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The Differences Between Linen and Cotton

Posted on 17 January 2018

When we’re talking about the differences between linen and cotton, it’s actually often easier to discuss the similarities between the two fabrics. Both have been used as materials for clothing and bedding for many thousands of years, with cotton thought to even date back to prehistoric times. Both linen and cotton are known for their versatility, as well as their ability to absorb moisture well and keep you nice and warm at night.

But there are certain important differences between linen and cotton too, which go some way to explaining why cotton is often seen as an excellent ‘all-rounder’ textile, while many people tend to see linen as a luxury item and are therefore prepared to invest a little more for it.

Health Properties

Linen is non-allergenic, so linen bed sheets are the perfect option for anyone with sensitive skin or suffering from conditions such as dermatitis. You’ll often find you get a better night’s sleep in bed linens than with other materials. Linen will also naturally repel bacterial growth, which is why more and more people are looking to buy linen towels for their bathrooms and kitchens.     


Whereas cotton feels soft and fluffy to the touch immediately, linen takes time to lose its crispness and feel more subtle in your hands. This is one of the reasons we love it, and also why linen bed sheets will often stay in a family for generations, growing softer and softer down through the years.


Good-quality cotton products will last you a long time if looked after well, but linen is reckoned to be the strongest fabric in the world. The custom made linen sheets that we sell could easily be bought for a wedding gift, and eventually be passed down to the couple’s children, and even their grandchildren, such is their durability. Linen is a luxurious fabric, and so it never goes out of style. 


Linen is made of long, hollow fibres that are excellent conductors of heat. As we mentioned above, both linen and cotton are good for keeping you warm, but unlike cotton, linen bed sheets and clothes will also do a great job of keeping you cool when it’s hot.


One other key difference between linen and cotton that we feel important to mention is that linen is a far more eco-friendly option. The flax plant is very hardy, and requires little water, pesticides or fertilizer when compared to the cotton plant, so it’s better for the planet.                     


The MagicLinen Philosophy

Our linen products, including our organic bedding range, are OEKO-Tex®-certified and can be sewed to custom sizes to suit your needs. We use stonewashed linen, to avoid any unnecessary chemicals and make the material as soft as possible. Plus, all of our range, from linen curtains to women’s clothing, bed sets to hand towels, are cut by hand by professional tailors with a passion for perfection.  


It can sometimes be difficult to choose between cotton and linen, we understand that. But if you are buying linen products, either for a gift or your own home, then the choice of who to buy them from should be obvious.

 For more interesting stories and articles about our dedication to linen go here.

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