Posts Tagged ‘thread count’

Why Thread Count Matters

thread count compare

thread count compareMost people find their bed to be the safest and most comfortable place in their homes. People spend more money to have the mattress that they want on the bed frame that perfectly supports their backs. After choosing the best bed pillows based on their needs, people spend time looking for bed sheets that are soft to the touch, not scratchy, and light and airy.

This is where the importance of understanding thread count on your bed sheets becomes essential knowledge. You find yourself questioning what makes one type of bed sheet made from certain cotton different than another option. While you are aware of the significance in providing yourself with the best bedding options, you might not know all the ins and outs and tricky verbiage that comes along with shopping for new textiles.

Understanding Thread Count

To help make the decision process easier, it is important to understand exactly what thread count in bed sheets actually means. In essence, thread count is calculated by the number of both horizontal and vertical threads found in one square inch of fabric. Textile manufacturers count the threads that go both lengthwise and widthwise to create a thread count. For example, if 100 lengthwise threads are woven together with 100 widthwise threads, you’d have a thread count of 200.

If you are looking for extra soft and smooth bed sheets, the ply and thickness needs to be taken into consideration. Ply is defined as the amount of threads combined into a single thread. You will most likely encounter sheets that are either single ply or two ply while shopping. Single ply in bed sheets or pillow cases refers to one thread in the fabric, while two ply means that two threads are intertwined.

What often is confusing to consumers is that two-ply doesn’t mean double the thread count; it just means the threads are twisted together creating one singular thread. This does not necessarily improve the feel of the sheets themselves and can be slightly misleading to customers if the manufacturers are counting two-ply sheets or pillow as having double the actual thread count. Sheets can range in thread count starting at 60 and going as high as 800.

Thread Count

Description

Lower than 150 While at the less expensive end of the spectrum, you might not get the comfort and texture you are looking for. This might be especially difficult for those with sensitive skin.
150 75 threads going lengthwise, 75 threads going widthwise. Produces muslin, which has a slightly rougher feel.
180 90 threads going lengthwise, 90 threads going widthwise. Considered good quality and a common option.
200 100 threads going lengthwise, 100 threads going widthwise. Considered to be the best quality and will more than like last the longest
Above 200 You will more than likely pay a higher price tag for a thread count above 200. A thread count of 250 will also provide you with high quality sheets, but thread counts start to become misleading the higher the number goes.

Finding The Perfect Bed Sheets

Choosing bed sheets that work with your bedroom set is mostly about personal preference as well as understanding thread counts. You will get different looks and feels depending on the weave you choose and the quality of the cotton used. The most important factor may be more about how the fabric feels to the touch.

Cotton Fibers

Choosing the right cotton is key to finding the perfect bed sheets. Thread counts between 200 and 300 made with Egyptian cotton are better choices than a different cotton with a thread count of 1000. The starting quality of the cotton used is important as it stands up to the weaving process much better than inferior choices.

The best cottons are ones that possess long fibers that are processed into a strong yarn. In the end, these cottons will create the best bed sheets, because they will last longer and remain soft throughout its lifespan. The longer the fiber is, the thinner and stronger the thread.

Fabric Weave

The weave that is used to craft your bed sheet is what greatly affects how the sheet you choose will feel, how long it lasts, and what it costs.

Type

Description

Percale Possesses a thread count of 200 or higher and is considered to be tighter than standard weaves. It is firm and washes very well and is medium in weight, which is perfect for Fall and Spring.
Sateen Possesses a thread count of 300 or higher and is based on the satin weave but with cotton. Fibers are sewn four over one to provide a sheen and soft feel.
Jacquard Made on a special loom that creates designs such as bird’s eye pique. The process is slow and complex which increases the price of the textile. Stands up to the test of time. Heavy in weight.
Twill Designed to be strong and durable. The weave forms a crisscross pattern to create a diagonal pattern. Common in clothes and textiles.
Flannel Soft finish and warm feel. Medium weight and a great choice during the cooler months of the year.

Fabric Finish

Most bed sheets are chemically treated before packaging to help avoid shrinkage and wrinkling. There are a variety of manufacturers that offer bed sheets that are not chemically treated or if they were, they have removed any trace of the chemical before putting their product on the market. This might be an important choice for you if you have allergic reactions to certain chemicals or sensitive skin.

If you are interested in purchasing sheets that are made with no chemicals at all, there are a multitude of organic options available. This means that the cotton used is untreated by chemicals and pesticides throughout the entire growing and weaving process. Most sheets are treated with chlorine, formaldehyde, and silicon to help keep the integrity of their shape or with alkalis for a sheen finish.

Fabric Dye

If you choose to purchase a bedding set that that features patterns and colors, you will most likely have to wash them multiple times before you start using them to make them feel soft. Colors and patterns are added after the weaving process. Some of the softest sheets that feature colors and patterns come in a jacquard weave and are crafted with yarn-dyed fabrics and colored yarns.

Conclusion

When shopping for quality bedding, focus on more than just the thread count provided to you. For a lower price tag, thread counts below 150 will work but you might miss never quite get the softness you are looking for if you were to purchase options with a thread count above 180.

Not only should you focus on the thread count but research the different cottons, weaves, finishes, and dyes to find the bed sheets that are perfect for you and meet your personal and design needs. By searching for complete sets in the colors and patterns you desire, your bed will be your most favorite place in the house.