Sateen vs. Tencel: What's the Difference?
There are three points that determine the quality of fabrics for bedding products:
- The fibre it is made from;
- The method of fabric weave;
- The thread count.
We carefully took account of all of them.
The quality materials not only give your linens longer life, but they also ensure a perfect feel on your body.
Cotton is one of the oldest materials that humans mastered to use for their needs.
Today one of the best cottons is grown in Egypt, mainly in the Nile Delta where the warm desert climate is ideal for this plant.
Egyptian cotton features long-staple fibre that is stronger and softer than other varieties and is more easily spun into thread. Longer fibre means a stronger fabric and ensures the possibility to create a high thread count fabric. Shorter fibres can come out of the weave which usually leads to the weaker fabric.
Despite its worldwide fame, Egyptian cotton still makes a very small amount of all cotton produced in the world. This is the reason why it continues to retain its exclusive and luxury status.
Sateen is more tightly woven. Its weave has more yarn surface on the face of the cloth than other basic weaves. That’s why it turns softer and has a more lustrous look.
Sateen linens are very soft and have a silk-like touch.
- Smooth, silk-like feel;
- Softer, heavier & warmer;
- Luxurious, shiny look.
Tencel is a brand name owned by Lenzing Fibres, meaning rayon or lyocell. It’s a fabric made out of cellulose from wood – more specifically, eucalyptus trees. It’s a fairly new innovation to the bedsheet market, first developed in 1972 and gaining popularity since, and not quite so well known.
Rather than being woven out of fibres from the cotton plant, Tencel fibres are created from the pulp of eucalyptus wood. This pulp is dissolved and spun into fibres, which are woven together to create an extremely strong yet smooth fabric.
For the sake of this piece, Tencel sheets will be the term used in place of rayon or lyocell.
3.Comparing Tencel and Cotton
The main differences between Tencel and cotton sheets can be broadly broken down into seven categories.
+ Environmental Impacts
Tencel is typically sourced from renewable eucalyptus trees. Making fabric from wood pulp is sometimes more efficient than from cotton plants. The growing and cultivating of these eucalyptus trees keep an eye toward staying environmentally conscious, reducing the need for pesticides or irrigation.
Very little water is needed for the production of Tencel. A main environmental criticism of cotton is a large amount of water it needs to be produced.
Furthermore, Tencel is made with a closed-loop process. In this, loose fibres are recycled back into the material, meaning it’s a very low waste method of creating fabric.
As things stand, it may seem that Tencel has the edge on sustainability. But keep in mind the amount of production is incomparable, and therefore any claim on differences of sustainability is probably an estimation at best.
Tencel fabric tends to be softer than cotton. This softness is because it has a very smooth surface up close. This not only feels good but also makes it very non-irritating even to sensitive skin. It counters some of the common drawbacks of cotton bedsheets, namely their tendency to be scratchy and rustle noisily.
However, cotton can also make for an extremely comfortable bed sheet, and it typically becomes softer and smoother over time.