The Best Crib Sheets Come in Organic Cotton, Warming Flannel, and Soft Silk, Too
One of our faves zips off for quick changes.
Published Jun 14, 2022 4:21 PM
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You’ve had the crib built for weeks. You picked out the softest quilt, tied the bumper in place, and lined up a row of handmade plush toys to greet your newborn. But: Cue the record scratch. Then you learn that the only things that go in a crib are a mattress, a fitted sheet, and the baby—in that order. So picking out a set of the best crib sheets is important since it’s what your baby is actually in contact with. Plus it’s the only part of the crib that you can actually dress up—sheets are an easy, low-investment way to add some personality and style to match your tastes (at least until your child wants to have a say in the matter).
These days, it seems like there’s no limit to the amount of crib sheets on the market. So what’s an overwhelmed parent to do? Lizzy Ott, cofounder of Lewis Home, recommends looking for the same three qualities she considers when making them. “They must be made from a high-quality, safe material; they must be supersoft to make a crib an inviting space for every stage, from newborn to toddler; and they must be beautiful!” she says.
Our favorites check those boxes and more. If you need to find something soft and cozy that will stay durable wash after wash (because accidents will inevitably happen), here are our favorite picks for setting your sleepyhead down for slumber time.
- Best overall: Burt’s Bees Solid Organic Cotton Beesnug Fitted Crib Sheet
- Best value: Cloud Island by Target Crib Sheet
- Best for warmer months: Lewis Home Organic Muslin Crib Sheet
- Best for cooler months: Coyuchi Cloud Brushed Organic Flannel Crib Sheet
- Best for sensitive skin: Silky Tots Silk Crib Sheet
- Best easy changes: QuickZip Crib Zip Sheet Starter Pack
- Best patterns: Swedish Linens Crib Sheet
Material: Organic cotton | Sizes: Standard, mini | Return Policy: 30 days through Amazon
What we like:
- GOTS-certified 100 percent organic cotton
- Accessibility; they’re easy to find both online and in-store (Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond)
- The Beesnug 360-degree fit might now allow for a mattress protector underneath
Why we chose it: A reliable registry favorite, thanks to its GOTS-certified 100 percent organic cotton fabric and endless pattern options.
If you need to make a quick decision on the crib sheets you’re adding to a baby registry, you can’t go wrong with the ones from Burt’s Bees. They are basic yet dependable and meet our must-have requirements: organic cotton, easy to find and purchase, and budget-friendly (they come in a pack of two), to name a few. An elastic that runs along the edge of a crib sheet isn’t groundbreaking, but this Burt’s Bees one has a BeeSnug 360-degree “premium elastic” that the company says provides extra stretch for an even snugger fit, which we can appreciate.
Best Value: Cloud Island by Target Crib Sheet
Material: Cotton | Sizes: Standard, mini, playard | Return policy: 365 days
What we like:
- Extra accessible
- Oeko-Tex certified, ensuring that it’s free of harmful levels of toxic substances
- Not made from organic cotton
Why we chose it: Sometimes the best crib sheet is the one you can run out to get quickly (or order for delivery ASAP).
When you least expect it, there may come a time when you need to change the sheets but all the backups have been soiled and you forgot to run the laundry. When that happens, you want to be able to dash out (or press “add to cart, deliver tomorrow”) to grab some. Not only is Cloud Island, Target’s in-house line of nursery and baby essentials, convenient when you need to make a store run or want same-day delivery, it’s a great value—prices start at just $10. They’re made of 100 percent cotton with an Oeko-Tex stamp of approval (ensuring nontoxicity) and come in neutral and maximalist prints. Stripes are a perennial favorite, but you could spring for extra-cheerful candy colors or, while we’re not against a dino or flower print, how delicious is this fruit and veggie pattern?
Best for Warmer Months: Lewis Home Organic Muslin Crib Sheet
Material: Cotton muslin | Sizes: Standard | Return policy: 14 days unused
What we like:
- Breathable and lightweight
- Open weave promotes airflow
- Sedex-certified manufacturer, ensuring fair wages and work environments
- Cotton muslin is naturally on the thinner side and more delicate than our other picks
Why we chose it: A cool (yes, pun intended) alternative to jersey cotton that allows for extra breathability on hot days.
Like adults, babies should have dedicated crib sheets for warm and cool weather. When the temperature rises, cotton muslin is a choice material; the fabrication allows for breathability so that your little one stays cool. While cotton muslin isn’t an unusual material, Lewis Home creates its crib sheets out of organic cotton, which lends durability while being free from both pesticides and harmful chemicals. Be mindful that the open-weave pattern means it can snag easily if you’re not careful. It’s also naturally on the thinner side, so you might want to opt for something thicker during the winter season. That said, this is the kind of material that feels so soft right out of the packaging and gets even softer with every wash. Pro tip: The little tote that the crib sheet comes in makes for an ideal baby face towel—it’s small, soft, and dries quickly.
Best for Cooler Months: Coyuchi Cloud Brushed Organic Flannel Crib Sheet
Material: Flannel | Sizes: Standard | Return policy: 30 days for full refund, 365 days for store credit, even if washed
What we like:
- GOTS-certified organic flannel
- Brushed texture for softness
- Has limited options for patterns/colors
Why we chose it: A plush option that keeps the crib warm when the weather cools.
The opposite of cotton muslin is flannel, the ideal fabric for those months when you need extra coziness. Coyuchi’s GOTS-certified organic flannel is called Cloud Brushed, meaning it has been brushed many times to create a soft, almost velvety texture that’s perfect for naps and bedtime. The material also has a Made Safe stamp of approval, certifying that it is “free of any and all toxins known or suspected to harm human health, animals, or ecosystems.” That’s a promise that helps babies and parents sleep better. While this pick is limited in patterns and colors, the undyed cotton and natural hues are guaranteed to work in any space.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Silky Tots Silk Crib Sheet
Material: Silk | Sizes: Standard, mini, bassinet, and accessories | Return policy: 30 days unused
What we like:
- 100 percent mulberry silk
- Minimizes friction so it’s more gentle on sensitive skin
- Line dry only
- Requires a bit more care for laundering
Why we chose it: A luxurious option for kids whose skin needs a little extra TLC.
The benefits of using silk hair ties and silk pillowcases have been known for a while (they reduce friction and thus hair breakage). The same idea applies here for crib sheets. Babies who have eczema will sometimes rub their heads back and forth in response to itching. Silky Tots’s mulberry silk crib sheets help minimize the friction, which in turn minimizes open sores. They can also help reduce that behind-the-head bald spot that babies sometimes inadvertently create by turning their heads when they sleep, specifically in the months when they haven’t learned to roll over to their side or tummy.
Best for Quick Changes: QuickZip Crib Zip Sheet Starter Pack
Material: Cotton | Size: Standard | Return policy: 60 days, free and no questions asked
What we like:
- Zip system allows for easy sheet changes
- Don’t have to change base as often
- Only Deluxe version includes the waterproof mattress pad
Why we chose it: A thoughtful product that takes away the pain points of changing a crib sheet.
Crib sheets are different from regular sheets in one groan-inducing way: They involve lifting the entire mattress off the frame. Crib mattresses are designed to fit very snugly to reduce the potential of hazardous situations, so changing the sheet requires an arm workout and, once it’s in place, additional zhuzhing to make sure it looks nicely tucked in. It’s an annoyance all parents come to know. With QuickZip, you simply just encase the mattress with the QuickZip base and change the top portion (the part that usually gets dirty) by zipping and unzipping. The zipper is covered so that your little one doesn’t accidentally graze their face, and the zipper pull tucks safely away. Another bonus? You don’t need to master the art of folding a fitted sheet.
Best Patterns: Swedish Linens Crib Sheet
Material: Organic cotton | Sizes: Standard | Return policy: 30 days unused
What we like:
- Unique patterns and rich colors
- Both GOTS and Oeko-Tex certified
- Ships from Sweden, so longer delivery times
Why we chose it: A sophisticated yet playful alternative to the themed patterns you normally find.
We obviously thrive on color and prints here at Domino, so when we discovered Swedish Linens, the patterns sang (lullabies, of course) to our hearts. The graphic motifs of waves, seashells, and Alpine rooftops are digitally printed on 100 percent organic cotton that’s GOTS certified. The fabric is also Oeko-Tex certified, which ensures the highest level of safety for your little snoozer. Although the sheets are designed in Sweden and made in Portugal, Swedish Linens ships worldwide, including to the U.S., for less than $13.
How We Chose These Products
Because your baby’s skin is in direct contact with a crib sheet, we put a premium on high-quality products that are certified to be low in toxic substances. Diaper issues and reflux are basically unavoidable with a new baby, too, so including options that a parent can quickly run out to buy (or order for swift delivery) was important. Lastly, snoozing is hard to come by as it is for a new parent. We didn’t want you to lose precious sleep over budget issues, so we made sure to include wallet-friendly sets that don’t sacrifice on safety or style. We also tapped two experts for advice and recommendations. One is a postpartum doula who helps her clients through all aspects of motherhood and baby prep, which includes evaluating the bedtime situation. The other is a mom/cofounder who launched her own line because she wanted something she couldn’t find (“Nursery essentials that are childlike, not childish”).
Our Shopping Checklist
Babies can sleep up to 17 hours per day. That’s a lot of time on a crib sheet, making material the most important factor while shopping. We believe it’s worth the extra dollars to choose products that are certified organic or deemed low in toxic substances. You’ll also want to consider things like the season or your baby’s natural temperament (do they run hot or tend to have clammy hands and feet?). Those factors can help inform the best material to choose, whether it’s cotton muslin or linen for warm weather versus flannel or jersey materials for cooler climes.
If you’ve spent months creating the perfect scene for your new arrival, you probably don’t want a patterned crib sheet to clash with the rest of the room. On the other hand, if you haven’t had time to put together the nursery or are opting to have the baby sleep in the same room as you for the first few months (a common situation considering how often babies need to wake up to feed, even at night), then a crib sheet is where you can inject some style.
Care and Maintenance
For reasons other than routine laundering, you’ll need crib sheets that can withstand frequent (sometimes daily!) washing. Silk requires a bit more maintenance than cotton; the trade-off is that you’re selecting the best fabric for babies suffering from eczema or hair loss. Cotton is much more durable and easy to clean. However, it’s a tad harsher on skin because it doesn’t reduce friction like silk does. For the months with warmer temperatures, muslin is perfect because of its breathability, but the open weave means the fabric can easily catch compared to our other picks. You’ll have to figure out the best trade-offs for your family.
Q: How many sets of crib sheets should I stock?
We suggest two at the bare minimum: one for use while the other is in the wash. Ott suggests three to five extra crib sheets on hand. “With three you never have to wait for the wash to put a new sheet on your mattress (there are lots of naps in the beginning!); a fourth and fifth is for good measure when there is extra spit-up, leaky diapers, or a baby is sick,” she says.
The need for three goes beyond just practicality, though. Ott shares that she and Lewis Home cofounder Liz Libré love the visual power a crib sheet has: “A crib sheet can change the whole mood of a room with minimal effort, so extra sheets on hand mean that whether it’s the changing of the season, your vibe, or anything else, a new color or print can help you instantly transform your nursery.” With our budget-friendly pick, this suggestion isn’t as costly as you would think, and the convenience is more than worth it.
Q: Do crib sheets fit all cribs?
Before you start adding our picks to your cart, you have to address a big question: Where is the baby actually going to sleep? Alex Rosen, a Connecticut-based postpartum doula, shares that “it is important to note that all crib sheets do not fit all sleeping spaces, so the first thing to do is figure out if the sheets you have your eye on are made to fit the sleep space you have for your little one.” So if upon homecoming, you decide that you’ll add a new roomie to your bedroom for a few months, opt for a bedside bassinet and a corresponding bassinet-size sheet.
Q: How tight should crib sheets fit?
Unlike our own bedsheets, where a little bunching isn’t a big deal, the opposite is true for crib sheets—it’s an extremely important detail to watch for. “While it’s superfun to focus on patterns and colors, it is of utmost importance to ensure that your crib sheet fits the mattress where your baby will sleep,” Rosen says. This means making sure the sheet has been washed, pulled tightly over the mattress, and inspected to make sure there is no chance that the fabric can bunch. “It should pull tightly over the corners of the mattress and stay firmly in place,” she advises, and for good reason. Loose material and undone corners can lead to fatal outcomes, like suffocation.
Q: Will crib sheets work in a playard?
As we just noted, fit is a crucial detail to inspect when setting up your baby’s sleep space. A crib sheet will fit over a playard mattress, but it will most likely bunch up and come undone, which is extremely unsafe, especially for babies under age 1. Make sure you’re using sheets specifically designed for the mattress you have, whether it’s a crib, mini crib, bassinet, playard, or lounger.
Q: How often should I change crib sheets?
Unless you’ve chosen our best pick for quick changes, you’ll probably consider changing crib sheets a big chore. It’s the only time you have to lift out an entire mattress to be able to change it. Still, it’s one of those chores you have to do, because even a little bit of spit-up can cause a big stink (it will literally smell like spoiled milk). Leaky diapers and blowouts are the other reasons you’ll need to change the sheets; the why is obvious. Rosen suggests aiming to change out a crib sheet every week to 10 days, barring any ill-fitting diapers or baby reflux accidents. Ott echoes the suggestion, sharing that she changes her crib sheets every week along with the rest of her home’s bedding.
The Last Word
A crib sheet is an exciting purchase because once it’s properly placed, it signifies your baby’s bed is complete (remember: mattress, crib sheet, baby—in that order). “Parents spend as much time in a nursery as a new baby, and you as the parent should enjoy the space as much as you enjoy your own room,” Ott encourages. Our picks for the best crib sheets will carry you through the next couple of years, until your child graduates to a toddler or twin bed (bittersweet as the changes are!).
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