Do I need hypoallergenic bed sheets? Expert insights from bedding designers

Hypoallergenic bed sheets could keep your bed and body cleaner, according to bedding designers and mattress makers

Hypoallergenic bed sheets from Cozy Earth on a bed.
(Image credit: Cozy Earth)

Hypoallergenic bed sheets are designed to bust the dust, mold, and mildew that build up in warm, damp environments, such as bedrooms. The best hypoallergenic bed sheets are tough on dirt but soft on skin for clean, comfortable sleep. 

If you're a sensitive sleeper, or you're keen to keep dust and dirt out of the bedroom, I recommend you invest in a set of hypoallergenic bed sheets. You can choose between breathable bamboo, smooth silk, luxe linens, classic cottons, and microfiber blends, depending on your sleep style and budget constraints. 

I asked bedding designers and mattress makers whether hypoallergenic bed sheets are really worth it. Together, we've explained exactly what makes a sheet set hypoallergenic and outlined the pros and cons of hypoallergenic materials as you shop for the best bed sheets

Do I need hypoallergenic bed sheets?

Along the way, I've picked out a few of my favorite hypoallergenic sheet sets for clean, deep, and stylish sleep. If you make it all the way to the end of this article, and you're still not convinced by hypoallergenic bed sheets, then you might prefer to shop for the best duvet insert to bust bacteria or the best pillow to soothe your skin.

What makes bed sheets hypoallergenic?

Green and white hypoallergenic bed sheets and pillowcases on a bed against a white wall.

(Image credit: Cultiver)

Hypoallergenic bed sheets are made from materials that are less likely to collect or create allergens, such as lint, mold, and dust mites. Some of the most popular hypoallergenic materials for bed sheets include cotton; bamboo; linen; silk; and microfiber. I asked Byron Golub, Vice President of Product & Merchandising at Saatva, to tell us a little more about each material. 

Byron believes that 'cotton is the most popular option for bed sheets because it's affordable, naturally hypoallergenic, and easy to clean'. Many of the best cooling sheets are made from cotton, which is breathable and durable. Some cotton sheets are sold undyed or made with environmentally friendly dyes,' which is good news for sensitive sleepers and eco-conscious shoppers. Just make sure to read the fine print and ensure you get 100% cotton, rather than a cheaper blend of inferior materials.

'Bamboo is a fantastic material for bed sheets because of its natural breathability and moisture-wicking properties,' says Byron. You'll find a lot of bamboo bedding on our hot sleeper checklist: it's just the thing to combat night sweats and hot flashes.

Byron lists linen as 'another naturally hypoallergenic material with unique filtering properties that reduce the number of allergens and germs typically found in bed sheets'. I put that down to the hollow nature of the flax fibers, which optimizes airflow. The best linen sheets are a safe bet for hot sleepers and warmer weather, as long as you don't mind the coarser texture. 

If you've got some cash to spare, and you're keen to create a beautiful bedspread, you could invest in a silk sheet set. 'Silk is another high-quality natural fiber that not only creates the softest bed sheets imaginable but also helps to soothe sensitive skin', says Byron. 'Since the silkworm spins silk into cocoons to deter predators, silk has natural protection against allergens like pet dander and dust mites.'

If you're buying on a budget, you might be better off with microfiber. According to Byron, 'microfiber is an excellent material for bed sheets as it is wrinkle-resistant, hypoallergenic, soft, durable, and easy to clean.' Many of the best affordable bed sheets are made from or with microfiber. Just make sure to 'avoid brushed microfiber sheets,' warns Byron, 'as they have a fuzzier texture and can trap allergens more easily'.  

Headshot of Byron Golub.
Byron Golub

Byron leads the product design teams at Saatva, the Smarter Luxury Sleep Company. He is committed to crafting sustainable luxury sleep products, using natural fibers and CertiPUR-US certified foams.

What are the pros and cons of hypoallergenic bed sheets?

Pure Parima Egyptian Cotton Sheets on a bed against a white wall.

(Image credit: Pure Parima)

The right set of hypoallergenic bed sheets could reduce the inflammation and itching that plagues sensitive sleepers, so that you can sleep more comfortably. Hypoallergenic bed sheets should also help to bust bacteria and keep your bed clean. For best results, you should pair your hypoallergenic bed sheets with the best mattress protector to safeguard against sweat and stains.

The vast majority of hypoallergenic bed sheets are made from natural fibers, which are naturally breathable and moisture-wicking. I'd recommend a set of hypoallergenic bed sheets for anyone looking to stay cool and dry this summer. For seriously hot sleepers, I suggest pairing your sheets with the best cooling comforter.

Admittedly, hypoallergenic bed sheets can be more expensive than cheap synthetic substitutes. I'd argue any extra costs are worth it: you're paying for cleaner sheets to keep you comfortable and stop you scratching. To save you time and money, I've rounded up a few of my favorite hypoallergenic bed sheets to suit every style of sleeper and size of budget. 

What are some alternatives to hypoallergenic bed sheets?

Avocado Green Mattress on a bed.

(Image credit: Avocado)

You might identify as a sensitive sleeper, but feel reluctant to buy brand-new hypoallergenic bed sheets. You might like the look and feel of the sheets you already own. I asked Parima Ijaz, founder and CEO of the luxury bedding brand, Pure Parima, whether sensitive sleepers could explore hypoallergenic alternatives. 

Good news: she said yes. 'If you prefer not to invest in hypoallergenic sheets, there are other options available depending on the intensity of your needs,' says Parima. 'These options include hypoallergenic down comforters and pillows, as well as hypoallergenic mattress toppers. You could also invest in a hypoallergenic mattress protector made from high-quality materials, such as Egyptian cotton, that will keep you comfortable all night.' 

Allergens are serious business at Pure Parima. That's why 'all of their down products are 100% hypoallergenic, and our down is double-washed, quadruple-rinsed, and tested, again and again.' Remember that hypoallergenic doesn't mean allergy-proof. You're investing in bedding that inhibits the growth of dust and dander, rather than prevents it altogether.  

Headshot of Parima Ijaz.
Parima Ijaz

Parima is the founder and CEO at Pure Parima, the premium bedding brand that uses the finest Egyptian cotton to create breathable, durable sheets that are truly timeless. 

If you've tried everything, and you're still scratching and sneezing, then the problem might just be your mattress. A hypoallergenic mattress, made from memory foam or latex, might be a significant expense, but it could make the biggest difference to your sleep quality.

Hypoallergenic bed sheets FAQs

Which are the best hypoallergenic bed sheets?

The Brooklinen Luxe Sateen Core Sheet Set, which contains the best bed sheets on the market, just so happen to be hypoallergenic. These sheets sleep cool, keep crisp, wash well, and dry beautifully for a neat bedspread. They're suitable for sensitive sleepers and eco-conscious shoppers, too, as they're Standard 100 OEKO-TEX certified

Where can I buy hypoallergenic bed sheets?

You could look for hypoallergenic bed sheets at your local home retailer, but I recommend shopping with a specialist sleep store. Saatva stocks a wide range of cotton and linen bedding to suit sensitive sleepers. If you're looking to splurge on silk sheets, I suggest Cozy Earth: you could even pick up a matching silk pillow (yes, you read that right). 

Our verdict

If you've ever woken up sneezing and scratching, then you should consider a set of hypoallergenic bed sheets. Bedding made from bamboo, cotton, linen, silk, or microfiber could keep your bed and body clean from dust, dirt, and dander. When you shop with a specialist sleep store, such as Pure Parima, you can pick up hypoallergenic bed sheets that deliver on style as well as sterility for deep, chic sleep.

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.