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Linen is a natural fabric that’s made from the cellulose fibers of flax plants. Most linen comes from flax grown in European countries like Belgium, France, and Italy.
Linen has been around for a long time, and is commonly used to make things like clothes and home textiles. It’s recently surged in popularity as a sheet fabric.
If you’ve ever slept on real linen sheets, you probably already know why people like them so much. Elegant yet durable, linen has temperature-regulating properties, so you can sleep snuggly warm in cold weather and comfortably cool in hot weather.
It’s also able to absorb 20 percent of its weight in moisture, giving it significant moisture-wicking abilities. This makes linen sheets a great choice for hot sleepers.
Read on to find out our top 11 picks for high-quality linen sheets.
How we chose
High-quality linen starts with high-quality flax and great manufacturing standards. Here’s what we considered while searching for the best linen sheets on the market:
- Transparency and certifications. The sheets on our list are made by companies that are transparent about their manufacturing processes. Most of them have OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification. This means that all parts of the sheets, including the elastic, are free from toxins, chemicals, and harmful substances.
- Purity. We chose sheets that are made from 100 percent linen.
- Texture. Linen sheets can sometimes be a little grainy at first, but they tend to soften with wear. We looked for sheets that are a little softer from the beginning.
- Longevity. A quality set of sheets should last a long time.
- Style. Many of the sheets on our list come in a variety of colors.
- Customer reviews. We analyzed customer reviews from multiple retail sites and only chose products with significantly more raves than complaints.
Linen sheets can be pricey, but they may last for decades if cared for properly. The sheets on this list are mostly priced as queen-sized sets. Some of our choices are purchased piecemeal, or require add-on sales of flat sheets or pillowcases. We’ve taken this into account when determining price.
Prices are indicated as:
- $ = under $200
- $$ = $200–$300
- $$$ = over $300
If you’re unsure about linen, Cultiver is a good place to start, since you can request a fabric swatch before buying.
These sheets are 100 percent pure linen made from European flax. Designed to have a vintage look, they’re prewashed for softness and come in a wide range of patterns and colors.
They’re medium weight, so they’re good for both warm and cool sleepers. The fitted sheet is sized generously, which some users love but others find baggy. They may be best for a deep mattress.
If you’re shopping for a twin sheet set, know that the twin size only comes with one pillowcase. All other sizes come with two.
Buy Cultiver sheets online.
For OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified linen sheets made from French-grown flax, these are relatively low in price.
They’re stone-washed for softness, but users mention that they continue to soften over time. Although linen is a fairly wrinkle-prone fabric, these do have some wrinkle resistance.
Buy DAPU sheets online.
These sheets are made from Belgian flax. They’re designed to be buttery soft from the get-go, meaning you won’t have to deal with any initial scratchiness. They come in three neutral tones: white, ash grey, and pale blue.
These sheets run big, so they’re perfect for deep or pillow-top mattresses. They’re also OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.
A huge plus of Snowe linen sheets is that they’re easy to care for. Linen typically needs to be washed either on gentle cycles or by hand. These can be thrown in a commercial washing machine, though. They shouldn’t shrink, rip, or wrinkle significantly.
Buy Snowe sheets online.
These hypoallergenic, machine washable sheets are made from 100 percent organic European linen.
They don’t come prewashed, and the manufacturer recommends washing them before use. They may be a little scratchy at first, but they should soften up after a few washes. They’re especially comfy to sleep on for those who enjoy the natural texture of linen.
While some online reviewers report problems with the sheets developing holes over time, most reviews are positive and say the sheets are on the thicker side.
These sheets come in seven colors, including natural, which is undyed, untreated linen. The natural color sheets may be a heavier weight and scratchier, while other colors may feel a little softer and more lightweight.
Buy Len Linum sheets online.
These sheets are produced in small batches, without chemicals, in Normandy. Since they’re not produced in mass quantities, certain colors and sizes may be back-ordered on occasion. However, users of these sheets say they’re worth the wait.
They have an earthy texture and wrinkly, lived-in look.
Sijo sheets are prized for durability and softness. Unlike many linen sheets, they’re preshrunk, so they shouldn’t shrink in the wash.
You can buy these either as a three-piece set with no top sheet or a four-piece set with a top sheet.
Buy Sijo sheets online.
These sheets have a natural, lived-in look and crisp feel. They’re very soft and continue to soften over time with washing.
Due to the manufacturer’s washing process, you may not get an exact, uniform color between pieces, especially if you buy your sheets and pillowcases separately.
These sheets are fair trade certified. That means they’re made in factories with safe working conditions that provide fair wages to their employees.
Buy West Elm sheets online.
These hypoallergenic, machine washable sheets are made from 100 percent French linen. They’re OEKO-TEX certified.
They have unfinished, feathered edges for an earthy, vintage look. Users mention that these sheets are incredibly durable and tear-resistant. They may shrink a little in the wash, so you may want to avoid drying them on high heat.
You can buy these as a set or piecemeal. They come in five muted colors, and the brand offers fabric swatches to help you make your decision.
Buy Saphyr sheets online.
In the world of linen sheets, this set from Simple&Opulence is budget friendly. Even so, they don’t skimp on quality. Soft and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, they’re made from European flax.
They’re medium to lightweight, which may be a plus if you sleep hot. They wear well, without ripping or fading.
The fitted sheet has a 14-inch pocket, so it may not fit over very deep or pillow top mattresses.
Buy Simple&Opulence sheets online.
These sheets are one of the most expensive on our list, but they’re heirloom quality and should last a lifetime.
The fabric is sourced from a family-run mill that uses flax grown in the Italian Alps. Unlike most linen sheets available today, these are manufactured in the United States.
They’re prewashed for softness, are chemical free, and are about as durable as a sheet can be.
Buy Huddleson sheets online.
These budget-friendly, prewashed sheets have OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and Made in Green certification.
They come in nine colors and can be easily machine-washed and dried.
The fitted sheet has added elastic at the corners for durability. It stretches to fit mattresses from 9 to 18 inches deep, so it’s perfect for almost any mattress depth. As an added bonus, the sides of the sheet are labeled so you can easily tell the top and bottom from the sides when you’re making the bed.
Buy Casaluna sheets online.
These sheets are pure linen made from French flax. Certified to meet OEKO-TEX Standard 100, they’re free of chemicals and come prewashed for softness.
They have interesting details that set them apart, such as picot trim near the edging, and raw-edged double fringe on the flat sheet and pillowcases.
They wash beautifully, are not prone to fading, and should last for many years.
The fitted sheet is fully elasticized to ensure an easy fit. Unlike most other sheets on our list, each piece is sold separately so you can mix and match.
Buy Eileen Fisher sheets online.
Linen vs. other materials
Compared with cotton fibers, linen fibers are relatively thick. That’s why sheets made from linen are so durable.
Linen typically has a slightly bumpy or coarse texture that some people love — and some people don’t. It really comes down to personal preference. Though linen typically softens with washing, it’ll never feel as smooth as other types of fabric, like high-quality Egyptian cotton, jersey knit, or sateen.
Unlike polyester or other sheets made from synthetic fibers, linen is all-natural. It’s also eco-friendly, since it’s made from flax — a plant that, compared with cotton, is relatively easy to grow and takes less water.
Linen is also more natural than most bamboo-derived viscose, which is often acquired via a chemical process.
How to shop
A complete linen sheet set typically starts at around $125 and goes up to over $400. That means they’re considerably more expensive than many other types of sheets, so it’s important to choose a good-quality set that you like.
Try before you buy
If you’ve never slept on linen before, you may want to choose a brand that offers fabric swatches. That way, you can feel the fabric before you commit to a full set of sheets. Some people like the slightly coarser feel of linen, while others don’t.
If you want a set that’s 100 percent linen, but sure to check the labels. Some brands sell sheets that are linen-cotton blends. These can be comfortable as well and may be less expensive.
Consider the source
When you find a brand you’re interested in, research where they source their fabric and make their products.
Lots of flax used to make linen is grown in Europe, since some European countries like Belgium and France have the right climate to grow the plant. But the sheets themselves can be manufactured in many other parts of the world. You may want to look for products made in fair trade certified factories.
Another good quality indicator is OEKO-TEX Standard 100. Products that carry this label have to meet certain quality standards and be free of potentially dangerous chemicals.
Caring for linen sheets
Linen sheets can last for decades, but they’re more high maintenance than cotton, bamboo, or polyester sheets. Those who love linen say caring for them is worth the effort, and they enjoy an ever-increasing softness that only gets better over time.
Linen lasts longest when washed in soft water with low mineral content. If you have hard water or water that contains large amounts of lime, adding a softening agent to the wash will help preserve the color and integrity of the fabric.
Some people choose to handwash linen sheets, but you can usually put them in the washer too. Just make sure to choose warm or cold water cycles instead of hot. You may also want to use a gentle cycle.
Detergents and fabric softeners
Try not to use a detergent that contains color brighteners or bleach. These added chemicals can weaken and discolor linen fibers.
Be sure to rinse the sheets thoroughly, as leftover detergent can also wear down linen fibers over time.
While it can be tempting to use fabric softener or dryer sheets on rough linen sheets, it’s best not to. These products leave behind a coating that makes linen less breathable, altering its wicking and cooling abilities.
Drying linen in a machine will help soften it. Just be sure to use a low setting to avoid shrinkage.
Line drying is also an option, although too much sunlight can cause fading and may make linen stiffer.
Linen doesn’t respond well to dry cleaning. It can discolor, stiffen, or weaken the fabric.
Linen has an earthy, rumpled look and tends to wrinkle easily. If this bothers you, you can use an iron on a low setting, or you can use a handheld steamer.
Linen sheets are durable, beautiful, and can last for many years. They have a textured feel, but soften up significantly with washing. They’re highly breathable and moisture wicking. This makes them an excellent choice for hot sleepers.
Linen sheets can be high maintenance and may be more expensive than other types of sheets. However, many people find that it’s worth the extra investment.