Fresh white bed sheets

Antimicrobial Bed Sheets Guide

Author: James Higgins

We might be over the worst of the recent pandemic, but it’s never been more important to keep our homes clean and free of germs. This is especially important in the bedroom, which should be a haven for relaxation and comfort - fortunately, it’s easier than you might think, with antimicrobial bed sheets promising to keep your bedroom fresh. 

But what exactly are antimicrobe sheets, and are they really worth investing in? We decided to investigate… 

In this article, we’ve explained what antimicrobial technology is, and how it’s applied to bedding, as well as why you should buy them, how antibacterial bed sheets stack up against regular alternatives, and whether they actually work. 

What are antimicrobial bed sheets?

An increasingly popular sleeping solution, antimicrobial bed sheets are exactly what you’d expect. They’re sheets that are manufactured using a microbe-resistant formula, which is blended with the fabric to provide a fully repellent textile (though, there are natural alternatives available, such as bamboo – which is actually among the best antimicrobial bed sheets!). 

To look at, antimicrobe bedding appears almost-exactly the same as every other bed sheet on the market – the difference is, you’re protected from allergens, bacterial growth, lingering odours, and staining. Antimicrobial fabric isn’t limited to bed sheets either; you can get mould and bacteria-resistant duvet covers, pillowcases, and mattress protectors, too. 


Woman making a bed

What is antimicrobial technology in bedding?

Put simply, antimicrobial technology is designed to attack and kill microorganisms. Bed sheets – and other types of bedding, for that matter – are common breeding grounds for mould, mites, bacteria, and fungi, due to the warm temperatures and moist, hospitable environment (especially if you suffer from night sweats). 

This bacterial and fungal growth can contribute to skin and respiratory conditions, which can in some cases worsen over time if left untreated. Fortunately, antimicrobial technology in bedding is effective at combatting unwanted microbes, keeping your sheets cleaner for longer. 

How is it applied to bed sheets?

As referenced above, unless naturally occurring, to turn regular fabric into antimicrobial bedding, you need to add extra ingredients into the manufacturing process. A common example is silver chloride, which is an odourless formula also found in some sportswear and apparel. Essentially, the antibacterial formula in your treated bed sheets will combat the microbes, to both weaken them and prevent them from multiplying. 


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Why should you invest in antimicrobial linens?

They’re resistant to mould, bacterial growth, fungi, and germs, but what are the long- and short-term benefits of antimicrobial sheets, and how can you create a healthier, cleaner sleeping environment? 

  1. Increased freshness

Constantly killing and combatting the effects of microbes, this type of bedding remains fresher for longer, which means you’re sleeping in a consistently cleaner environment. Which should put your mind at ease as your rest your head at night!

2. Reduce washing frequency

Because antimicrobial bedding remains fresher for longer, you don’t typically need to wash it as frequently. For instance, if you wash your standard bedding weekly, you may only need to spin your antimicrobe sheets twice a month. Of course, if you notice stains or smells before then, it doesn’t hurt to wash your sheets anyway!

3. Fight allergens

Bacteria, mould, and fungi will often trigger skin or respiratory allergies, such as eczema or asthma – even if you’re never shown signs or symptoms - so choosing bedding fabrics that actively combat microbes and diseases can help to keep you healthier and reduce the risk of a flare up. 

4. Eradicate odours

Microbes can contribute to strong and unpleasant odours, especially within the warm and moist confines of your bed sheets. As such, choosing antimicrobial bedding that combats bacterial, mould, and fungi will significantly reduce the smells coming from your sheets.

5. Reduce staining

Just as microbes are known to contribute to foul-smelling odours, they’re also commonly responsible for yellow staining on bed sheets, which can quickly disrupt the clean aesthetic you’re likely going for! Even if you shower before bed, the chances are you’re going to transfer germs to your sheets, so having bedding that’s specifically designed to combat these microbes reduces the risk of staining. 

6. Durability

Reduced staining and odours, combined with reduced washing frequency, can help to increase the lifespan of your bed sheets, which means you’ll not need to replace them as often. With this in mind, it’s worth investing in a high-quality, antimicrobial bedding set, even if it’s a little costlier than you’d expect (though, there are options to suit all budgets). 

Do antimicrobial bed sheets work?

Of course, while it’s interesting to know the theory of how antimicrobial bed sheets combat bacterial, mould, or fungal growth, you’re most likely interested in whether they actually work in practice…

In short: yes, bedding that’s branded as antimicrobial is generally genuinely effective at killing microbes. Each sheet, duvet cover, and pillowcase will have likely undergone several rounds of testing, to guarantee its capabilities. In fact, typically, you can expect antimicrobial bedding to have an effectiveness rating of 99.99% - practically perfect! 

Are antimicrobial sheets costlier than regular bedding?

Generally speaking, specially manufactured antimicrobial bedding can be a little more expensive than traditional sheets, duvet covers, and pillowcases. This is largely due to the specific materials required in manufacturing, and the long-term value of the pieces. However, it’s possible to find high-quality, affordable antimicrobial bedding. 

For example, here at Ethical Bedding, we’ve developed luxury, naturally antibacterial and anti-allergen flat and fitted sheets, from just £59. Hypoallergenic, temperature regulating, and moisture wicking, our eucalyptus fitted and flat sheets are designed to give you a cooler and more comfortable night’s sleep, without the worry of lingering microbes. 

Designed to withstand years or wear, and even getting softer as time goes by, eucalyptus offers all the benefits of silk, without the unethical practices. 

Is antimicrobial bedding good value for money?

We might be biased, but antimicrobial bedding is great value for money! Not only will you enjoy the long-term health benefits, but you’ll also find this type of bedding to last longer, on average. So, while you may have to spend a little more up front, don’t let this put you off - you’re likely to save in the long run. 

Final thoughts: should I buy antimicrobial bedding?

The short answer is there’s very little reason not to buy antimicrobial bedding. Not only does it stay fresher for longer, meaning you don’t need to wash your sheets as often, but its consistent cleanliness means your bedding isn’t as susceptible to odours or stains – which helps it to last longer. 

But not only that: the main reasons to buy antimicrobe bedding are:

  • They wick away your sweat
  • They keep nasty germs away
  • They prevent allergic flare ups
  • They don’t pill nearly as often
  • They’re typically wrinkle-resistant

If any of the above benefits have piqued your interest, why not get in touch with our team of sleep experts to discuss our array of naturally antimicrobial bedding options? Alternatively, if you’re feeling inspired, either explore our full range of bestselling bedding or head on over to the Ethical Bedding blog for more from our experts. 

Common questions about antimicrobial sheets

If you’re still interested in learning more about antimicrobe bed sheets, you’re in luck! We’ve answered all of the most common queries posed by our customers. Though, if you’re still curious, our team of experts will be happy to answer any further questions. 

What makes sheets antimicrobial or antibacterial?

While antimicrobial and antibacterial are often used synonymously, they’re slightly different. While ‘antibacterial’ refers to any product that repels and combats bacterial growth, ‘antimicrobial’ includes all types of microorganisms, including fungi, mould, viruses (and bacteria). In essence, while all antimicrobial bedding is also antibacterial, not all antibacterial bedding is fully antimicrobial.

Are antibacterial sheets worth it?

The short answer to the question ‘are antibacterial bed sheets worth it?’ is yes; they’re long-lasting and high-quality, and sure to give you a more comfortable night’s sleep. However, it’s worth noting that they can sometimes be a little more expensive than standard options – though, many retailers will stock an array of products to suit all budgets. 

Are antimicrobial sheets safe to use?

Studies are ongoing as to the long-term health and safety effects of silver and copper treated bedding, but as of 2023 it’s considered perfectly safe for everyday use. However, if you’re at all concerned about the safety of chemically-treated antimicrobial bedding, there are natural, organic options to consider: for instance, bamboo, Tencel, and eucalyptus silk

Is antimicrobial the same as anti-allergy?

Because antimicrobial bedding is designed to combat and kill bacteria and mould, it can generally be considered anti-allergy. If you suffer from skin or respiratory conditions such as eczema or asthma, consider investing in antimicrobial bedding for a more comfortable night’s sleep.