Bed Sheets Buying Guide

The bed linens you choose can make a world of difference in your quality of sleep. With so many choices you may need some help deciding what will work best for your bed, budget and personal style. These simple guidelines and facts can help you make your purchase a breeze and get you one step closer to a wonderful night’s sleep.

Thread Count

Thread Count is the number of threads that are woven together in a square inch. Counting is done by taking into consideration the warp (length) and the weft (width wise). The finer the threads are, the softer the fabric will feel. For example, if a fabric square inch has 200 threads in the warp and 200 threads in the weft, that equals a thread count of 400.

  • 120 to 180 Thread Count This range is perfect for a college dorm, kids room or spare bedroom. The material is very basic. Muslin fabric sheets will fall into this range.
  • 200 Thread Count Sheets offered in this thread count are made from a cool cotton and are a perfect weight for summer use. This thread count is typically used in hotels and motels. Percale weave sheets will fall into this range.
  • 400 Thread Count These types of sheets are often percale cotton or an Egyptian cotton. Expect this type of sheet to be used in upscale hotels chains and resorts.
  • 600 Thread Count Sheets in this thread count range will be very soft and expensive. Technical weaving processes are used creating a luxurious and smooth fabric.
  • 800 to 1000 Thread Count These sheets are luxury supreme! The fabric will have more sheen and silky feel. The ultimate in luxury and carries a hefty price.

Fabric Weaves

The difference between types of sheets is not the fabric used, it’s the weave type.

Muslin Weave is typically inexpensive and tends to be a rougher fabric.

Sateen Weave is a cotton cloth with a satin weave that has a slight sheen and smooth finish. The fabric is very soft but tends to be a bit less durable than a fabric with a tighter weave.

Percale Weave is a crisp, sturdy weave that is used in not only sheets but towels and other types of bedding. Percale sheets when ironed are crisp but soft to the touch and have a matte finish.

Egyptian Cotton fabric is soft and very durable. True Egyptian cotton has long fibers. When the fibers are woven they produce a strong fabric. Any cotton grown in Egypt can be labeled Egyptian but it’s not always the best quality. Expect to pay more for high-quality Egyptian cotton sheets.

Pima or Suplma is a high-quality cotton that is comparable to Egyptian cotton. The difference is that the cotton is grown in the United States and not Egypt.

Satin sheets are a synthetic material and typically tend to wrinkle easily and do not breathe as well as cotton sheets. While some consider satin sheets a luxury, some folks prefer a natural

Fit

Even though there are standard mattresses sizes it’s a wise idea to measure your mattress length, width and depth (thickness) before purchasing sheets.

Comfort options such as plush, pillow top and extras like toppers and mattress pads (hint, a mattress pad is a must! Ask your salesperson why.) add to the thickness of the mattress. Getting a good night’s sleep is not possible when your fitted sheets won’t stay on the bed properly. Measure, you’ll be glad you did!

Most everyone is aware of the standard bed sizes; twin, full, queen and king. There are specialty size mattresses that require special sized sheets.

  • Twin XL (extra-long) – Usually found in college dorm settings. The mattress is usually 5” longer than a standard twin mattress.
  • California King This large mattress is 6” longer and 4” narrower than a standard king mattress.

Care

It doesn’t matter what type of bed linens you purchase. Proper care is essential for long term use. Avoid fabric softeners. The softener leaves a chemical coating that makes fabric feel softer but it also causes the fabric to wear out quicker. When washing and drying avoid high temperatures. Use a lukewarm water and drying cycle to ensure a longer life and avoid breaking down the fabric weave.