Cotton vs Bamboo: 9 Differences Between Cotton and Bamboo

Fabrics all have their place. While some people sing the praises of one type there is almost the same amount of people singing the praises of another type. Which one is better depends on the people who use those fabrics but generally, they all do the same job quite well.

When it is time to make clothing it can be a hard choice. These two natural fabrics come from hardy stock and have lots of benefits. While cotton is good, bamboo uses about 1/3 less water to grow than the cotton plant does.

This is but one difference between the two fabrics and to learn about more differences, just continue to read our article. They may both be natural fibers but they are not the same nor come from the same type of natural source.

Are Bamboo Sheets Made From Bamboo?

Yes, bamboo sheets are made from bamboo and all three versions of bamboo fabrics have some bamboo fibers included in their manufacturing process. With over 1400 different bamboo grass varieties in the world, there will be no shortage of bamboo fibers to use.

The difference in weave styles and process make up the difference between those 3 styles of bamboo fabric. Each process is a little bit different and the amount of chemicals used to create those fibers also varies.

Some of those chemicals, for example in the Tencel version, are non-toxic and very safe to wear next to your skin. These chemicals do not remove any of the strength that is found in the bamboo fiber. That makes the sheets very durable and comfortable.

What is Bamboo Cotton?


This is a fabric that blends the best of both fibers into one quality product. When you see the label most likely you will see that the fabric is a blend of both fibers and not a product coming from a unique plant that has been crossbred.

bamboo cotton is supposed to be luxurious, hypoallergenic, breathable, highly absorbent, eco-friendly, and good for people with sensitive skin. It is a fabric that should elevate your comfort making it easier to go about your day or sleep through the night.

On top of all that, this fabric is supposed to be very durable. The longevity helps you save a little money over the years as you do not have to replace them as often. Then you should not have to worry about your health as bamboo naturally resists pests and does not need a lot of pesticides to help it grow.

Difference Between Cotton and Bamboo

This quick comparison chart will provide you with the basic differences between these two fibers. As you continue reading our article, you will see more differences.

Category Cotton Bamboo
Origin the cotton plant bamboo grass
Years of use thousands thousands
Water use needs lots of water uses less water than cotton
Pesticides yes, this plant needs lots of chemical protection from natural enemies does not need any chemicals to help it grow
Fibers short and slender thick and strong
Breathable yes yes
Hypoallergenic somewhat yes
Softness can be very soft when woven right softer than cotton
Cost very affordable more expensive than cotton

Cotton can be woven into many different levels from low quality to very luxurious formats like Pima and Egyptian cotton. These cotton materials are usually softer and more luxurious than bamboo fabrics.

Is Bamboo Better Than Cotton?

In many people’s minds, the answer is very clear- yes it is. They have several good reasons to think this way and one of those reasons is that bamboo is supposed to be more absorbent, cleaner, and better at breathing than cotton is.

Also, they say that bamboo is very sustainable as it is a fast-growing grass, does not need a lot of chemicals to grow or process the fibers and usually does not need replanting. It will grow and grow even if you harvest the stocks.

Cotton does have its weaknesses but it can be turned into some very durable, soft, and luxurious material with the right manufacturing style. It is comfortable to wear and it can be worn at any time of the year. it is also affordable which helps tip the scales in its favor.

What Does Bamboo Cotton Feel Like?


This material has a very soft and luxurious feel to it when you rub your hand across the bedding or clothing item. Bamboo cotton is also silky and smooth to the touch as well as being very light on your body.

You should not be weighed down or feeling heavy when wearing the clothing made from this material or the bedding you sleep under. Those qualities make it ideal for people with sensitive skin to wear or sleep under. They should not experience any roughness at all.

Plus, when you wear or sleep under this material your body should feel cool as the material can regulate your body heat and breathe really well. The heat should not be a problem and your comfort level should remain high. On top of that, the material should also keep you warm on those cooler days of the year.

Bamboo Sheets vs Cotton

The ones you should buy should have the proper thread count to maximize comfort and softness. The thread count is the most important factor in this comparison next to price. The higher the thread count the better the bedsheet.

Cotton has some very fine luxurious versions that would put the bamboo sheets to shame but not all cotton sheets are that great. Both types of bed sheets are breathable and help you stay cool at night.

Bamboo may be more durable but it also may be harder to care for than cotton is. Then there is that cost concern. Bamboo will cost you a lot more unless you are paying for those high-quality cotton sheets that feel so good when you sleep.

Are Bbamboo Sheets Cooler Than Cotton?

The answer to this question will depend on your bias. Those that favor cotton will say that the sheets they have are cooler than the bamboo. Then the reverse is true for bamboo sheet owners.

Depending on the quality of the bedsheets, it is a toss-up between the two fabrics. There are a lot of cotton versions that will be cooler than bamboo sheets and vice versa. Some cotton sheets will retain more heat than bamboo but not by much as cotton is still a very breathable fabric.

The bamboo sheet is seen as more durable so it may last longer giving you many more months to enjoy the benefits that come with bamboo.

Are Bamboo Sheets Healthier Than Cotton?


In the long run, bamboo may be seen as a healthier fabric than cotton. This is not to say that cotton is like polyester or other synthetic materials or semi-synthetic ones. Bamboo just does not need the herbicides and pesticides that cotton does for the plant to grow to its fullest potential.

But, bamboo’s processing style does require a lot of chemicals to turn it into a fiber that can be made into clothing or bedding. That is the key factor when it comes to determining which is healthier.

Both are good for sensitive skin people and both can be hypoallergenic which makes both very healthy fabrics to wear and put on your bed. Which one wins this comparison will be up to your experience and preferences.

Which is Softer Bamboo Or Cotton?

When compared to regular cotton, bamboo will be the softer of the two fabrics. There are some pretty rough forms of cotton fabric and some very low-quality ones that do not come with the thread count needed to be considered really soft.

Yet, cotton has some top-quality versions that do have high thread counts and are softer than bamboo. Those cotton options come with a price tag that is often higher than bamboo’s cost.

You are going to pay for comfort and softness. Those higher-end cotton sheets will last as long, if not longer, than bamboo sheets. To find the right softness at the right price, run your hands over both sets of fabrics to see which one you prefer.

Are Bamboo Socks Better Than Cotton?

Bamboo socks do have some benefits that overshadow any positive contribution that cotton socks can make. They are 3 times better than cotton socks at resisting bacteria. This helps fight any problem foot odor you may have.

Then bamboo socks do not have to be washed as often as cotton ones do. That helps them last longer and be more durable. Both are breathable but with bamboo sock’s weave style they may be a bit more breathable than cotton.

The bamboo socks are also lighter than the cotton socks which may provide your feet with a better feel once they go on. Given these advantages, it may be easy to say that bamboo socks are better than cotton ones.

If blended your feet may think they have died and gone to heaven.

Cotton or Bamboo Blankets


Bamboo blankets should have the ability to keep you warm in the winter without overheating and cool in the summer without letting the night sweats get to you. They can be thicker than some cotton blankets making them very cozy, soft, and warm.

To care for the bamboo blankets, you just need to use cold water in the wash and low heat when you are using the dryer. But cotton is not out of the race just yet. it too can be nice and thick, cozy, soft and comfortable.

The thread count sees to that and while bamboo is usually more expensive than cotton blankets, they can be more durable. This will save you over the long run and have those nice-looking bamboo blankets lasting for more years than the cotton ones will.

Cotton vs Bamboo Batting

In this comparison, some sewers and quilters prefer cotton batting over the bamboo version. It comes with the right amount of loft for most quilting products and is extremely soft. While the bamboo batting can feel soft, it doesn't appear that quality goes completely through the material.

A lot of bamboo batting is made with 50% cotton so the comparison is not genuine or fair. You are comparing cotton to a lot more cotton when you get down to it. What makes bamboo batting popular is that it is easy to wash, hypoallergenic, and breathable.

But cotton has the edge here due to its natural fibers and complete softness. Plus, it is a low-cost batting that allows it to be used by just about everyone. Then cotton is seen as more comfortable than bamboo batting.

Is Bamboo as Breathable as Cotton?

Some say that bamboo is more breathable than cotton as well as having the ability to regulate your body heat. That latter attribute allows you to stay cool during the hot days of the year and warm during the cooler ones.

Others have said that cotton is more breathable than bamboo and prefer to wear cotton clothing or use cotton sheets on their bed at night. The quality of the materials will make the difference between these two fabrics as the differences between them are seen as being very subtle.

The higher the quality the better the clothing and bedding and either fabric will breathe well. Where cotton will fall behind bamboo is that the latter fabric allows moisture to evaporate into the air while cotton does not have that ability. Or does it as well as bamboo if it does.

Cotton vs Bamboo Clothing


This comparison will also be up to your preference as well as your clothing budget. They say that bamboo has been making great strides in overtaking cotton in this area and the clothing made from this material should last longer.

But cotton is still a great fabric to use in your clothing projects as it is easy to sew with, comes in a large number of colors and designs, and is very soft. Too many people look at the external advantages bamboo has over the cotton plant.

But those external advantages do not necessarily mean the fabric is better than cotton materials. It may be a more sustainable and pesticide-free product but those do not matter where it counts. The best that bamboo has to offer is that it is a bit more durable than cotton is in this case.

Cotton vs Bamboo Pajamas

Organic cotton is better than bamboo and does not use a lot of pesticides, etc., either when it is grown, just like bamboo. It is cultivated to be soft, healthy, hypoallergenic, and matches up against bamboo fairly well

Regularly grown cotton is very healthy, soft, comfortable, and will match up against bamboo as well but it may not surpass that fabric for softness, comfort, and regulating body heat. Bamboo seems to have the edge here even though the differences between the two fabrics are slight.

The cost of organic cotton will rival or even surpass bamboo’s cost but that is a minor point and does not make it the better fabric. regular cotton will be cheaper than both and may be as soft and durable as both as well.

Bamboo vs Cotton Sustainability

Bamboo is the more sustainable product because it takes a lot to kill the roots. it will grow right back after harvesting and in most cases, it does not need replanting. Plus, it doesn't need as much water as cotton does.

The cotton plant does need re-planting each year and that takes a lot of labor to get that chore done. Then the speed at which bamboo grows makes it a product that can be harvested rather quickly.

Then the cotton plant has natural enemies that if not protected by chemicals etc., can be destroyed by insects and other bugs or diseases. Bamboo is very resistant to bugs and insects as well as germs.

The first plant to grow back after the nuclear bombs went off in Japan was the bamboo grass. Even nuclear weapons have a hard time killing them.

Bamboo vs Cotton for Baby


The fabric you use for your baby is up to you but with bamboo’s flexibility and softness, it is one of the better materials to use in your baby’s clothing and blankets. The comfort level is hard to beat.

Then with bamboo’s resistance to bacteria which is greater than cotton’s it may be the best material to use when your baby needs new clothes. Both are soft but keeping germs away is vital and cotton doesn’t have what it takes to match bamboo’s ability in this section.

While you can get Egyptian or Pima cotton to replace bamboo, those fabrics may just be too expensive to purchase for most people. Bamboo does cost more than regular cotton so you will have a tough decision to make.

Cotton vs Bamboo Diaper Inserts

Bamboo is said to be more absorbent than cotton and that is a quality that makes this fabric ideal for diaper inserts. Then bamboo can wick away that excess moisture and this ability allows your baby to remain dryer.

Yet, those advantages do not cover all the vulnerabilities that bamboo still has. That material needs cotton to provide it with better structure. Also, bamboo’s processing is not friendly to the environment. Cotton’s is and this material is affordable while bamboo may stretch the budget somewhat.

Cotton is bulkier than bamboo and if bulk is important to you or alack of it, then you may want to spend the extra money and go with the bamboo inserts.

Cotton vs Bamboo Quilt


If you really want to be warm, the cotton quilt will retain more heat. Even though it is very breathable cotton has not forgotten one of its duties and that is to keep you warm when you need to be warm. Bamboo will regulate your body heat and make sure you don't overheat when wrapped in a quilt.

Bamboo may be more durable than the cotton quilt and a little bit softer. Yet that does not mean that cotton has lost its quilting charm and is an inferior option. The differences between these two comforters are minimal and you will benefit by owning one or the other.

What gives the edge to bamboo is that the following properties may be greater in the bamboo fabric than in the cotton one-- anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, odor resistant, & chemical-free.

Disadvantages of Bamboo Fabric

We have talked a lot about the benefits that bamboo has but little has been said about the negative aspects of this grass. It is grass and not a real plant like cotton is. here are some of its disadvantages:

  • It can be very expensive to purchase.
  • While some say it is chemical-free, chemicals are still used in its processing.
  • It is an invasive grass that is very difficult to kill.​
  • It can shrink more than all the cotton fabric varieties out there.
  • It can wrinkle more than all the cotton varieties out there.

Some Final Words

When doing any comparison it is always hard to pick a winner or which one is better. Both bamboo and cotton have their place in the fashion industry and the sewing world. But what makes cotton still the fabric chap is that it remains affordable and can be found just about anywhere in the world.

The two fabrics are very similar and have only slight differences. That means you will not sacrifice any quality, benefits or softness, etc. when you buy one over the other. Your pocketbook may have the final say on which one you do buy.

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