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Satin vs. Cotton Sheets

Several factors help determine if cotton or satin is right for you.
double bed with white sheets and pillows image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com

There are many different kinds of sheets to choose from. Color choice is not the only decision that has to be made--fabric choice is equally or more important than color choice, and some people find they cannot choose between satin or cotton sheets. Each type of sheet has its own advantages and drawbacks that can help you determine which fabric type is right for you.


One of the differences between satin and cotton sheets is the way they feel during different seasons. Satin is made from synthetic materials and holds heat more than cotton, making it a better winter fabric. Cotton is all natural and usually very light and airy, making it a better summer fabric. However, in cooler climates satin can work year round, just as cotton can work year round in warmer climates.


Satin sheets typically cost more than cotton. However, some expensive weaves of cotton, such as Egyptian cotton, can also be expensive. It is up to each individual buyer whether or not the silky feel of satin is worth the extra price. Cheaper forms of cotton, however, can have a stiff, uncomfortable feel, which should also be taken into account before deciding on a type of sheet to purchase.


Satin is usually made from acetate or polyester. Both of these materials are synthetic, which is how the fabric can achieve such a silky and smooth feel. Cotton sheets are made from cotton fibers, although sometimes a blend of polyester and cotton or cotton and bamboo fibers are used. The best cotton sheets are made from 100 percent cotton. Polyester satin is usually silkier than acetate satin.


There are several factors to consider when weighing satin versus cotton sheets. Weight plays a large role in sheet choice. Lighter-weight fabrics, such as satin, contour to the body. This means that the sheet will drape over almost every line of the body. This can get uncomfortable for some people who like more freedom at night. Heavyweight cotton sheets usually produce a tent-like feel, which does not stick to the body as much. Some cotton sheets are of a lighter weight, however.


There are benefits to both kinds of sheet. There is an old wives’ tale that says that sleeping on satin is good for your skin and hair. Stain can sooth dry or irritated skin because it feels cool and glides right over the skin. On the other hand, cotton sheets will not pill, which creates a bumpy, uncomfortable sleeping surface. Cotton is also durable and easy to maintain.

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