Everything You Need to Know About Bed Sheets
Buying bed sheets can be a confusing and frustrating experience. It’s great that there is so much choice – but that’s the problem! How do you choose and how do you know what’s right for you?
People commonly set out to buy bed sheets and come home with linens that aren’t really what they wanted. And that’s a shame because making the right purchase can enhance your bed, your bedroom and most importantly, how you sleep.
The Thread Count
Americans wouldn’t dream of buying bed sheets without knowing their thread count. Italians and French people understand and use them too. However, most British people wouldn’t know what a thread count is – as it sadly isn’t widely used in the UK.
The thread count is the number of threads, including both horizontal and vertical, that are woven into each square inch of the fabric.
This can range from 180 to over 2,000 – the higher the thread count, the softer and better quality the fabric is.
Why Thread Count Can Be Misleading
A ‘true’ thread count is done on single ply threads so it’s also very important to check out the ply. It’s becoming more common for up to 4 short lengths of thin, cheap thread to be twisted together to be used in the weaving process. This would give a high thread count but the resulting threads would be thicker overall and so the resulting fabric would be of inferior quality and wouldn’t wear well. So, when you look for the thread count, always check that it’s also single ply to ensure good quality.
A thread count of 250 is usually the minimum you would want for comfort and durability.
Using long fibers in the weaving process gives bed sheets a smooth and silky feel. To ensure that you get bedding with long fibers, check the packaging. If there is any mention of 2-ply or 4-ply, then you will know that the weave has been comprised of shorter lengths.
Egyptian, Supima and Pima cottons have the longest fibers – but again, check the thread count and the ply to be sure.
Check list of Bed Sheet Fabrics
- Cotton – Natural, comfortable, breathable, durable.
- Egyptian Cotton – the highest quality ‘long thread’ cotton but check that it is 100% cotton. Sheets can be called Egyptian with only 10% Egyptian Cotton content! Also check the thread count and ply to guarantee quality.
- Supima and Pima Cotton – use the same checks as for Egyptian Cotton
- Flannel – breathable, warm, durable.
- Cotton/Polyester blends – wrinkle less than full naturals and are easier to iron.
- Satin – An affordable alternative to silk. Easy to care for but snags and pulls easily.
- Silk – The best available. Durable, breathable, hypoallergenic, cool in summer, warm in winter. Often graded by its’ ‘momme’ weight. An average silk sheet would weight between 10-12 momme. The higher the momme the better the silk.