Tencel Vs. Cotton: Which is Better?

Cotton has been around for a long time, since 6000 B.C. when prehistoric communities in India first figured out how to use it for clothing. Then came the ancient Egyptians, then came the cotton gin, and the rest is history. That’s a long time for you to become familiar with cotton as a product, which also hasn’t had much in the way of challengers since its inception (sure silk, but polyester? Yikes.) That’s about to change though, a new natural fiber called Tencel is ready to revolutionize the textile world. Haven’t heard of it? That’s OK, like we said, it’s the new kid on the block.

And while you might not know much about tencel, it could be the thing helping you live your life in new, more comfortable ways — from the clothing you wear to the bed you sleep in. We thought we’d break down the ways that cotton and tencel compare and contrast to give you a helpful guide on the benefits of this strange new world.

The Softness Test — Cotton Sets the Standard, but Tencel Holds up

You know that favorite shirt you always wear because it looks good and it feels even better? That’s probably because it’s 100% cotton. For just about forever cotton has been the standard for clothing because it’s soft, breathable, and it looks good. Cotton allows your skin to breathe so that you don’t feel sweaty and clammy the way you might with some synthetic fibers or cheaper blends.

Here’s the thing: tencel does all that and more. Tencel is made from wood — but on a nanotech level of production. That means tencel fibers are incredibly small, which allow it to have an even softer sheen and more breathability than just about anything else out there. It may sound surprising, but tencel gives cotton a run for its money in this department, so much so that even textile retailers are taking note. Your current favorite shirt may be made from cotton, but your next favorite shirt is probably going to be tencel.

Tencel is a Luxury Fiber That is Produced with Less Waste Than Cotton

The production of tencel uses less water and space than cotton, and also uses what’s known as a “closed loop production process” which means that 99% of the materials and chemicals used can be reused to minimize waste. That production costs more than cotton, which requires more water and space, but less in the way of technology and machinery. That extra cost has made tencel a “luxury fiber” in the textile community. So much so that it often goes for a higher price than egyptian cotton — the most premium cotton sold on the market today. That label, of a luxury fiber, is one that retailers have embraced.

“The reason I (always) say it has a luxury perception is that [companies] spend a lot of money marketing that brand,” says Edward Hertzman in a recent interview. Hertzman is the publisher of Sourcing Journal, a magazine that focuses on the retail apparel and textile industry. And while that price tag may put off some, tencel’s better qualities are enough to win over even its most hardened critic.

Tencel is More Breathable, Less Sticky, and Less Susceptible to Smell

One of tencel’s biggest strengths is that it is more breathable due to its tiny fibers. That means that tencel is hydrophilic, allowing sweat to breathe and evaporate, rather than stick to the skin and cause odor and bacteria. That quality of breathability you love in your favorite cotton shirt? Yeah, tencel has that in spades. According to a recent Business Insider article profiling tencel, “(it) shrinks less, wrinkles less, and breathed more.” If that isn’t a sterling endorsement for the new kid on the block, then I don’t know what is.

So the next time you think you found a product you love check the tag and look for tencel. Whether its a shirt, a sheet, or even a cooling cover for your favorite mattress, we know it’s going to make all the difference. That’s why at Nectar, we decided to custom wick our own tencel cooling covers, for maximum breathability and coolness. Because when you’re comfortable and cool, sleep comes easy.

Now you know the reason we prefer Tencel over cotton. See which mattress size is right for you and save $125 off instantly on a Nectar Mattress

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