Categories: Bedding

Untangling the Weave of Thread Counts

Most people are unaware that the term thread count when selecting sheets is more than just a pretty phrase (and corresponding number) to attach to bed linens. In fact, it’s a scientific term with strict standards as to exactly how the threads that comprise thread count are counted.

Why is thread count important? You spend about seven to eight hours per night in bed. That’s roughly one third of your life. In bed. You deserve to be comfortable in your bed, and that begins with a high quality mattress, like a 100 percent natural latex mattress, and outstanding quality sheets and pillowcases to seal the deal.

The wrong sheets can make even the highest quality mattress seem somehow substandard. Keep that in mind as you shop for sheets for your new mattress. They matter more than you realize.

The Long and Short of Thread Count

The thread count of a sheet, for instance, is the number of threads counted in one square inch of the sheet. This includes the warp (lengthwise threads) and weft (widthwise threads). If a sheet consists of 150 warp threads and 150 weft threads, it has a 300 thread count.

The higher the thread count, the higher the quality of the sheets. Most people will agree that 500 to 600 thread count is about as good as it gets. Ultimately, what works best for you, though, will come down to a matter of preference.

Is Thread Count the Only Metric of Quality?

Thread count, while important, is not the only quality metric when it comes to bed linens. There are a total of four metrics generally used to determine the quality of bed sheets. Thread count is one of those metrics. The others are: fiber quality, finishing, and yarn size.

  • Fiber Quality – There are many different fabrics used to make high-quality sheets including cotton, silk, modal, and linen, but the most common is 100 percent cotton. The highest quality cottons are those that are longer because longer fibers create yarns that are stronger than the shorter cotton fibers. Of these longer fibers, Egyptian cotton and Pima are the typically counted among the finest.
  • Finishing – Finishing typically consists of two processes: singeing and mercerizing the sheets. Singeing eliminates the fuzz of the cotton that would eventually turn into pills on your sheets and mercerizing helps to not only strengthen the sheets but also prepared them for dyeing. Lower quality sheets may lack one or both finishing methods.
  • Yarn Size – While it sounds a bit confusing at first, higher yarn sizes are finer yarns. The finer the yarn, the more threads you can work into a single square inch of fabric. Therefore, the higher the yarn size, the better the quality of the fabric.

Keep in mind that touch is one of the five senses that impact sleep. Understanding the basics of thread counts, and how they feel, can help you get the right sheets for sound sleep — and to compliment the quality of your new mattress purchase from PlushBeds perfectly.

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Amber Merton

Amber Merton writes exensively regarding green living and sleep. She has been an author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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