Bedding and Sleepwear Fabrics to Avoid - and Their Eco-Alternatives

Bedding and Sleepwear Fabrics to Avoid - and Their Eco-Alternatives

by Mike Schaefer May 31, 2020

Are you getting enough sleep?

Studies say we should: it helps improve our productivity and strengthen our immunity, among other advantages. The secret behind a good night of sleep?Having comfy and cozy bedding and sleepwear. But how comfortable are the fabrics you sleep with?

While at it, how sustainable are they?

It is certainly not an easy task choosing the best fabric, whether you are shopping for sleepwear or bedsheets and pillowcases. Here’s a list of bedding and sleepwear fabrics to avoid and their eco-alternative to help give you a better night's sleep.

Fabrics to avoid

Polyester is one of the most common synthetic fabrics in the market. It is a polymer with non-biodegradable plastic fabric. The production process of polyester is also not sustainable because of the use of toxic chemical dyes. But it is not so hard to see why this fabric still makes it in the fashion industry. Many will prefer polyester fabric for its durability, strength, easy and fast to wash and dry, and its resistance to stretch. This fabric is, however, water-resistant which means that it does not absorb moisture. If you sweat through the night, then a polyester fabric is one of the fabrics you need to avoid. The ability to retain
sweat through the night will not only cost you a comfortable night of sleep but also puts you to a higher risk of having skin irritations.

It is also a polymer made from petroleum and coal and requires intensive energy during its production. The manufacturing process of nylon also results in the release of nitrous oxide, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Like polyester, it is easy to see why many go for nylon fabrics, It is stretch, tear-resistant and durable. Like Polyester, however, Nylon is also water-resistant, which makes it a bad fabric choice for bedding and sleepwear clothes.

Unlike the previous fabrics which are synthetic, rayon is a natural occurring fabric. It is also referred to as viscose, and it is made from the pulp of fast-growing plants and trees. Although rayon is from naturally occurring resources, the production of turning the wood pulp into a usable fabric is not environmentally friendly. This process involves the usage of harsh chemicals that also help in strengthening the fabric. Despite the environmental issue of this fabric, rayon fabric is still used in producing bedding and sleepwear products. For starters, it is more affordable compared to cotton and has a soft feel, like silk. Why isn’t it an ideal fabric for your beddings? Viscose is moisture absorbent and usually requires drycleaning. Also, the fabric is not durable due to its weakness and gets weaker when wet.


Today more and more products are being made of bamboo fibers - some acheiving an oeko-tex certification. But most of them are certified only for potential chemical residues that could reach the consumer. It doesn't take into account the chemicals that are used in the production process - and as you might expect turning wood fiber into soft fabric takes alot of treatment. For us, bamboo textiles need the oeko-tex certifications (step and made in green) which certify the process as well. There are ways to make bamboo textile in an eco-friendly way (using mechanical processes instead of chemicals), but as of today, they are very expensive and rarely available commercially. Based on that, we don't think that bamboo textile as they're done today can be considered eco-friendly. 

The eco-alternative fabrics for bedding and sleepwear

The sustainability of your wardrobe goes beyond your official and casual wear. Your bedroom wardrobe needs to be sustainable as well, and there is no shortage of eco-friendly fabric for beddings and sleepwear.

It is one of the most natural fibres from the cotton plant, whose usage spans for centuries. What makes it eco-alternative bedding and sleepwear fabric? Well, apart from being a natural product that grows in abundance, it is also biodegradable. Cotton fabric is an excellent fabric choice for bedding and sleepwear because it is lightweight, soft, breathable, easy to wash, and durable.
There are different types of cotton, with some types being more durable and softer than the others.

Egyptian cotton, for example, is the softest and most luxurious cotton. Pima cotton ranks second in terms of quality and its softness while American upland cotton (100% cotton) has a lower quality but is still soft.

If you are not looking for a vegan fabric, then wool is a good choice. It is an animal-based fabric and is an excellent eco-friendly choice. Wool is a natural and renewable resource from the hair of sheep or goats. Here is what makes wool an excellent fabric choice for your beddings and sleepwear: it is soft, and makes for an excellent insulator wicks moisture. It is also highly breathable. There are variants of wool in the market, and some will cause itchiness.
The best wool to go for is the Merino wool, which is very popular in sleepwear, activewear, and underwear.

It is a natural and highly renewable fabric from the silkworm cocoons. As a natural fabric, silk does not require any harsh chemical dyes.
The softness and luxurious look of the silk fibres is what we all desire in our wardrobe. So, why not include that royal look in your bedroom as well and enjoy a comfy night of sleep while at it? Silk is also strong, lightweight, and an excellent thermoregulator, meaning it will keep you warm or cold at night, depending on the temperatures. However, you will need to dig deeper into your pockets to
maintain this fabric. To maintain the durability and luxurious feel, you will need to regularly dry-clean your silk bedding and sleepwear.

This is also a luxurious fabric but is excellent bedding and sleepwear fabric for anyone living in hot areas or during the summer. Linen is a plant-based fabric from the flax plant fibres. It is a natural and eco-friendly fabric. Linen is excellent bedding and sleepwear fabric thanks to its breathability and softness. It is also cool, durable, and stronger than cotton.The downside is that it wrinkles quite easily, but with regular ironing, you are good to go.

 Ultimately, there are quite a few options for eco-friendly bedding and sleepwear fabrics. Some are more breathable than others, but that does not mean they are not good. You can spice up your bedroom with more than one type of eco fabrics and use them depending on the season. Regardless of your choices,ensure the fabric suits your style and helps you have a comfortable night.

Thanks to the folks at for submitting this article to us!

Mike Schaefer
Mike Schaefer


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