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Why your bedding matters

Just like choosing the right skincare, selecting bedding for your whole family is a big decision. Think about it: what other thing in your life comes into such intimate contact with your skin besides what you wash with (which is The Goat Skincare, naturally), and what you sleep on? Nothing.

And, given that you spend almost a third of your life in bed, your choice of linen should be something you’re happy with. But, with so many options and fabrics available, how do you choose without getting overwhelmed? We break down the options for you.

Polyester is a cheap and (sometimes) cheerful man made fabric. It got a pretty bad rep in the ‘80s but has come a long way in the last thirty years or so. It’s renowned for being soft, and they can often be as durable as cotton too. However, because they aren’t a natural fibre they are not breathable like cotton, despite newer weaving patterns accommodating better airflow. It also does not wick moisture away (so a no-go if you’re a sweater), but on the upside it does dry super fast.

It’s the fabric we all grew up with, and probably what lined our beds as kids. But just because it’s what we’ve always known, does it mean it’s the best? The thing with cotton is the quality varies dramatically – and you definitely get what you pay for. Yes it is a natural fibre, which is a plus, and also means that it’s soft, light, breathable and moisture-wicking. High-quality cotton sheets are also long lasting too, it’s just about finding the right ones.

Within the cotton sheet family there are also different varieties. Egyptian cotton is the fancy stuff: smooth, high thread count and often hand picked, it’s also strong and durable. Pima cotton is generally found in the USA and is a good half-way point because it’s less expensive than Egyptian cotton, but still great quality. On the other end of the scale is upland cotton, which broadly covers anything marked as “100% cotton” and with it comes with great degrees of quality (and often a lot of pilling).

From a sustainability standpoint, although cotton doesn’t require hugely intensive chemical processing to turn it into fabric and is largely abundant, it does require almost obscene amounts of water to grow. In addition, GMO cotton seeds cannot regenerate and the use of pesticides in non-organic cotton causes environmental pollution.

As you may or may not know, labelling something as organic refers to how the fibre was grown. Specifically, it will relate to the farming, fibre and production methods, and for something to be organic in Australia it doesn’t use synthetic chemicals during growth and it can’t be grown from genetically modified seeds. In Australia it is uneconomical to grow organic cotton, therefore most of what is on the market is sourced from China, Turkey and the USA. 

However use of the term “organic” is still largely unregulated so if you’re choosing this from a low toxin standpoint, look for those with certified organic stamps (from a body like the ACO – Australian Certified Organic, or GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard). These external regulatory boards define their own set of strict standards that people with the certification must adhere to. It’s also worth noting that the “organic” status only refers to the growing of the fibre, and not what happens to it afterwards (in processing or dyeing) so if low-tox is your main driver, consider looking into plant based dyes, or unbleached, undyed organic cotton

Bamboo itself is naturally antimicrobial, therefore superb for allergy sufferers or anyone with sensitive skin.

With the rise of eco-consciousness and sustainability over the last few years, the spotlight has shone firmly on bamboo. Bamboo as a plant is incredibly fast growing, requires no fertiliser and is self-regenerating, so for those concerned about their eco-footprint bamboo is a great choice. When used as a textile it’s naturally hypoallergenic, notoriously soft, and is also moisture absorbing and breathable, giving it a reputation for being cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Claire Duncan of renowned Melbourne bed linen brand, LINEN HOUSE says, “Our Nara bamboo/cotton, which feels like silky clouds of heaven, is not only eco-friendly but also ultra-absorbent, so it naturally insulates and helps to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter – this is sleep luxury. On top of this, bamboo itself is naturally antimicrobial, therefore superb for allergy sufferers or anyone with sensitive skin.”

If, however, you are choosing bamboo based on it’s eco-friendly status, it’s worth understanding the different types of bamboo sheets on the market, and the processes they use in manufacturing to make bedding. Most commonly, sheets are made from bamboo viscose which uses a chemical process to turn the plant fibres into textile. That is to say, it’s actually a synthetic fibre manufactured from the cellulose found in bamboo. The amount of chemicals used (and, consequently, their environmental impact due to chemical waste) vary greatly from company to company so it’s worth looking into the company’s practices if this is of concern to you. Which is why our preferred manufacturer is Linen House because of their ethical practice in producing their top selling Bamboo Cotton range

If you’ve been on Instagram in the last five years, you would be very well acquainted with the “linen everything” trend.  There are many reasons why this natural fibre (made from flax seeds) and bamboo cotton is big news. Aside from the chic, laid back, relaxed aesthetic (which perfectly suits the Australian vibe)  both these fabrics are hardwearing, long-lasting and get better with age. 

One of it’s biggest draw cards is its fast drying ability and it’s incredible moisture-wicking properties (it’s been known to hold up to 20 times its weight in water) which means even the sweatiest of sleepers will remain dry. And because the “look” is crinkly, you never have to obsess over the wrinkles in your sheet  (What? Just us?).

Of course, there are a couple of downsides to linen – and one is the price. But, if longevity is on your must-have lists, it’s hard to go past for durability and cost-per-wear. The other thing is that while it gets softer with each wash, it can take awhile to get to “ultimate softness” which means there could be a few rough/scratchy nights before you get there, unless you go for a pre-washed version which will accelerate the softening.

Remember each family is different and unique (which is one of our favourite things to celebrate at The Goat Skincare), and you will all have different things that matter to you. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed ask yourself what your priorities are with your bedding (Longevity? Sustainability? Price?), and this should help lead your decision-making. Whatever bed linen you choose for your family, we hope it helps you have the good night’s sleep you deserve.