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Shopping for Egyptian Cotton Sheets

September 26th, 2010 Posted in Egyptian Cotton Home Goods, Egyptian Cotton Sheets | 2 Comments »

1000 thread count egyptian cotton

Shopping for Egyptian Cotton Sheets

When shopping for sheets, is thread count the most important consideration? It may surprise you to hear the answer is no. While this was once the primary indicator of quality in linens, this is no longer the case. Over the past several years, thread counts have been on the rise, but some sheets with counts of 600, 800, or even 1000 are of the same or lower quality than a set of 300 or 400.

 Thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric. This includes the warp (vertical threads) and the weft (horizontal threads.) The theory is that the more threads are woven into that square inch, the softer the sheets will feel. This is true… sort of.

 The fineness of the threads used directly affects the softness of the fabric; the finer the threads, the more can be woven into a square inch and the softer the sheet. Unfortunately, many of the high count sheets, while lightweight and silky smooth, are sometimes less durable because the threads are so much thinner. Manufacturers combat this by twisting two strands together to create a 2-ply yarn then weave those. When manufacturers use these same fine threads to make the two-ply yarns, the resulting sheets are still lightweight but are stronger and of the same high quality.

 If the threads used to make the two or three ply yarns are of a low a gauge, the yarns are too bulky to create a smooth feel and the resulting fabric is heavier, sometimes almost blanket-like. This is a tactic sometimes used by manufacturers of linens to artificially inflate the thread count of their products. Rather than counting the yarns (2- or 3-ply), they post the number of threads, thus stating a thread count that is double or triple the actual number of yarns per square inch. This often leads consumers to believe they are getting a product very different from item they are actually purchasing.

 Thread count is still an important consideration, but be a savvy consumer and find out if the thread count is based on double or single ply. It will also be helpful to keep in mind a few more considerations. Check to see if the cotton is mercerized; this will increase the strength and luster as well as helping with color retention. Look for Pima or Egyptian cottons. These are long staple cottons that spin into very fine threads, creating an overall smoother product.

 Of course the most important consideration for any product is how well you like it. If you love the feel of the sheets and they are a great color for your room, go ahead and buy them.