Tencel Vs. Cotton: Which is Better?

Cotton is a well-known type of fabric that is commonly used in garments, bed sheets, and the like, but it seems that there is another type of material that is breaking into the scene, called Tencel. We all love cotton, no doubt about that, but Tencel fabric seems to have a lot to offer. Made from cellulose found in the wood pulp of eucalyptus, Tencel has made a mark in the world of garments lately, not only because it produces this glossy material that feels soft and smooth, but it also highlights your figure in a flattering way. So, which one is better?

What Exactly is Tencel?

Tencel is the brand name used for the lyocell fibre that is manufactured by the Lenzing AG company. In order for a piece of fabric to have the name Tencel, it needs to contain about 30 per cent of the proprietary fibres, but the term Tencel is mostly used as opposed to lyocell by similar products.

Explore: The Nectar WaterProof Mattress Protector is made from Tencel. It comes with a 2 year warranty and is delivered for free.

tencel fabric

Tencel fabric is actually made in a laboratory that begins with parts that have been harvested naturally. However, no matter how hard Tencel tries to shake off being named as a synthetic material, many believe this is so because of the manufacturing process that it undergoes. The production process basically starts from it being harvested from the tree, then undergoing an elaborate process before being transformed into a textile.

Tencel fibre can come in a different thickness based on the spinneret where it extrudes. This is why you’ll come across Tencel that have fibres that are short that gives this fabric that cottony feel, or the longer fibres that appear like silk.

Benefits of Tencel

Tencel fabric is actually considered as one of the most environment-friendly fabrics available today. Like it was mentioned before, it’s made from the wood harvested from the Eucalyptus tree that undergoes an organic production process. Aside from this, it also comes with numerous benefits that we haven’t really considered lately.


Here are a few that are worth mentioning:

  • Moisture-wicking - Tencel has the ability to wick moisture in our skin without causing the surface of the fibre to become wet. The nanofibrils, which are these sub-microscopic channels, direct the moisture to the fiber's core.
  • Resistant to wrinkles - Another benefit to this material is that it doesn’t get wrinkled that much. This is a huge relief for those who tend to travel often for business because they can simply put their Tencel clothing in their suitcase and wear it afterwards.
  • Dries quickly - What else can you get out of wearing this type of material? Well, it also has a quick-drying property so that your clothing may dry faster compared to your usual cotton clothes.
  • Non-allergenic - Another plus to this type of fabric is that because of the smooth fibre, it delivers that soft feeling on your skin, thus reducing the likelihood of irritation. This is particularly useful to those who have sensitive skin as the fabric will not chafe your skin.
  • Machine washable - It is quite convenient to maintain since you can wash it in your washing machine at low temperatures. This will help retain the colour while getting rid of the build-up of dirt, sweat, and dust. The best way to dry this material is by air drying.
  • Renewable - Compared to cotton, this fabric is actually more ecological. This is because it makes use of less water during production and that there are no chemicals and harmful substances used during the manufacturing process.

Origins of Cotton

Like it was mentioned before, cotton is one of the most used natural fibres in the market. It comes from a cultivated plant that belongs to the Gossypium family. This plant has been cultivated as early as 800 A.D., and by the 1700s cotton was spun in machinery for textile purposes. Nowadays, cotton plays a part in our daily lives, from the moment we wake up and wash our face and dry it with towels, to the sheets that we put over our mattress. This particular fibre is used in other products too such as shoestrings, and jeans to name a few.

Cotton usually comes in many variants as well as quality and have multiple purposes too. There are the long lint fibres that usually begins with a thread, cotton fabric, or yarn which is then transformed into clothing or even bedding. The smaller cotton fibres, on the other hand, are usually used as part of plastics, linoleum, and insulation, or as stuffing for furniture pieces. The cottonseed oil harvested from this plant is used in cosmetics and even other types of foods.

Advantages of Cotton

We may be taking cotton for granted, but this natural fibre has advantages. The benefits of products made from cotton include:

  • Less washing - Cotton is a type of breathable fabric that doesn’t have odours compared to fabrics that are oil based. What this means is that you will be able to keep your clothes longer before washing them. Just imagine how much you get to save in between washing. This also means that you’ll be able to save up on water, and energy even, and you get to extend the life of your clothes since there is less wear-and-tear.
  • Low maintenance - Another benefit to cotton is that it is low maintenance. Compared to other fabrics, this fabric is easier to wash and to care for which means that you can simply place your cotton clothes in the washer and let it do its job.
  • Strong - Cotton is strong which means that this fabric will last you a long time. Unlike other types of fabric that tend to wear down with just a few washes, this one is going to be a regular in your closet.
  • Sleeps comfortably - Like it was mentioned before, cotton is not just reserved for clothes, but also beddings. And because it is a breathable fabric, using it for your mattress will help to keep the bed cool while you sleep.

Tencel vs Cotton – Which is Better?

Since both Tencel and cotton come with their own benefits, it’s hard to determine which one to choose. However, comparing how these two fair in certain categories may help you land the best one for your needs. Here are a few factors to take into consideration.

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  • Comfort - With regards to comfort, both of these fabrics offer their own comfort level. Although Tencel fabric is softer compared to cotton, the latter doesn’t fall behind in providing you with a soft surface to sleep on. However, those who have sensitive skin may lean towards using Tencel because of its smooth feel on the skin.
  • Environmental impacts - Tencel is usually sourced from eucalyptus tree which is a renewable source. It appears that creating fabric from wood pulp is more efficient compared to the process used in cotton. Growing eucalyptus trees are more environmentally conscious and in general, does not require the use of irrigation or even pesticides for that matter. This means that, as far as environmental impacts are concerned, Tencel has the edge over cotton.
  • Coolness - Both Tencel, and cotton help to keep your body cool. This is because both fabrics are quite breathable. For those who tend to sweat a lot, or suffer from night sweats, this may be a factor to consider.
  • Price - This is where cotton shines as Tencel production tends to be costlier. However, if you are going to look at it in the long term, the latter may save you more in terms of time, energy, and money since they require less washing and ironing. However, if you are on a budget, cotton may be a considerable option.

Although both these fabrics offer something beneficial to its users, it is a matter of preference. Weighing the benefits and comparing the two may help you figure out what you are looking for in terms of clothes or sheets.

Before you go: You may also want to check out the Nectar Duvet sets that can be used in any season.

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