How well do you know your sheets? What’s the thread count, and does it matter? Are they crisp or soft? Oh, and how often should you wash them?
All good questions and really it mostly depends on personal preference, but here’s some helpful information for the next time you’re in the market for sheets.
First of all, what is thread count, and does the number really matter? Well, thread count is determined by the number of threads that run vertically and horizontally on each square inch of the fabric. Some may say the number matters, but in a Consumer Reports test, some of the top-scoring sheets only claimed a thread count of 280. That’s a low number when you’re comparing it to sheets with thread counts of 1,000. So, what’s the difference? Thread count is more about how the sheets feel as opposed to their performance and durability. The higher the thread count, the more fragile the sheets will be and the more they are washed, the faster they will wear. The most popular thread count tends to be in the 400 to 600 range.
As far as crisp or soft sheets go, it’s more of personal preference and can affect your sleep quality depending on how they feel when you lay on them. The crispness or softness depends on the type of fabric. There are several different types of fabrics including, cotton, flannel, satin and silk.
Cotton sheets are the most popular fabric choice among consumers and there are many types to choose from. Combed Cotton goes through a cleaning process, getting rid of any impurities making it extremely soft and smooth to the touch. Supima Cotton also has a very soft feel and is a high-quality very durable fabric that is made in the United States. Muslin Cotton is the least soft of cotton sheets, but is the most durable of them all. They are ideal for kids’ sheets and will hold up through frequent washing. Egyptian Cotton is well-known for being the highest of quality by not only feeling luxurious and soft, but is also very durable.
Flannel cotton sheets are made with either a plain or twill weave making them soft and pliable. However, they are not a good sheet for the summer as they will be sure to keep you warm and cozy (ideal for those who are cold when they sleep). They are often made from wool and other synthetic materials, so individuals with wool allergies be aware!
Silk and satin sheets are popular for many reasons including the fact that they are hypoallergenic, making them a huge comfort for allergy sufferers.
Most silk sheets are made from mulberry silk making the fabric very durable, but just be sure to watch for snags. Lastly, silk sheets are ideal for those who tend to get hot when they sleep because they reduce sweating and make sleep much more comfortable, especially in the summertime.
Now that you have a better idea about what sheets are right for you, let’s talk about the best way to clean them and how often. It is recommended that you wash your sheets once a week to prevent any allergy and sickness causing bacteria from forming. It’s a good idea to have two sets of sheets in an effort to help prolong their life by allowing one set to rest while the other is in use. The best way to wash your sheets is to use cold water and a detergent made for cold water. For optimum results, start the water and throw in the detergent before adding your sheets. This will prevent the detergent from staining your sheets and will allow it to get completely washed out. It is also suggested that you NOT use bleach. Bleach will often wear out the fabric causing rips or tears and can even cause yellowing. Use a white distilled vinegar, which will remove any odors and will not leave a vinegar smell behind. To prevent wrinkles after wash, be sure to pull them out of the dryer promptly and fold them neatly if you’re not using them right away.