The 5 Best Sustainable Bamboo Sheets of 2021

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Bamboo is an amazingly versatile plant; it can be made into modern flooring, compostable plates, and even fabric, once it’s gone through either chemical or mechanical processing. The latter process is uncommon and results in a linen-like material. More commonly, bamboo is chemically processed into a soft, silky, breathable material. Some people also say it’s especially cool to the touch. 

Determining whether a set of bamboo sheets fits fair labor and environmental criteria is complex. That’s why, with only one exception, we’ve only included sheets here that meet either USDA Organic or STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX, which tests all components of a textile for harmful substances to ensure that the article is “harmless for human health.”

Ahead, the best sustainable bamboo sheets.

The Rundown
Made from a signature bamboo lyocell sourced from FSC-certified forests and mailed in reusable packaging.
These all-bamboo sheets feature durable details, including elastic all the way around the bottom sheet for a better fit.
The bamboo used is strictly sourced from USDA-certified organic farms.
This 100% organic bamboo and OEKO-TEX-certified set looks and feels luxurious—despite its low price.
Four different types of 100% bamboo sheets, all sourced from the company's bamboo farm that uses 0 pesticides.

Best Overall: Ettitude Bamboo Lyocell Sheet Set

Ettitude Bamboo Lyocell Sheet Set

Thread Count: 1,000 thread count equivalent | Certifications: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, FSC

Ettitude’s bamboo sheets are made from what the company calls CleanBamboo, a signature bamboo lyocell sourced from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Lyocell is made in an even more low-impact way than viscose due to the type of solvent used, which is more recoverable and uses less water. The sheets are mailed in reusable packaging, and the company donates 1% of its profits to environmental organizations.

They come in a wide variety of sizes and rich, unique colors, including two striped styles. You can test the 1000 thread-count sheets out for 30 days as part of Ettitude’s 30-Night Sleep Trial. Ettitude also offers matching bamboo duvet covers separately.

Good to Know

It’s often touted that bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial, meaning it will be less smelly during use (since body odors are caused by bacteria). This is partially true, but being less smelly is down to the viscose fabric that bamboo becomes. In tests, viscose generally harbors less odor-causing bacteria than cotton does. Since viscose can be made from a number of plant materials, it’s not the bamboo that contributes to the low-odor effect, but bamboo sheets will have this attribute.

Best Variety: DTY Luxuriously Soft 100% Bamboo Sheet Set

DTY Luxuriously Soft 100% Bamboo Sheet Set

Thread Count: 320 thread count | Certifications: OEKO-TEX®

DTY’s bamboo sheets come in all the standard bed sizes, as well as California king, plus a huge variety of colors. The all-bamboo sheets feature details that speak to durability, including double-folded hems and elastic all the way around the bottom sheet for a better fit. DTY also offers king and queen-size pillowcases for sale separately, for those with multiple pillows on bigger beds. The manufacturer says these sheets are made with organic bamboo, however they don't list an organic certification.

Best Organic: Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheet Set

Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheet Set

Thread Count: 320-450 thread count | Certifications: USDA Organic

These sheets only come in white, but that’s by design since Cozy Earth touts them as being both chemical- and dye-free. The bamboo used is “strictly sourced from USDA-certified organic farms,” according to Cozy Earth, which goes into detail about how the company is in touch with every part of its supply chain. These sheets are packaged in reusable packaging, and Cozy Earth offers a 100-night trial, free shipping and returns, and a 10-year warranty against discoloration and pilling. There's also a bamboo comforter to go with the sheets.

Best Budget: Bambpure 100% Organic Bamboo Sheets

Bambpure 100% Organic Bamboo Sheets

Thread Count: 300 thread count | Certifications: OEKO-TEX®

Made from 100% bamboo, these sheets offer 300 thread count softness. They are double-stitched for durability and come in a variety of colors (a range of neutrals plus a couple of vibrant shades). They have a sateen finish that looks and feels luxurious—despite its low price. The fitted sheet in this set is also fully elasticized and designed to fit deep mattresses up to 16 inches thick, and also has an extra elastic strap in the corners to keep the sheet in place.

Note that, as with all sheets, you will want to read and follow the care instructions. The manufacturer says the bamboo is organic, but it doesn't list an organic certification.

Best Textile Variety: Cariloha Classic Bamboo Sheets

Cariloha Classic Bamboo Sheets

Thread Count: 230-400 thread count | Certifications: OEKO-TEX®, Simpli Zero carbon neutral

All Cariloha bamboo products are OEKO-TEX-certified and come from the company’s 10-square-mile bamboo farm in the hills of the Sichuan Province in China that uses 0 pesticides. The company offers four different types of 100% bamboo sheets: Classic, Resort, Resort Percale, and Aloha Soft.

Classic is a soft twill sheet in 230 thread count that comes in five colors. Resort is an even softer sateen weave and comes in eight colors. Resort Percale is more structured with a matte finish and only comes in white. Cariloha makes a number of other bamboo bedding products including blankets, mattresses, and pillows.

Final Verdict

Our top choice for bamboo sheets is Ettitude’s Bamboo Lyocell Sheet Set (available at Ettitude.com), for its variety of colors and robust certifications. For a less expensive option, we like Bambpure’s Organic Bamboo Sheets (available at Amazon).

What to Look for in Bamboo Sheets

From a sustainability perspective, bamboo can be a more earth-friendly choice, but it isn’t always. While bamboo is a fast-growing plant that doesn’t require fertilizers or pesticides, the chemical process it goes through to become viscose (aka rayon) can be more or less water-wasteful and toxic depending on the chemicals—and like any manufacturing process, the people doing the work may or may not be fairly compensated. Below, we lay out four key things to consider as you shop.

Certifications

Look for certifications that ensure your bamboo sheets are safe and sustainable, like FSC, USDA Organic or OEKO-TEX. Learn more about sustainability certifications.

Thread Count

This will be noticeably lower than cotton sheets, but that’s because viscose is softer from the get-go than cotton. So, a thread count of between 250 and 350 for a 100% bamboo sheet will result in a nice soft touch, equivalent to a higher thread count in cotton. 

Textile Composition

You’ll commonly find 50/50 bamboo and cotton blends, and sometimes you might come across bamboo and poly blends or other fabrics simply labeled “microfiber.” But 100% bamboo sheets are your best bet if you want all the benefits of bamboo, like less odor and cool, silky sheets. 

Weave

You’ll find bamboo sheets that come in twill and sateen. Sateen, as the name implies, is silkier, but this can mean you slide around in bed more (which some people might find comfier, others less). Sateen is slippery enough that it can also make beds hard to keep neatly made. Twills are going to act a bit more like cotton sheets, with which you may be more familiar.

FAQs

What is the best way to wash bamboo sheets?

Bamboo sheets have shorter fibers than the cotton that’s usually used to make sheets, so if you want to keep them soft, treat them gently. That means (unless you’ve been ill, have bedbugs, or get mud or dirt in your sheets from marauding pets) you shouldn’t wash your bamboo sheets in hot water. Washing in cold water will mean less wear and tear on your sheets (hot water shrinks and stresses fibers more). 

Using cold water will save money on utility bills and reduce use of fossil fuels and CO2 as well. Consider line-drying for even more savings, especially since sheets usually dry pretty fast and often get wrapped around themselves in the dryer, leading to a double drying session. Line drying, especially in the sunshine, makes sheets smell amazing. 

Bamboo sheets may feel a bit stiff when you take them out of the washing machine — don’t worry, this is normal and the sheets will soften as they dry. In fact, due to those shorter fibers, you don’t need to use fabric softener with bamboo sheets either. 

Do bamboo sheets pill?

Those shorter fibers can cause some pilling in bamboo sheets, usually if they are washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer. Cut down on pilling by cold-water washing and a medium dryer or line-drying. 

How do bamboo sheets compare to cotton sheets?

Cotton sheets are probably slightly better for temperature regulation, but many people like the super-soft feel of bamboo — so whether you prefer crisp or cozy sheets is a personal preference. 

Both cotton and bamboo sheets that are labeled USDA Organic which means they have been produced in ways that are approved by the Organic program. “These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering are not allowed,” according to a USDA spokesperson. Bamboo sheets go through a more intensive processing by which the bamboo becomes lyocell or Modal, but part of that process also allows them to hold color over time compared to cotton sheets which fade faster.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Starre Vartan has been covering sustainable consumer products for 15 years, 10 of those with Treehugger (under the MNN brand). She’s also a science writer who has covered biotech, astrobiology, animals, and space for a variety of publications including Scientific American and National Geographic. She has personally tested compostable packaging in her backyard compost heap, a variety of solar chargers, hybrid cars, and other products meant to leave a lighter footprint.

View Article Sources
  1. Callewaert, Chris, et al. "Microbial Odor Profile of Polyester and Cotton Clothes After a Fitness Session." Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol. 80, no. 21, 2014, pp. 6611-6619. doi:10.1128/AEM.01422-14