organic white bed sheet set

Benefits of Bamboo Bedding & Bed Sheets

Author: James Higgins


Bamboo is a famously versatile plant that continues to make its way into our daily lives. In a single day, bamboo can be eaten as food, used as furniture, worn clothes, and slept on. But exactly how is it that the tall, strong stalks of bamboo can be transformed into soft bed sheets?


We’ve uncovered just this.. and more. Read on to discover the secrets of the Swiss army knife of the plant world so you know the journey your sheets follow, from forest to bedroom.


What is bamboo?


A strong and useful plant, bamboo is highly adaptable and able to grow almost anywhere on earth, from the optimal conditions of a warm, humid jungle to the dry and dusty heat of a desert – and even amidst chilly, wet rains. Its only limitations are excessive periods of freezing climates, as the otherwise hardy bamboo shoots can get damaged.


Thanks to this incredible adaptability, bamboo is widely available for human use. In optimal conditions, bamboo can grow at a rate of up to five feet per year, making it the fastest-growing plant in the world and an easily replenishable, abundant material.


Want to learn more about bamboo living? Check out Porch's article to learn more about bamboo use in construction and inside the home!


Uses of bamboo


Having been in use for thousands of years, bamboo has become an established material in fields of construction, medicine, gastronomy and home furnishings.


In construction, bamboo is often used as scaffolding to support the development of large buildings. It is even sometimes used to build houses, with its strength and durability making it more than capable of supporting heavy weights.


Bamboo has also historically been used in medical practices. It is a very hygienic material and is a preferable choice for surgical wear, bandages, sanitary products and more.


Most recently, though, technology has developed to transform bamboo plant fibres into fabrics, which can be used for bamboo textiles, clothing and luxury bedding.


Characteristics of bamboo fabric?  


There are various reasons that organic bamboo fabric has seen such a boom in recent times, especially in the bedding industry. Not only is it exceptionally comfortable, but it remains soft to the touch long after purchase. Other bamboo material properties include:  


  • Tough durability
  • Long-lasting quality 
  • Luxurious comfort that’s an affordable alternative to silk
  • Low environmental impact 
  • Exceptional breathability and temperature regulation
  • Moisture-wicking properties


    ethical-bedding-silk-bed-sheets-pillowcases-10_480x480Shop Ethical Bedding's ultimate Bamboo Bed Sheet Bundle  


What are the different types of bamboo fabric?  

There are three main types of bamboo fabric: viscose, lyocell, and linen. While you might presume they’re all similar enough to use interchangeably, there are some key differences you should be aware of and several reasons you should opt for linen.   


Rayon bamboo  


Despite easily-replenishable bamboo being the primary ingredient in producing this type of fabric, the chemicals used in the manufacturing process – often sulfuric acid - can harm the environment (and workers).  The substances can ultimately pollute habitats, air quality, and waterways, often leading to long-term complications. The heavy use of chemicals also lengthens the time it takes for the fabric to biodegrade.  


Lyocell bamboo  


The critical difference between how lyocell and rayon bamboo fabric are produced lies in the production process. While rayon bamboo production can lead to long-term environmental complications, lyocell production recovers and recycles almost all solvents and water – typically 99%. This is then reused when the process restarts.  


Bamboo linen


Bamboo linen is manufactured slightly differently from rayon and lyocell fabric. Rather than using chemicals to break down the fibres, the plant is mechanically crushed into a pulp, with natural enzymes used to break it further down.    The fibres are then combed out and spun. This is the most environmentally-friendly form of organic bamboo fabric, although the resulting product requires the most time and cost to create, so it’s often the priciest.   


Where is a bamboo fabric produced?  


Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering its roots, bamboo fabric has long been produced across East Asia, notably in China, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia.    However, the adaptable and low-maintenance nature of bamboo has led to it being grown worldwide, with the plant also commonly produced in Europe and the US. In short, most countries can make bamboo fabric!  

At Ethical Bedding, all the crops used to create our soft and silky organic bed sheets are grown on non-farmable land in biodiverse forests, while each product is carbon negative.      ethical-bedding-silk-bed-sheets-pillowcases-630_1000x_07f661de-c8cc-4e9f-bd6c-6b60db254b7a_480x480

Curious about trying bamboo bedding

Get 10% off our bamboo-filled duvets with code BAMBOO10


What is bamboo bedding?  


Although all types of bamboo material are sourced from bamboo plants, they are vastly different: bamboo linens are the genuine bamboo article and the natural option compared to bamboo rayon.    Unsurprisingly, bamboo linens are more expensive, take longer to produce, and are manufactured in much lower volumes.    On the other hand, bamboo rayon uses cellulose from bamboo, which is put through chemical processing and then regenerated to form the fabric. As a result, bamboo rayon is cheaper, produced in higher volumes and softer, but it follows a very environmentally-damaging production method.   In marketing, many companies emphasise bamboo’s origins without specifying whether it is bamboo linen or bamboo rayon. Therefore, it is important to check labels thoroughly to ensure that the right one is being purchased.  


How our bamboo bedding is made  


The process for creating the bamboo linen found across our range of luxury bedding is labour-intensive and time-consuming. It involves crushing up the bamboo plants with a natural enzyme to break down the structural elements and create a mush.    Next, individual bamboo fibres are carefully combed out and spun into yarn woven into an organic bamboo fabric.   At the end of the manufacturing process, the resulting product is luxuriously soft bed sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers that boast both long-lasting durability and extreme quality.  


Is bamboo bedding sustainable?  


Bamboo is an incredibly fast-growing and regenerative resource, making the plant itself naturally sustainable. However, it’s essential to pay close attention to the processes involved in producing the fabrics you buy, as some manufacturers still choose to cut corners.   


Organic vs non-organic bamboo  


Bamboo naturally grows organically, without pesticides and fertiliser, and can be grown and harvested quickly without replanting. Additionally, the mechanical method of making bamboo linen uses a natural enzyme and has no toxic waste. In short, wholly organic bamboo is the ideal, eco-friendly solution.   However, not all bamboo is entirely organic, and the reality is that some manufacturers are accused of employing greenwashing practices. Many bedding companies often omit information about the chemicals, fertilisers, and pesticides used in production. So be careful before you buy!  


Growing bamboo sustainably  


The vast majority of the bamboo plants used in making bamboo bed sheets are grown in China. Unfortunately, there needs to be more information on the intensity of bamboo farming and its effects on the land.    In addition, bamboo is a very invasive plant. Once introduced into an environment, it is likely to compete with native plant species for nutrition, water and sunlight - and ultimately win. With this in mind, it’s essential to keep an eye out for bedding brands that only use bamboo grown on otherwise non-farmable land.   


Bamboo fabric pros and cons  


Of course, just like any fabric, bamboo bedding has pros and cons. With this in mind, we’ve outlined the benefits and disadvantages of bamboo fabric to help you decide whether it’s right for you.   The benefits of bamboo fabric We’ve picked out five key benefits of bamboo bedding, ranging from its sustainability to the luxurious comfort you can enjoy for years to come.  


  • Biodegradable


Both bamboo linen and bamboo rayon are biodegradable materials. Once bamboo bed sheets have been used and worn out, they can be discarded without any physical or conscientious problems. However, oncesubmerged in the soil, it will take approximately one year to degrade. 


  • Hypoallergenic


Bamboo linen can provide a respite for people with allergies. Those that find they are affected by mites, pet dander or other common allergens will be able to use bamboo bedding without a problem.

Bamboo linen is generally considered to be a very hygienic bedding material. As well as being hypoallergenic, it is also antibacterial and anti-fungal. Very few substances can survive naturally on bamboo, which is why it is also great for use in medical or sensitive environments.


  • Breathable


Bamboo bedding provides excellent temperature regulation. In addition, the fabric is highly breathable, which pulls moisture from the skin, preventing overheating in the summer while retaining warmth in the winter.


  • Durable


Bamboo is a solid and hardy substance, which is why it is often used within the scaffolding and building industries. When transformed into bamboo textile and bed linens, the fabric retains its strength and durability and can easily withstand daily wear and tear.


  • Renewable


Bamboo is an exceptionally renewable resource and one of the most environmentally-friendly materials available, naturally regrowing once harvested (so long as the roots are left intact). This makes sustainable bamboo bedding an attractive choice for eco-conscious buyers. 


Additionally, bamboo is centirelybiodegradable and compostable, releasing roughly 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than the equivalent volume of regular trees. 


Check out Ethical Bedding's Eucalyptus & Bamboo Pillow 


The disadvantages of bamboo fabric


While there are a number of incredible benefits to choosing bamboo bedding, there are some drawbacks – just as there are with all fabrics. 


Despite its lengthy process and high cost, many people feel that other expensive bed sheets options such as silk, organic cotton or Tencel™ offer a softer sleeping experience. 


In addition, as highlighted, the process of creating bamboo rayon has terrible environmental consequences, so it is not the ideal choice for conscientious shoppers. Unfortunately, browsing the market for authentic bamboo linen products is more challenging than it should be. Many products on the market are labelled as bamboo but turn out to be rayon. 


What's the difference between bamboo vs cotton?


We’ve looked a lot at what bamboo is and the benefits of bamboo bedding, but how does it stack up against cotton? 






Bamboo fabric is typically more durable than cotton if looked after correctly. 

Cotton offers good durability and resistance to typical wear and tear. 

Hypoallergenic bamboo

Bamboo fabric is naturally hypoallergenic. 

Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic.

Machine washable

Bamboo fabric can be machine washed, although you should use a gentle, cold-water cycle.

Cotton can be machine washed, although you should use a gentle, cold-water cycle on high-quality fabric (i.e. Egyptian cotton).  

Machine dryable

To retain its softness, it's advised that bamboo fabric is air-dried and kept away from high heats. 

You can machine dry most types of cotton, although you should always consult your bedding's care labels. 

Moisture wicking

Bamboo is naturally moisture-wicking.

Cotton is not naturally moisture-wicking.


Because bamboo fabric is made from natural fibres, it'll get softer after each wash. 

High-quality cotton will get softer after each wash.


Bamboo bedding is generally better value for money than Egyptian cotton, as you don't require such a high thread count for an equivalent level of comfort. 

Cotton bedding is available for a wide range of prices.

Environmental impact

Bamboo is a completely renewable resource, and the fabric uses less water and energy in production than cotton.

Manufacturing cotton uses far more water and energy than bamboo.


For even more information, check out our guide comparing bamboo vs Egyptian cotton.


Alternatives to bamboo bedding


Bamboo bedding offers a host of key benefits, ranging from low environmental impact to long-lasting durability. However, a sticking point of bamboo fabric is its relatively high cost due to the labour- and time-intensive (although essential) production processes in place. 


Considering the cost, it might not be a suitable fabric for you. However,  if you’re striving for a more eco-friendly home, one increasingly popular choice that combines luxurious high-quality with trust-worthy sustainability is Tencel™


The relatively new luxury fabric is made from wood pulp cellulose in a closed-loop system with minimal waste. The wood pulp is sourced sustainably, and the entire process is designed to work in balance with the environment. 


For all your bedding needs, explore our complete collection of luxury bedding essentials, or discover even more useful articles from our team of sleep experts over on the Ethical Bedding blog


Maybe it's time to reconsider bamboo bedding? Read more about bamboo bedding and the alternatives.