many variations in quality. To get the best sheets for you, you must first identify the material and weave of the bamboo sheets you're considering.
With many sleep experts now recommending we get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, knowing how to pick high-quality bamboo sheets is critical.
Let's start by looking at bamboo's main features. We've created a list of some factors to consider before deciding which type of luxury bamboo bedding is right for you. Knowing the material's type and weave allows you to distinguish between low- and high-quality bamboo sheets.
What about thread count?
If you're looking at cotton sheets, thread count is essential, as there is a massive difference between 180 and 1000 thread counts in fabric feel. Bamboo fibres are much different to cotton fibres, so when comparing bamboo sheets with cotton sheets, 350 thread count bamboo is approximately equivalent to 1000 thread count cotton.
Most bamboo fabric has a thread count between 150 and 400 (American Standards). At OLARA, we use 500 thread count by Australian standards (or 400TC by American standards) – this is at the premium end for bamboo material, meaning it doesn’t get smoother or softer than our sheets.
The weave and fabric quality are other important factors to consider when selecting bamboo sheets.
Here are the three most commonly available varieties of bamboo fabric:
100% Bamboo Viscose: many bamboo sheets available in shops are 100% bamboo viscose. This type of material offers the most benefits. They are soft and very durable. However, ensure you buy your 100% bamboo viscose sheets from an environmentally conscious manufacturer that uses strict effluent treatment protocols.
100% Bamboo Lyocell: sheets made from 100% bamboo lyocell material are highly sustainable. To produce bamboo lyocell, you dissolve raw bamboo with a non-toxic solvent. While durable, sheets made from 100% bamboo lyocell are typically less soft than 100% bamboo viscose sheets.
Bamboo blended with cotton: combining bamboo with cotton in a specific ratio creates a fabric containing each material's benefits. A typical blend is 70% bamboo viscose and 30% cotton or 60% bamboo viscose and 40% cotton. While blending bamboo with cotton makes the fabric more robust than 100% pure bamboo fabric, some of bamboo's inherent softness and breathability is often compromised.
Besides the material type, the fabric's weave is often a key determiner of the bamboo material's quality. The weave affects the fabric's appearance and feel. The two most common weaves available in the market are bamboo sateen and bamboo twill.
Bamboo Sateen: sateen is a three-yarn-over, and one-yarn-under weave used to produce lustrous, smooth, and higher thread count bedding with a close, thick texture.
Bamboo Twill: a twill line or diagonal rib identifies bamboo twill. Like other twill weaves, bamboo twill is a short, tight, and very fine weave. While twill is not as soft as bamboo sateen, bamboo twill is still softer than bamboo cotton blend sheets.