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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Sheet Thread Count Myth!

Picture via loveyourplace.blogspot

      A few years ago while at Show Time (The huge fabric market in High Point, NC) one of the vendors began to inform me about how the "thread count"of a sheet really was just a marketing ploy. Kind of like how foods labeled "low fat" tend to be "full sugar", and not necessarily better for you.   I didn't fully understand him then; probably because it was not really relevant to me at the time.

Recently, however, I have gone though a couple of different sets of high thread count sheets that turned out to be terrible.  One got all fuzzy, and the other one just plain ripped! Well, I decided to try something drastic! I went to Walmart and bought one of the Main Stay sheet sets. 250 thread count. Yikes!  I love them!  
Here are the pluses:
        1. They only cost $8.00 a sheet.
        2. They do not wrinkle along the top. They Keep a nice 
             crisp edge, because really, who has time to iron their 
        3. I really like the way they feel. They are crisp without  
            being scratchy!

So, I did some research, and here is what I learned. Thread count is the number of threads, both vertical (weft) and horizontal (warp), in a one-inch square of fabric.
There is no industry standard for the quality of sheets, and people  began to associate thread count with quality. Once manufactures realized this, it was on.  A 200 thread count sheet could be advertised as having 400 thread count. How do they do this? By using 2-ply thread.  Quantity became the focus, not quality. More of a bad quality thread, does not make for a good quality sheet. 

So if thread count is not really the important thing, what is?  Staple length!

"Staple length refers to the length of the cotton fiber. The longer the staple, the smoother and higher quality the cotton. Low quality, short-staple cotton often relies on chemical additives to make up for the poor quality of the fabric. Many manufacturers spray down cheap cotton with silicone to prevent the fibers from pilling.
It’s better to buy a 250 thread count sheet made from long staple cotton than a 600 thread count sheet made of cheap, low grade cotton." says Allie of
Are there legitimate 600 thread count sheets made from long staple cotton out there? Sure, but I certainly could never afford them.


Lauren said...

this is so funny! We got 1000 thread count sheets as a wedding gift and loved them - but they ripped after just a couple years. So earlier this year I did the same thing - went to walmart and got mainstay sheets for cheap. I adore them! They are so soft and crisp at the same time! Now I know why - thanks for explaining the myth! :)

MamaMimi said...

Wow - thanks for sharing your newfound info!!! My husband has been looking at insanely high thread count sheets on ebay and I've been rolling my eyes b/c we have NOT had good luck with purchasing sheets. But the Fred Meyer microfiber ones my mom suggested were $24 and we LOOOOOVE them!!!

Camille said...

Now it's my turn to learn something. Thank YOU!

I will turn to Walmart next time I need to buy sheets!

Anonymous said...

That's good to know. Thanks for sharing. I always thought I was weird for liking "cheap" sheets, haha! I always found that more expensive ones got too wrinkly. I like them smooth and crisp. I don't even mind 50/50 sheets.

Darla said...

From my illustrious career at Linens N Things, in the bedding dept (haha), I learned a few cool facts. This was one of them! The quality of the cotton (Pima, Egyptian etc) should be researched so you get the feel you like for the price you can afford. (Pima is an extra long staple, as I understand it)

Andrea Smith said...

Thanks for the info!


Good info...I feel educated now!

Zane Wooder said...

Cool. I didn't know how important staple length was. I feel less of a newbie in the fabric world.

-Zane of ontario honey

alina said...

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