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Are microfiber sheets good?

Microfiber sheets have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their soft, smooth feel and affordable price point. But are these synthetic sheets actually good quality and comfortable to sleep on? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of microfiber bed sheets to help you decide if they are the right choice for your bedroom.

What Are Microfiber Sheets?

Microfiber sheets are made from extremely fine synthetic fibers that are thinner than silk fibers. These thin microfibers allow microfiber sheets to have a very high thread count compared to cotton or linen sheets. Here are some key facts about microfiber fabric:

  • Made from synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon.
  • Lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying.
  • Often have a thread count between 300-1,500.
  • Smooth texture with a suede-like finish.
  • Resists pilling, wrinkling, and shrinking.

The Pros of Microfiber Sheets

There are several benefits that make microfiber sheets an appealing choice for many consumers:

Soft and Silky Feel

The incredibly fine threads in microfiber fabrics create an ultra-soft, almost silky feel. Many people find microfiber sheets feel gentler against the skin compared to stiff, rough cotton sheets.

Durable and Long-Lasting

Synthetic microfiber material is inherently quite durable. It resists pilling, fraying, and wear from daily use and washing. With proper care, a quality set of microfiber sheets can last for many years.

Easy to Clean

Microfiber repels dirt, dust, and other allergens naturally. Microfiber sheets can be washed frequently without losing their softness or color. They are generally easy to remove stains from as well.

Affordable Pricing

Due to the low cost of manufacturing synthetic fibers, microfiber sheets are significantly cheaper than luxury cottons and linens. Shoppers can outfit a bedroom with microfiber sheet sets for a fraction of the price of premium bedding.

Lightweight and Breathable

The thin construction of microfiber makes the sheets lightweight and breathable. This allows air to circulate and helps sleepers stay comfortably cool throughout the night.

The Cons of Microfiber Sheets

However, there are some downsides associated with microfiber sheets to be aware of:

Pill Quickly When Low Quality

Lower quality microfiber sheets are prone to pilling, which is when small fiber balls form on the surface. However, choosing a mid-weight or heavyweight microfiber can prevent pilling issues.

Not as Absorbent as Cotton

While microfiber sheets are moisture-wicking, they are not as highly absorbent as natural fibers like cotton. People who tend to sweat a lot at night may find microfiber retains more moisture.

Can Feel Too Slick

For some people, microfiber’s ultra-smooth, almost slippery texture can be too slick and provide less traction. Cotton sheets often grip better.

Heat Retention

Microfiber does not breathe as well as linen or cotton. As a result, microfiber sheets may cause some individuals to sleep hot, especially in warmer weather.

Static and Cling

Synthetic materials like microfiber are prone to static build up and tend to cling more than natural fibers. This can be annoying for some sleepers.

Not Environmentally Friendly

Microfiber sheets are not biodegradable like cotton and most synthetics are made from chemicals and non-renewable resources. This makes microfiber less eco-friendly than other sheet options.

Different Types of Microfiber Sheets

Not all microfiber sheets are created equal when it comes to quality, feel, and price. Here are the main types of microfiber bed sheets:

Type Weight Weave Price
Ultra-lightweight 60-79 GSM Plain $
Lightweight 80-119 GSM Plain or Sateen $$
Midweight 120-179 GSM Plain or Percale $$$
Heavyweight 180+ GSM Percale or Jacquard $$$$

The GSM refers to grams per square meter, which indicates the density and weight of the fabric. As a general rule, heavier microfiber sheets (measured in higher GSM) will be more durable and higher quality. Different weave patterns like percale and sateen also impact the feel and benefits.

Microfiber Sheet Thread Count

Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads woven into one square inch of fabric. For microfiber sheets, the thread count typically ranges from 300 to 1,500 threads per square inch. Here’s how it compares to other sheet fabrics:

Fabric Typical Thread Count Range
Microfiber 300-1,500
Cotton 200-800
Linen 180-280
Silk 400-600

However, a higher thread count does not always mean better quality. For microfiber sheets, anything above 600 is likely inflated and not indicative of extra softness or durability. The construction of the sheet has more impact than thread count alone.

Are Microfiber Sheets Breathable?

One common question around microfiber sheets is whether they sleep hotter than cotton or linen. Microfiber does tend to be less breathable than natural fabrics due to the synthetic fibers. However, it also depends on the weave and weight of the microfiber sheets.

Lightweight microfiber with a loose plain weave will be the most breathable and airy option. Heavier microfiber sheets with a tighter weave tend to retain more heat. Overall, microfiber sheets are moderately breathable, but likely won’t sleep as cool as linen or cotton sheets.

Microfiber Sheets Care and Durability

To get the most life out of microfiber sheets, follow these care tips:

  • Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle. Hot water can damage synthetic fibers.
  • Use a mild detergent without bleach.
  • Never use fabric softener or dryer sheets. They leave residue on microfiber.
  • Tumble dry on low and remove promptly to prevent wrinkling.
  • Press with a cool iron or steamer if needed.

With proper care, microfiber sheets can easily last 5-10 years or longer. The synthetic fibers are inherently durable and resistant to fading, stains, shrinking, and damage from washing.

Microfiber vs. Cotton Sheets: Key Differences

So how do microfiber sheets compare to popular cotton bed sheets? Here are the main differences:

Microfiber Cotton
Price Very affordable Mid-range to expensive
Feel and Texture Ultra smooth and silky Soft and breathable
Durability Highly durable Prone to some wear
Breathability Moderate Very breathable
Year-Round Use Better for summer Good year-round
Care Wrinkle and stain resistant Higher maintenance

Overall, microfiber sheets tend to be smoother, more affordable, and easier to care for. 100% cotton sheets are more breathable, making them better for year-round use. Choosing between the two comes down to individual sleep preferences.

Are Microfiber Sheets Good for Winter?

Microfiber sheets can work well in winter months, but they may not be the best choice for cold sleepers. The synthetic material retains more heat compared to breathable cotton, linen, or bamboo sheets. Those who run hot or live in a cooler climate would likely be more comfortable with natural fiber sheets in winter.

However, microfiber sheets do have benefits for winter use. The smooth finish slides well under blankets and allows for cozying up under the covers. The moisture-wicking properties also help sleepers avoid feeling clammy or damp. With breathable cotton pajamas and enough blankets, most people can sleep comfortably on microfiber sheets even in winter.

Do Microfiber Sheets Soften Over Time?

Yes, microfiber sheets will usually soften up after multiple washes. Brand new microfiber often feels slightly crisp and rough. But after 3-5 washes, the fibers relax and the sheets become supple and silky smooth.

Washing in hot water can speed up the softening process. But temperatures over 140°F may also damage or shrink the microfiber over time. For the safest approach, launder new microfiber sheets on warm or hot washes during the first 1-2 uses. Then switch to gentler cold water cycles to preserve longevity.

Are Microfiber Sheets Better Than Egyptian Cotton?

Egyptian cotton is considered the gold standard for luxury sheets. The long cotton fibers create an exceptionally soft, breathable, and durable sheet with a high thread count. Egyptian cotton sheets cost far more than microfiber.

So in terms of sheer quality and prestige, Egyptian cotton beats out microfiber. However, microfiber sheets offer an affordable alternative for budget-conscious shoppers. And advances in microfiber construction have closed the gap in terms of softness and comfort.

For those willing to splurge, Egyptian cotton remains the top choice. But most sleepers can enjoy the silky smooth feel of quality microfiber sheets for a fraction of the investment.


Microfiber sheets offer both advantages and disadvantages compared to other common sheet fabrics like cotton. Key benefits include softness, durability, easy care, and affordability. The main drawback is that microfiber is less breathable, especially for hot sleepers.

Microfiber sheets make a great choice for guest rooms and kids’ bedrooms since they’re budget-friendly and easy to launder. For your main bedroom, assess whether you sleep hot and prefer natural fiber sheets before choosing microfiber. Seek out mid-weight microfibers with a percale weave for the most appealing balance of comfort and temperature regulation. With proper expectations, microfiber sheets can be a worthwhile option for outfitting beds affordably.