Hemp vs Linen Sheets: Everything you need to know

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Hemp vs linen bedsheets

Even though hemp and linen-based bedding were around several centuries ago, way before the mass cotton and synthetics boom, they have recently been regaining popularity. Hemp and linen bedsheets are rapidly combatting fast-fashion favorites for their raw, minimally-processed style.

In this article, we discuss the pros, cons, and features of hemp vs linen sheets so you can make an informed decision when choosing between hemp and linen sheets.

What is hemp?

Hemp is a versatile plant that has been used for centuries to make a variety of products, including paper, clothing, and rope.

Hemp sheets are made from the fibers of the hemp plant, which are woven together to create a strong, and durable fabric.

In more recent years, hemp has also been used to create sheets.

Hemp is an ideal material for sheets because it is soft, yet durable, and able to withstand regular washing.

Hemp is one of the strongest and most durable of all natural textile fibers and is stronger than steel in Tensile and Compressive Strength. Source: hempfoundation.com

What is linen?

Linen is a natural fiber made from the flax plant.

It’s a very strong natural fiber, which is why it’s often used in household textiles like bed sheets and towels.

Linen is also highly absorbent and dries quickly, making it a good choice for clothing.

When choosing linen sheets, look for a high thread count to ensure durability and comfort.

What similarities do hemp vs linen have in common?

While hemp and linen fabric may seem worlds apart, they actually have quite a few similarities.

For one, both hemp and linen fibers are natural.

This means that they are both environmentally friendly and biodegradable and both fabrics have actually antibacterial properties.

Additionally, both hemp and linen are durable fabrics and long-lasting.

Similarities between hemp and linen fabrics

In fact, hemp fibers are actually one of the strongest natural fibers available.

Finally, both hemp and linen fabrics are soft and comfortable on the skin.

How do hemp and linen differ?

There are many positive similarities between hemp and linen, but the main difference between hemp and linen is that hemp is made from the stem of the cannabis plant, while linen is made from the flax plant.

Hemp is a bit coarser than linen, but it’s also more absorbent.

Linen is smoother and has a slight sheen to it.

Hemp fabric is growing in popularity because it’s environmentally friendly.

Hemp vs linen fabric: a comparison checklist

Hemp can be grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides unlike linen, however, it does require more water to grow than linen.

Linen is also a sustainable fabric, but it takes longer to grow flax than it does to grow hemp.

What’s the environmental impact of hemp vs linen?

Because hemp grows prolifically like a weed up to 3 meters tall (thereby shading any weeds trying to grow beneath it), it doesn’t require any chemicals compared to many other crops.

Other eco-friendly benefits include the fact that hemp has natural insect repellent properties, therefore dispelling any pesticide use.

It can therefore easily be grown organically and as part of regenerative agriculture practices.

Summary of environmental impact of hemp vs linen

In contrast, cultivating flax crops generally require higher nutrient levels than hemp and may require some pesticides to ward off pests.

Hemp also grows extremely fast and produces a larger yield per acre than flax/linen does. In fact, it produces an average of 5,000-6,000 pounds per acre. In comparison, flax only yields up to 1,200 – 1300 lbs on average even after the use of chemicals.

In comparison, cotton requires 20 times more. 

Is hemp or linen more sustainable?

As this article has highlighted, hemp offers more environmental benefits and is, therefore, more sustainable than linen.

Here are the reasons hemp is more sustainable:

✅ Hemp doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers to grow and is naturally resistant to pests.

✅ Hemp enriches the soil it’s planted on and doesn’t deplete resources like flax can.

✅ With hemp you don’t have to worry about crop rotation and wasting precious land in order to prevent wear-and-tear on this limited environment critical resource

✅ Hemp positively contributes to biodiversity

✅ Hemp has a significantly higher yield

What are the textile characteristics of hemp & linen sheets?

Hemp and linen are made from plant-based fibers, so they have a natural texture that is both soft and strong.

Hemp is a bit coarser than linen, but both fabrics are known for their durability.

Both hemp and linen also have excellent breathability, making them perfect for use in hot weather.

Because they are both made from natural materials, they are also hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.

As a result, they are both a great choice for people with allergies or sensitive skin.

What are the disadvantages of hemp fabric?

Despite the significant benefits of hemp sheets over linen, they do have a few disadvantages to keep in mind.

❌ First, hemp is a bit rougher than linen, so if you are wanting the softer option, linen might be a better choice.

❌ Hemp does crease like linen

❌ Hemp is far less stretchy than linen and has very little elasticity.

❌ Additionally, hemp is more likely to shrink than linen, so you’ll need to be careful when washing and drying them (never pop in the dryer, and always wash in cold water)

❌ Finally, hemp sheets are generally more expensive than their linen counterparts, so you’ll need to decide if the extra cost is worth it for you.

Does hemp crease like linen?

Unfortunately, yes, hemp does crease like linen but luckily not quite as much. This is because of its stronger fibers.

Why choose hemp sheets over linen?

Is hemp better than linen?

When deciding on whether to buy hemp or linen sheets, there are a few reasons why you might choose hemp sheets over linen.

Here are some of the main reasons you might choose hemp over linen sheets:

✅ From an environmental standpoint, you could safely say hemp is better than linen.

✅ Hemp fiber is more durable than linen, due to the hemp fibers being longer and stronger than the flax fibers, so your sheets will show less wear and tear.

✅ It’s also more breathable than linen, so it will keep you cooler in warm weather.

✅ Hemp fabrics are also more absorbent than linen, so they will wick away moisture better.

✅ Hemp is naturally resistant to ultraviolet light, so it won’t fade or be damaged by sunlight.

So if you’re looking for bed sheets that are durable, breathable, absorbent, and environmentally friendly, hemp is the way to go.

Final thoughts

Both flax and hemp plants generate textiles with several common benefits including more environmentally friendly properties than standard widespread cotton or polyester.

Although this may come at a slight premium for your wallet, know that your linen or hemp sheets will keep their original quality for as long as you keep taking care of them

Ben Turner

Growing up in New Zealand I have always had the gift of living in a beautiful, natural environment. With all the changes happening in the world, I wanted to actively try and make a difference (be it big or small) in helping protect nature that we have.

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