Rayon Vs Cotton - A Detailed Comparison

Your bedding will have a direct impact on how comfortable your sleeping area will make you feel. The material that you choose for your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets can affect your sleep experience and relaxation moments while in bed. Learning about the features of some of the most common bedding materials, such as rayon and cotton, can help you decide which ones to choose for the most restful sleep possible.

Rayon Vs Cotton - A Detailed Comparison

Rayon and cotton are some of the most common materials used for beddings. Both of these materials can offer enhanced comfort when used for pillowcases and sheets on the bed because they both deliver an inviting softness that can make the sleep experience much more pleasurable. Cotton and rayon are both breathable as well, making them ideal material options for people who are prone to sleeping warm and sweating throughout long hours of sleep. However, these two materials have their own unique characteristics that make each distinctively beneficial.

Rayon Vs Cotton - A Detailed Comparison


Rayon is derived from the wood pulp of different trees, including bamboo. In some cases, the fabric is referred to as “bamboo” because of the bamboo cellulose component, although this tag can be misleading because of the difference in the way the real bamboo fabric and rayon are manufactured. The semi-synthetic rayon material can be created using a variety of processes, from which the type of rayon fabric gets its name. Some of the common types of rayon include lyocell (also known by its brand name, Tencel), and Modal.


Feels Like Silk

Rayon can mimic the feel of silk so it can be a superb choice for those who are looking for that sheen and supple feel without the accompanying high cost. Rayon is sometimes called “artificial silk” because of its ability to resemble the appearance and texture of silk.

Ideal for Warm Climates

Rayon is a non-insulating fabric that does not retain heat. Rayon beddings are great for warm climates or when the temperatures start to rise during certain months of the year. Rayon pillowcases and sheets do not allow heat to build up, allowing you to continuously enjoy a cool surface to sleep on even with long hours of staying in mostly the same position. The material also wicks away moisture. This means perspiration can be swept away from your body and you can keep on sleeping peacefully without being disturbed by a hot and sweaty sensation.

Affordable Fabric for Beddings

Rayon is an affordable material compared to cotton or organic options, with the benefit of feeling like silk!


Not Eco-Friendly

Even if the fabric is derived from natural sources, rayon is considered semi-synthetic because it goes through a chemical process that works to dissolve the wood pulp before spinning into a thread structure. The process is associated with the use of harsh chemicals that may be harmful to the environment. The chemicals present in this process may make the fabric unsuitable for people who are easily irritated by strong chemicals. All the different types of rayon involve chemicals, with the exact processes used determining the overall cost and sustainability of the finished fabric. Tencel is the eco-friendly rayon option because it uses a closed-loop process that ensures the chemicals are reused. The other types of rayon – modal and viscose – do not use closed-loop processes, so the chemicals can harm the environment.

Easily Damaged When Wet

Beddings made from rayon can easily be damaged when washed, especially when hot water is used. As such, these beddings will often need to be either hand-washed or dry-cleaned, which can take more time and effort and, in the case of dry cleaning, can be expensive in the long run. Exposure to hot water can also result in significant shrinking.

Prone to Staining

Rayon sheets can quickly absorb body oils and other substances, leading to stains that may not easily be removed. This is because rayon is easily damaged when it is wet, so you may not be able to remove stains using normal stain removal procedures.

Rayon Vs Cotton - A Detailed Comparison


Cotton comes from the fibers that surround the seeds of the cotton plant. It is the most commonly used fabric for beddings and has been in use for thousands of years for clothing and other applications. The quality of cotton beddings will depend on the source of the cotton materials used for the sheets and pillowcases, as well as the methods of fabric treatment or weaving style. The most luxurious type of cotton is Egyptian cotton, which is derived from cotton plants grown in Egypt that have extra-long fibers, resulting in top-quality beddings with remarkable softness and durability. On the other hand, the cotton fabric flannel also works excellently for beddings, since it has a supremely soft texture and traps body heat. Flannel sheets are extremely pleasurable to snuggle in during cold winter nights.


Soft and Breathable

Cotton sheets, especially those made with premium-quality cotton, have an inviting softness that can make the bed surface more enjoyable to sleep and relax on. The texture of high-quality cotton beddings will bring comfort even to those who have sensitive skin. Cotton sheets will progressively become softer with every wash. The material is also breathable and allows proper airflow to prevent heat from building up, making it possible for you to sleep soundly on a bed that stays comfortably cool throughout the night.

Easy to Maintain

Most cotton sheets are machine washable and will not be damaged even when the fabric is wet. The beddings can easily be kept clean and maintained without the need for expensive or time-consuming procedures such as dry cleaning or handwashing, which may be needed for more delicate fabrics. Cotton pillowcases and sheets can be washed in hot water without worries about damage to the material, making it easier to get rid of dust mites and other organisms that can be addressed with a high water temperature.

Provides Good Insulation

While cotton sheets are breathable, they do not wick away moisture the way rayon does. This results in the improved ability to trap heat, providing insulation that can make sleep more comfortable, especially during the cold weather season when the extra warmth is needed to prevent a chilly sensation.


Cotton beddings are durable and are designed for long-term use. They can handle high heat and can be expected to retain their bright colors and prints because the material resists fading. Cotton also gets softer with age, so years of use will only make it feel more comfortable.


Can be Expensive

Depending on the cotton material used, cotton beddings can fetch a high price compared to rayon and other fabrics. Organic cotton, in particular, deviates from the usual production method and does not use pesticides, and this enhancement is reflected in a higher price tag. The same goes for pure Egyptian cotton that is sourced from cotton plants that are only grown in the fertile lands of Egypt. However, there are cotton sheets that come at a lower price range as well.

Prone to Wrinkling

Cotton beddings are prone to extreme wrinkling, especially when they have just been machine-washed. While the creases may be unsightly, they can easily be remedied with ironing since the fabric will not be damaged by exposure to high temperatures. However, the wrinkles that are formed when the sheets and pillowcases are already in place on the bed may be harder to ignore and will not be removed easily.

May Feel Crisp at First

Cotton beddings tend to have a crisp feel when initially used, unlike rayon that will feel silky soft all throughout its use. This may be an issue for people who want to feel the superb softness right away, since cotton beddings may take a while to deliver the comforting softness they will eventually offer.

Rayon Vs Cotton - A Detailed Comparison

Rayon Vs Viscose – Comparison Table

Rayon Viscose
Wood cellulose
Wood and plant cellulose
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Heat Retention
Very Good
Easily damaged when wet and exposed to heat
Loses strength when it gets wet
Feels like silk; comfortably cool; affordable
Remarkable softness; delivers more warmth; breathable
Easily damaged, especially when wet or exposed to heat
Does not drape well; shrinks and creases easily
Reason for Development
To imitate the qualities of silk
To imitate the qualities of cotton

Key Takeaways

  • Cotton and rayon are materials that both offer superior comfort when used for beddings.
  • Cotton comes from a natural source that is derived from the cotton plant, while rayon is a semi-synthetic material that comes from a natural source but goes through a chemical process.
  • Rayon resembles the texture and appearance of silk at an affordable price. It does not retain heat, making it an ideal material for the warmer seasons.
  • Cotton sheets offer good insulation, so they can provide greater comfort during the colder months.
  • Cotton grows softer with time and is known for its durability as well as easy cleanability.
  • Rayon sheets undergo a chemical process and are difficult to clean since they can easily be damaged when wet and exposed to high temperatures. On the other hand, cotton beddings can be expensive, are prone to wrinkling, and may feel crisp at first.


Q: Which is more comfortable – rayon or cotton beddings?

A: It depends on your preference. Rayon has a smooth texture that feels like silk, while cotton has a comforting structure that will feel much softer as time goes by.

Q: Is rayon more affordable than silk?

A: Yes, rayon is an affordable alternative for those who want to enjoy the luxuriousness of silky sheets but are not keen on shelling out a huge sum of money.

Q: Are cotton beddings expensive?

A: It depends on the type of cotton used. The premium quality options such as Egyptian cotton will have a much higher price tag compared to the varieties that come from local sources. However, you can expect a significant difference in the quality.

Q: Which lasts longer – cotton or rayon beddings?

A: Cotton is more durable than rayon, so it is likelier to last longer. Rayon sheets can easily get damaged when wet or when exposed to heat, so they’ll be more difficult to maintain for long-term use.


Cotton and rayon beddings can enhance your comfort while sleeping. These two materials have their advantages and disadvantages as well. Learning about these details will help you make the wisest choice so you can choose bedding that will perfectly suit your needs when it comes to creating the best sleep environment.

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