Bedding is one place you shouldn’t skimp; soft sheets are no joke.
Getting a good night’s sleep depends on the quality of your soft sheets, and the quality of your sheets depends on the fabric from which they’re made. Cheaper fabrics aren’t as comfortable, and they don’t last as long as more durable fabrics, so you end up spending more money in the long run.
If you’re looking for sheets that are soft and comfortable, there’s a lot to consider. Do you go for something that feels silky-smooth or opt for cotton? Maybe you want a high thread count or low? What about the ply of your sheets-does it really matter? And what is thread count, anyway?
Because sheets are an investment, it’s important to shop carefully. Use this guide to help you compare the qualities of various fabrics so you can choose the right sheets for your bed.
Soft Sheets: What You Need to Know About Thread Count and Ply
The most important thing you need to know about your soft sheets? They’re not all equal.
According to the sleep foundation, “thread count is a measure of the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Essentially, it’s a measure of how tightly woven a fabric is. It is calculated by adding together the numbers of lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads within a certain area. For example, a cotton sheet set with 100 warp threads and 100 weft threads in each square inch of fabric would have a listed thread count of 200.”
Good sheets range anywhere from 200 to 500, although you’ll occasionally see numbers over 1,000. But, you want to take that number with a grain of salt since manufacturers can be less than truthful about those numbers.
As a rule of thumb, most people assume that the higher the thread count, the higher the quality of their soft sheets. However, just because a sheet has a high thread count doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best.
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The Difference Between a High Thread Count and a Low Thread Count
You may have noticed that some brands advertise thread counts of 1,200 or even 2,000. It sounds impressive, but it isn’t always an indicator of quality. In fact, in some cases, a higher thread count isn’t necessarily better for sheets.
While a higher thread count can signify a good-quality fabric, these sheets might not always be softer. It all depends on how tightly the threads were woven together.
A manufacturer might have weaved a low-quality sheet set with a high thread count so tightly that it feels coarse, whereas a high-quality sheet set with a lower thread count can feel luxurious.
When manufacturers want to boast about their thread counts, they have to get creative with how they weave threads together, and this can result in less breathable sheets than their lower-thread-count counterparts. Unfortunately, these sheets may also be made from lower-quality threads altogether, which can mean pilling and premature wear. If you’ve ever had difficulty sleeping on a high-thread-count set of sheets, you may have been experiencing this effect.
In the end, a high thread count is a good thing, but only if the material used to create the sheets is high quality as well.
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Some manufacturers will list the ply when describing their sheets. In this case, ply refers to the number of individual threads used in creating the thread count for each square inch. So, for example, if you see a set of 500-thread-count single-ply sheets, then there are 500 threads in every thread used throughout that set. If you see 400/800 thread count sheets (or other numbers like 300/600), it means that they twisted two strands together to make one strand for weaving. So, there are 200 or 300 threads in each thread used in that set of sheets.
Avoid sheets with really high thread counts that still feel stiff, as those are probably 2-ply or 3-ply sheets, which use multiple strands woven together to create one thread. These won’t last as long as single-ply sheets.
The most important thing to think about when it comes to ply is that single-ply sheets tend to be more durable than multi-ply sheets; they’re also softer and more breathable than multi-ply sheets. Manufacturers create multi-ply sheets because it allows them to inflate their thread counts falsely. Keep reading to learn more!
Fabrics for Soft Sheets
You know how some days you want to go to bed early, and when you finally crawl into bed and pull up your covers, the sheet set feels like sandpaper on your skin? Yeah, that’s no fun.
When it comes to buying new soft sheets, the fabric is worth considering (and softness is the most important). Ultimately, the best sheets for you will depend on what you like sleeping in each night.
Cotton is one of the most popular materials used in bedsheets because it’s comfortable and durable. There are many different types of cotton, including Egyptian cotton, American cotton, organic cotton, upland cotton, and Pima cotton (sometimes known as Supima® cotton). As you can see, there are a variety of cotton sheets, and because of this, there may be one that fits your very needs.
To achieve that crisp hotel feel, use a 100% cotton sheet set with a percale weave. They’re more lightweight and breathable, which is a good choice if you tend to sleep warm.
Egyptian cottonis generally considered the highest quality, thanks to its extra-long fibers. In contrast, Pima cotton is softer than regular cotton with a similar feel to silk. Pima is a smooth long-staple cotton that’s very strong and absorbent. Unfortunately, its quality makes it somewhat more expensive than other types of cotton.
Soft Sheets and Synthetic Fabrics
While most soft sheets sold in the U.S. are made of cotton, you’re increasingly likely to see other fabrics as well, especially if you shop online.
Satin sheets are smooth and silky to the touch; however, they can feel heavy and hot when sleeping. If you like the idea of sleeping on sateen but think it may be too hot, try looking for sheets made from bamboo. They have a similar look and feel without being as dense as cotton or polyester.
Linen is another great option if you like feeling snuggled while you sleep. Linen is durable and known for becoming softer with every wash. Eventually, you may end up with the softest sheet! However, linen sheets can be expensive, so it’s not always the best material if you’re on a budget or only plan on using your sheets during certain seasons.
Microfiber is a polyester fabric made from extremely thin fibers, making it lightweight and soft. Microfiber sheets can be very affordable compared to sheets made with other fibers, but they often feel slim and slick.
If you’re accustomed to sleeping in t-shirt material, though, you might like microfiber sheets. They are machine washable and resistant to wrinkling and tearing because they’re less likely to pill than traditional polyester fabric. Plus, they are a soft sheet. But, they are also generally less breathable than their cotton counterparts. So if you sleep hot, microfiber sheets may not be the best for you.
Sheet Weave Types
Sheets are made from a variety of cotton and synthetic blends. But, cotton isn’t the only option when you’re shopping for bedding. There is a range of fabrics that you can use to wrap yourself in comfort as you drift into dreamland.
The type of weave affects the look and feel of your soft sheets. It may also affect how well they perform in durability, wrinkle resistance, and softness.
There are many different variations of sheet weave available for purchase. The most common types include flannel, satin, sateen, percale, and jersey-knit sheets.
Flannel and percale are two of the most popular types of bedsheets.
Flannel sheets are soft, loose, and fuzzy; it’s made from either wool or cotton and is typically brushed to create their signature “fuzziness.” This fabric is excellent for retaining warmth and making you feel cozy, but it may pill after multiple washes.
Percale is a plain-weave fabric made from combed and carded yarns, which results in lightweight soft sheets with smooth finishes and a crisp feel.
While a sateen sheet can be made from different fibers, it is most commonly produced using cotton yarns with a satin weave. Sateen has a lustrous look due to its satin-like weave, which weaves more threads over the top than under in contrast to percale’s plain-weave construction.
Because it has fewer yarns in the warp than weft direction, sateen feels smoother against your skin but maybe less durable than percale or flannel.
Jersey is another knit fabric often used in bed linens; it’s similar to t-shirt material because it doesn’t have any weave pattern. Cotton jersey or interlock knit is an inexpensive option for soft sheets.
Because jersey is knit rather than woven, it’s very stretchy and breathable. It’s also less prone to wrinkling than woven cotton. However, it can shrink and lose shape, especially if you put it in the dryer on high heat or don’t use enough detergent in the wash cycle. If you buy cotton jersey bedsheets, expect them to pill; this is common for this fabric and does not affect quality.
Finishes and Dyes
Ahhh. The perfect soft sheets. They’re one of life’s little luxuries. But have you ever wondered what goes into making them so soft or why they fade in the wash?
The answers to those questions are “finish” and “dye,” respectively.
When you’re choosing soft sheets, you’ll find that they are finished in one of two ways: chemically treated and dyed, or pure-finish and yarn-dyed.
Most cotton soft sheets are treated with chlorine or formaldehyde to keep them from shrinking or wrinkling. But some manufacturers offer pure-finish sheets that have either been treated in a chemical-free process or have had all traces of chemicals removed. These soft sheets will be softer but may wrinkle more easily.
If you choose the former, your soft sheets will have been treated with chemical finishes to help them maintain their shape, prevent them from wrinkling too much, and give them a sheen.
However, if you suffer from allergies or chemical sensitivities, you may want to consider pure-finish soft sheets. A pure finish means that the sheets are not treated with chemicals like silicon.
And while pure-finish sheets might not feel as soft at first and may wrinkle more quickly than other sheets, it’s worth it for those sensitive to chemicals.
Dyeing can also be done in two ways: after the sheet has been woven or before. If the sheet is dyed after weaving, it will feel stiffer until washed a few times. On the other hand, if the sheet was yarn-dyed, if the manufacturer applied the dye during its weaving, it would feel softer immediately and won’t fade as quickly as other soft sheets do.
Dyes can also be hard on the skin, so it’s best to choose yarn-dyed fabrics, woven from colored yarns, over colored or patterned soft sheets that have had their dye applied after they were woven.
Top Four Things To Consider When You’re Buying Sheets
Sleep is a vital part of your life. Without sleep, our body and mind cannot function optimally, which may cause sickness or complications. Therefore, it’s essential to get enough quality sleep each night.
There are so many choices when shopping for soft sheets you might get a bit overwhelmed. But, finding the best soft sheets shouldn’t be difficult or time-consuming.
Comfortable bedding is key to getting a good night’s sleep.
Have you ever wondered what to consider when buying soft sheets? Then, keep reading for four essential items to think about before you invest any money in your next set of soft sheets.
What Are The Fabric, Finish, and Dye Of The Sheets?
When you’re shopping for soft sheets, you should consider various factors. Thread count is important, but material and fiber content might be even more critical because they affect the sheets’ softness, durability, performance, and price.
You can have the softest cotton sheets on the planet, but if they’re filled with low-quality fiber or a material that doesn’t suit your needs, these soft feels will be short-lived.
Before you buy your next set of soft sheets, it’s essential to know what you want and need in terms of your sheets’ fabric, finish, and dye.
Do you have sensitive skin? Are you investing in a set of sheets specifically for the winter or summer? What matters most to you, soft sheets or breathability throughout the night?
It would help if you considered all of these questions before investing in the right set of soft sheets for your bed. Understanding your opinion on these items will help narrow down the search and guarantee that you receive something you want and need. Review the sections above for a detailed overview of fabrics, dye, and finishes!
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The Thread Count
You have finally decided to invest in some tremendous soft sheets. Like many people, you will start by researching thread count; while this is still important, other factors can play a significant role.
The thread count of your bedsheets is often the first information to pop up on a search. Remember that when you’re looking at thread count, it’s essential to research the soft sheets ply as well. Single-ply sheets with higher thread counts will be nicer than triple-ply with a high thread count.
Which Soft Sheets Are In Your Budget?
When shopping for soft sheets, you should consider the thread count of the cotton they’re made from, the material if it’s not cotton, as well as the weave.
For example, percale sheets are made of long-staple cotton fibers and have a tighter weave that smoothes out wrinkles. This tighter weave makes them ideal if you like your sheets super smooth. On the other hand, sateen sheets are made with shorter staple longer cotton fibers, resulting in a softer sheet that wrinkles more easily. For a complete overview of fabrics, check the section above.
If you know what fabric, weave, finish, and ply you need, you can easily price out soft sheets in your budget. Even if Egyptian cotton is too expensive, there are a variety of soft sheets on the market that can still meet your needs.
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How Do You Care for the Soft Sheets? Are They Easy to Clean?
Ever wonder how to care for your new set of soft sheets? This isn’t a silly question. Sheets can be an essential part of the comfort in your bed. However, if you want to get the most benefits from your new purchase, you will want to learn how caring for your set should be approached.
When purchasing the proper soft sheets for your bed, it’s essential to understand how to care for the sheets before purchasing.
Guaranteeing that you can easily wash and dry your sheets may mean specific options should not be on your list. Usually, whenever you’re reviewing a sheet, you can find the handling instructions listed with the product information.