When it comes to linen and cotton, it’s often easier to talk about the similarities between the two fabrics than to talk about the differences. Both materials have been used in clothing and bedding for thousands of years, and both are known for their versatility and good moisture absorption.
But there are definitely important differences between linen and cotton, which may explain why cotton is considered an excellent “all-rounder” textile, while linen is often called a luxury item.
Linen is hypoallergenic, so linen sheets and towels are perfect for anyone with sensitive skin, dermatitis, or other common allergies. The material is highly breathable and hygroscopic, preventing the growth of germs and bacteria.
Texture and strength
Cotton feels immediately soft and fluffy, while linen is initially crisp and more delicate to the touch. This is one of the reasons we love it, and why linen bedding is often passed down in a family for generations, getting softer and softer over the years.
High-quality cotton products can also be durable, but linen is considered the strongest natural fiber on the planet and helps make products durable. Linen bedding can easily be purchased as a wedding gift and end up being passed down from generation to generation.
Both linen and cotton help keep you warm, but unlike cotton, linen is also great at keeping you cool in the heat. Linen is made of long hollow fibers that allow air to circulate freely and is very good at transporting moisture, preventing it from accumulating.
Another key difference worth mentioning between linen and cotton is that linen is a more environmentally friendly option. Flax plants are very robust and require very little water, pesticides or fertilizers to grow. It is also used to make various products and is fully biodegradable.