Lightweight bedding to keep you (looking and feeling!) cool for the summer

Posted by Addison Jackson on

We spend about a third of our lives (and the best of our rainy Sundays) sleeping or in bed: 26 years in total, according to Jeffrey Siegel, Ph.D., a healthy buildings researcher and professor at the University of Toronto. That's a lot of exposure to our bedrooms alone, which means your bed is a great place to start when it comes to choosing healthier home products (sheets, throws, quilts, anyone?).

In summer, that means outfitting your bed with light and cooling layers (aka, the summer blanket)—and we have a keen interest in helping you do that with high-performing quilts and coverlets that protect your health and the environment. Using our Sway textile vetting standards, which take into consideration both the materials used to make bedding and the third-party certifications that they have achieved, we put together a summer blanket roundup that you’ll want to share and save for future reference (bookmark alert!).

The case for cool bedding

Swapping out a heavy winter set for something lighter, like a cotton blanket, as the weather gets warmer can feel like turning a new leaf and a fresh start for the sunny summer season, with benefits for your wallet, the environment, your physical and mental health.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom at approximately 60-67 degrees for the best night’s sleep possible. Keeping your sleep space cool at night allows you to regulate your body temperature, putting your body in prime position to do all the things it needs to at night, including building and supporting a healthy immune system. Cooler sleeping temperatures are also linked to self reported mental positivity and decreased mental health related hospitalizations.

That said, it's certainly not cheap (or low impact on the environment) to cool a room down to 67 degrees in the heat of summer, especially if you live in an especially warm place. Staying cool by stowing your comforters and bringing in a lightweight, soft blanket, can reduce reliance on air conditioning and its impact on the environment. Many air conditioners are powered by hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (HFCs) which are planet-warming gases that can be hundreds to thousands of times stronger than CO2. The EPA is phasing down HFCs, but even as that happens, more efficient AC use benefits us and the planet by reducing the amount of energy we use in summertime. So: Bust out the summer blankets.  

Our standards for summer blankets

We’ve sorted our picks for cooling covers into three categories: 

Good: Good products are certified to OEKO-TEX which requires testing for up to 350 regulated and non-regulated substances that may be harmful to human health.

Better: Better products are made with organic materials in addition to having one third-party certification for health, like OEKO-TEX or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). 

Best: Our Best section really shines, These picks are made entirely from natural fabrics with third-party organic certification from GOTS, and meet low emission and/or chemical screening requirements through third-party standards, like OEKO-TEX. 

Using this tiered rating system allows us to include more options at a wider range of prices—it also underscores our belief that perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good. All of the picks below, whether you choose a lightweight comforter or a cotton blanket, are thoughtfully made to protect your health and reduce your exposure to chemicals of concern, just to varying degrees. And that’s a win regardless, whether you fall in love with a Good, Better or Best summer blanket.

Good 👍🏼   

The Citizenry: Stonewashed Linen Quilt

Materials: French flax with poly fill
Certifications: OEKO-TEX 
Price: $279 for full/queen 
Reviews: 5-ish stars after 275 reviews

This beautiful quilt from The Citizenry comes in so many gorgeous colorways and is certified through the World Fair Trade Organization. From stripes to beautiful earth-toned solids, there's something for every style. We’d prefer a natural fill instead of polyester, but the OEKO-TEX certification helps mitigate some concerns with this synthetic component. 


Parachute: Linen Box Quilt

Materials: Linen and cotton shell, polyester fill
Certifications: OEKO-TEX
Price: $289 for full/queen 
Reviews: 4.76 stars after 964 reviews

This Parachute quilt is super similar to The Citizenry’s linen quilt above, both in material makeup and aesthetic look. Again, a gorgeous pick, but all the same comments about health apply: the polyester fill is made more appealing from a health standpoint because of their OEKO-TEX certification, but this is not quite the top tier for optimal materials.


Quince: European Linen Quilt

Materials: Flax shell, recycled polyester fill
Certifications: OEKO-TEX
Price159.90 for full/queen
Reviews: 4.8 stars after 184 reviews

Quince makes three! Another direct competitor in the linen quilt wars, style- and materials-wise. However, Quince’s European Linen Quilt dunks on Parachute and The Citizenry by offering a similar quality product at a better price. Like the other two, Quince offers some gorgeous colors, and puts a “textured twist” on this quilt with their European Dream Quilt, which is the same product, just with more stitching embellishment.


Parachute: Matelasse Coverlet 

Materials: Cotton
Certifications: OEKO-TEX
Price$209 for full/queen 
Reviews: 4.81 stars after 221 reviews

Parachute gets a second spot on the list with their Matelasse Coverlet, a super thin and breathable cotton blanket for readers in the hottest climates (or those who are living, breathing space heaters at night, like some of our team members). We love the functionality of an easy-to-throw-on coverlet, but note that Parachute uses non-organic cotton, but does have OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 certification. Regardless, the ribbed fabric and matching shams are stunning.


Parachute: Cloud Linen Gauze Bed Blanket 

Materials: Linen and cotton
Certifications: OEKO-TEX
Price: $189 for full/queen 
Reviews: 4.49 stars after 47 reviews

This soft blanket from Parachute screams comfort and would make any afternoon power nap absolute perfection. Making their way on the list again because of their diversity of products and our love of their aesthetic, but living in the Good section because our critiques are the same: we would prefer if the linen and cotton were organic, but this is still a good option for an OEKO-TEX and Climate Neutral Certified blanket you can feel good about!


Quince: European Linen Cotton Stitch Quilt

Materials: Linen and cotton
Certifications: OEKO-TEX
Price$149.90 for full/queen
Reviews: 4.8 stars after 22 reviews

Quince’s European Linen Cotton Stitch Quilt is so gorgeous, the Olive option shown above with its natural stitch pattern reminds us of sleeping deep in an enchanted forest. While we would prefer if the linen and cotton were organic, the price point makes it one to watch. 


Under the Canopy: Down Alternative Comforter

Materials: Organic cotton shell, recycled polyester fill
Certifications: OEKO-TEX (cotton shell only)
Price: $158 for a lightweight full/queen 
Reviews: 4.7 stars after 116 reviews
Under the Canopy knocks it out of the park with their Down Alternative Comforter. We love that you can pick the weight you want: All-season, Light, or Heavy, giving you the opportunity to select the right comforter for your lifestyle. The organic cotton shell with OEKO-TEX certification gives this comforter a slight edge over the rest on the Good section from a materials and health POV. Made with a recycled polyester fill, while giving great environmental benefits, isn't a Sway-fave due to the health implications of polyester. But with cruelty free production, this is still a great option!

Quince: Organic Airy Gauze Quilt

Materials: 100% organic cotton shell, recycled polyester fill

Certifications: OEKO-TEX
Price: $149.90 for full/queen
Reviews: 4.7 stars after 42 reviews

Quince’s Organic Airy Gauze Quilt may be the best looking of the bunch! (We’re…obsessed.) And while the recycled poly fill isn’t Sway-approved, the fact that the entire product is certified to OEKO-TEX is a plus. Some reviews do say this quilt is heavy, despite the word “airy” in the product name, so do with that what you will. Also note that the quilt comes in a “box quilt” variety if you’re looking for more texture.


Better 😏

Quince: Organic Ribbed Cotton Coverlet

Materials: Organic cotton
Certifications: OEKO-TEX
Price: $99.90 for full/queen 
Reviews: 5 stars after 20 reviews (!)

Quince is back on our list, this time with their Organic Ribbed Cotton Coverlet making it up to our “Better” ranking. This cotton blanket is lightweight enough to be thrown over your standard quilt in the winter or used alone in the summer. The only thing that would make this quilt better from a health POV is if it was also certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). But this is PDG, pretty damn good!


Pact: Quilted Comforter

Materials: Organic cotton shell and fill
Certifications: GOTS
Price: $240 for full/queen 
Reviews: 4.9 stars after 105 reviews

Pact finds itself on our list for the first time and this medium weight comforter is a good layering piece or works as a standalone summer blanket. The only thing that would make this quilt better from a health POV is if it was also certified to OEKO-TEX. 


Best 🥹

The Citizenry: Organic Cotton Gauze Quilt

Materials: Organic cotton shell and fill
Certifications: GOTS and OEKO-TEX
Price: $279 for full/queen 
Reviews: 4.9 stars after 105 reviews

The Citizenry: Organic Cotton Gauze Quilt meets the gold standard for materials health (literally no notes). Their gorgeous brown and beige options would make an absolutely gorgeous addition to any bedroom. That said, she’s pricy.


Parachute: Organic Air Cotton Quilt


Materials: Organic cotton
Certifications: GOTS and OEKO-TEX
Price: $259 for full/queen 
Reviews: 4.29 stars after 34 reviews

Parachute’s Organic Air Cotton Quilt is a perfect ten from a Sway POV, no notes! Parachute listed this cotton blanket as one of their lightest-weight bed covers, and its airy and relaxed look makes it a serene addition any room.


Parachute: Organic Waffle Bed Blanket

Materials: Organic cotton
Certifications: GOTS and OEKO-TEX
Price: $199 for full/queen 
Reviews: 5 stars after 3 reviews

Rounding out our list is this cotton blanket from Parachute, meeting all of Sway’s highest standards for textiles. Bonus: Parachute listed this as literally their lightest-weight bed cover, making it (the ultimate?) summer blanket.


No matter what summer blanket you buy

You can trust Sway will curate a product list that’s good for you.

At Sway, our team researches and vets healthy home furnishings so that our readers don’t have to. Our carefully selected picks of clean and conservation-minded products can be found throughout our shopping guides, newsletter and online marketplace. 

Using guidance from reputable organizations like the Green Science Policy Institute, the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design, and the Environmental Working Group, we aggregate non-toxic home goods from a variety of brands, making it easy for anyone to shop for their home, their friends, and their life with confidence. 

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