In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of hemp vs bamboo sheets.
Things like comfort, breathability, texture, and environmental impact may all have an influence on why you might buy either hemp or bamboo.
There is also one very important thing to keep in mind before purchasing any bamboo sheets.
So read on as we discuss all the things you might want and NEED to know before you make a purchase.
Before purchasing bedsheets, there are a few things you might want to consider before you buy.
• How good is the quality of the material?
• Will the sheets regulate my body temperature?
• What is the environmental impact of my purchase?
Below we will answer these questions in depth.
Hemp vs Bamboo sheets –
What kind of material quality can I get?
When it comes to hemp and bamboo sheets there are pros and cons for both, and which is better for you will depend on your particular needs. Let’s check them out.
Hemp is a stronger fiber
Hemp just happens to be one of the strongest and most durable materials around.
This means that hemp sheets have a very long shelf life. However, a small point to note is that because of the strength of the fibers, hemp fabric lacks the elasticity of other fabrics such as cotton.
Bamboo is softer
It is true that bamboo fabric is a softer material, and often bamboo is referred to as “vegan silk” due to its soft texture.
However, be wary of this as this softness is often achieved through harsh chemical processes as we explain further on.
Often chemicals are used to process bamboo and make the material softer and more durable.
Bamboo is often woven together with other materials to make the material softer.
Hemp fabric on the other hand, although has a more coarse feel, does soften up the more it is washed, so effectively gets softer over time.
Like bamboo, hemp fibers are sometimes woven together with materials, such as cotton, to make them feel softer.
Do hemp and bamboo sheets regulate my temperature?
Hemp is a great fabric for regulating body temperature.
The natural fibers in hemp help to wick away moisture, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
It’s also breathable, allowing your skin to breathe while you sleep which helps to prevent sweating.
Hemp also possesses antibacterial properties and is naturally resistant to mold bacteria and odor, which gives the benefit of not having to wash it quite as often.
The natural breathability of the sheets keeps moisture levels low and bacteria away.
Funnily enough bamboo fibers have similar antibacterial properties to hemp however it loses a lot of these properties through the processing stage.1
What is the environmental impact of my purchase?
The list of benefits of hemp as a choice of fabric is long, and we could write a long article on this alone, but we will try and keep it short and succinct. While there are some benefits of choosing bamboo (certainly over some other materials), hemp is clearly a better option in terms of environmental impact.
Keep in mind both are great natural alternative resources to even organic cotton, but you need to pay attention to the manufacturing process of your bamboo sheets.
Let’s see why.
Hemp improves the soil and bamboo can help prevent erosion
Hemp roots are deep and fibrous, which helps to aerate the soil and improve drainage.
In addition, hemp leaves act as a mulch, helping to retain moisture and prevent weed growth.
Furthermore, hemp plants produce large amounts of biomass, which can be used as compost or added to the topsoil to improve its fertility.
Because of this hemp can even be planted in barren grounds and contaminated soil and still thrive.
In fact, growing hemp was part of the effort to de-contaminate the soil around Chernobyl after the meltdown.2
Bamboo also has positive qualities as a plant, often being used as a pioneer plant for land restoration.
Bamboo requires a chemical process to be turned into fabric.
Bamboo fabric unfortunately often uses toxic chemicals in the process which makes it a fabric.
The bamboo pulp needs to be extracted from the plant and to extract these pulps, toxic chemicals must be mixed with it before being broken down into strands and spun into fabric or clothing material such as bamboo viscose or rayon.
You can see here when Bamboo Viscose and hemp both rank in the environmental benchmark for fibers.
In fact according to the FTC:
“But when it is processed into fabric that is advertised as “soft,” “silky,” or “cool to the touch,” it has likely been turned into rayon or viscose using toxic chemicals. This process is far from eco-friendly, and the fabric that it creates may not be better for the environment than other types of fabric.” 3
If you are intent on bamboo sheets, look for “lyocell” sheets as they are processed in a much more environmentally friendly way, and to be extra sure, look for the certified Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certification.
Hemp on the other hand is generally processed manually and does not require any harmful chemicals to make the hemp fabric.
Bamboo does not require replanting
Before the traditional viscose process happens, both hemp and bamboo are actually some of the better sustainable materials.
A benefit of bamboo is that it is a perennial grass which means that after a harvest, you do not need to replant it.
Bamboo will regrow from the roots and is entirely self-regenerating.
Unlike bamboo, hemp will need to be replanted after it has been harvested.
Hemp can be harvested multiple times a year
Hemp grows quickly as does bamboo, however, hemp is able to be harvested multiple times in a year.
Bamboo, despite taking only 6-9 months to reach its full height can take 3-4 years to mature and be ready for harvesting.
So although the process of growing and bamboo cultivation is quite sustainable, harvesting bamboo is not quite as productive as hemp.
Hemp and bamboo both sequester Co2
What makes bamboo and hemp eco-friendly plants to grow, along with the above, is the fact that they are both fantastic carbon dioxide sinks.
For example, bamboo is said to be able to absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year. 4
One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare.
Its rapid growth makes hemp one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available.
Ultimately, both hemp and bamboo, as plants, are great for the environment.
More so than plants like cotton, however, where hemp and bamboo sheets differ is in the process that creates them. In that process, hemp has a significant eco-friendly advantage.
Final Thoughts on Hemp vs Bamboo bed sheets
When it comes to finding the best bedsheets, there are a lot of factors that may influence your decision.
In this article, we discussed hemp vs bamboo bed sheets and some of the pros and cons of each type.
From comfort to environmental impact, there are a lot of things to consider before you make your purchase.
So be sure to do your research and find the bedsheets that are right for you especially if you are purchasing bamboo sheets, or read our article comparing linen sheets.
Have you tried hemp or bamboo sheets? Let us know in the comments below!