Choosing a sheet set might not seem like a big deal, but because you spend a lot of time in your bed, choosing comfortable, quality bedding is important. Microfiber and micro fleece are different fabrics that make quality sheet sets, but they offer separate advantages and disadvantages that can make one more appropriate for your bed than the other.
Microfiber fabrics are woven using extremely fine threads or fibers, which are measured in deniers. Deniers measure the diameter of a fiber, and fabrics are considered microfibers if their threads are 0.9 denier or less, which is extremely fine in comparison to other materials -- silk threads are about 1 1/4 denier, while nylon stockings are made from threads that are 10 to 15 denier. Because of their extremely fine threads, microfiber sheets are lightweight and breathe like natural fibers such as cotton, but can be woven into dense, durable fabrics. Micro fleece is also lightweight, but it is a thick, knitted fleece material that is made from synthetic fibers that aren't brushed as much as regular fleece. Despite its lightness, micro fleece feels thicker and warmer than microfiber sheets.
Microfiber is a synthetic or man-made material that is typically woven from acrylic, nylon, polyester or rayon fibers, although it is most often made from polyester. Micro fleece is typically made from 100 percent polyester fibers, but it may also be made from spandex and rayon.
Microfiber sheets are typically made from two or more fibers combined, such as polyester and nylon, to create an extremely fine synthetic fiber that is thinner than most silks, but with a similar smooth texture. Micro fleece is sometimes referred to as polar fleece, and sheets made of this material typically have a velvety texture. Micro fleece is lightweight, but it is similar to wool in warmth and softness.
Care and Cleaning
Never use bleach or a detergent that contains bleach to wash either material because these products break down the fibers. Bleach is often unnecessary anyway, because both materials resist stains. Liquid beads up on the surface of microfiber sheets, so you can blot it away with paper towel before stains set in. Wash microfiber sheets in warm water on your washing machine's regular or normal cycle. Tumble dry on low heat, but do not iron -- microfiber is wrinkle-free; ironing is unnecessary and it may burn the material.
Washing micro fleece sheets on a regular cycle could cause them to pill or lose their shape, so use the gentle cycle instead. Avoid fabric softeners, which tend to damage micro fleece's water-repellent finish, and tumble dry on a gentle cycle with low heat. Avoid ironing micro fleece as well, because high heat melts the fabric and leaves marks.
Wash both fabrics with similar materials. Washing microfiber sheets with other fabrics like cotton or wool may leave lint behind and washing micro fleece with anything other than fleece fabrics can lead to pilling and damage.
Pros and Cons
Micro fleece and microfiber both trap heat and dry rapidly, but micro fleece tends to feel dry even when soaked. Microfiber sheets tend to fade if left in direct sunlight for prolonged periods and should not be used near a source of flame, such as a fireplace or candles, because the material is flammable. Micro fleece may not fade as rapidly, but it traps body heat, so it may not be as comfortable as microfiber in warm weather. While micro fleece is resistant to pilling, it is not impossible for this to happen over the long term if the sheets aren't properly laundered and maintained.