Bedsheet is the most essential bedding item we use. A high-quality bed sheet doesn’t only bring you comfortable touch but also has an impact on your health. A sticky and unbreathable bed sheet will bring nightmares for the hot sleepers and cause consequential health issues due to the lack of quality sleep in long run. Knowing more about the bedsheet will definitely help you to make the right purchase decision.
A myth on the bedsheet circulated extensively is “the more thread counts, the better quality it has.” This is not always correct because you need take the consideration of the yarn quality.
Thread Count Is Not Everything
Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. Generally, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet, and it will become softer overtime. Good sheets range anywhere from 200 to 800 thread counts, but not exceed 1000. A low thread count is not necessary to be a low-quality sheet. With more techniques engaged in the fabric treatment by chemicals, some lower thread count sheets give a good performance. If you opt for a lower thread count sheet, look for high standard industrial certification on their treatment processes for chemical safety, such as OEKO-TEX®.
A higher number of threads per inch usually means each yarn is finer, it creates a smooth yet strong weave.
However, exceptionally high thread counts don’t necessarily mean the sheet is better — Inflating the thread count by twisting multiple yarns together creates false thread counts, which don’t actually improve the feel of the fabric and may even denigrate its quality.
Know the Fabrics of Your Bed Sheet
There are many different fabrics made from various fibers, either natural or man-made. Different fibers are spun into yarns and weaved into different patterns. As a result, countless fabrics are presented in front of us. It is very important to understand the fabric materials shown in the label attached to the bedding sheets. It will help you sift through a great number of sheets and get the preferential one out of loads of choice.
It is the most common material used in bedsheets, -100% cotton or combined with other materials. The most outstanding features of cotton are durable and breathable, attributed to its long staple. Staple refers to the length of each cotton fiber. A longer staple has a significant stake to render a smoother, stronger, and more flexible fabric. Long-staple fibers measure about 1⅛ to 1¼ inch, while extra-long staple fibers are 1⅜ inch. There are several different types of cotton and the most notables are:
- Egyptian Cotton is well-known for its extra-long staple, out of which the softest and smoothest fabric is produced. Egypt is one of a handful of countries that grow a particularly lustrous type of cotton called extra-long-staple cotton, known in the U.S. as Pima cotton. Extra-long-staple varieties make up three percent of the world’s cotton production. Simply appending the origin “Egyptian” doesn’t guarantee the cotton quality as some manufacturers attach this label on their products made from short-staple fibers. The best way to assure your product quality is to go for production verification.
- Pima cotton enjoys the same reputation as “Egyptian Cotton”. Its extra-long fibers offer exceptional quality, and it is ideal for the bedsheet. This cotton is primarily grown in the United States. Pima cotton has its own tracking system to ensure product authenticity.
- Upland cotton comprises 90% of the world’s cotton production. It is characterized by its relatively short cotton fibers. It is the most commonly grown cotton worldwide due to the large demands for everyday products with affordable prices. The typical fabric made from upland cotton is denim jeans and flannel clothing, which are soft and strong, but low maintenance.
Combed cotton is cotton but with an additional manufacturing process. Fine brushes remove any impurities and short fibers to make combed cotton. Combed cotton has a higher quality and is more expensive and luxurious than regular cotton. Thanks to its processing method — only long and straight fibers remain, combed cotton is less fraying and unraveling, and in the meantime, softer. A combed cotton bed sheet is expensive and luxurious and better to wash it before using it to make it softer and more comfortable.
Linen fabric is from the flax plant. It has a rougher and nubby texture. It is two or three times stronger than cotton and has wick-moisture and heat property. Because it is a good conductor of warmth, it is very popular to make for the bedsheet in summer. Linen fabric is naturally anti-bacterial and easily wrinkled. Its strong fiber results in good durability and it best suits a bottom sheet. Because the material’s fibers are much thicker than cotton, the numbers of thread per square inch are less than cotton. That is why you should look for a thread count between 80-120. A high-quality linen bedsheet could be very expensive.
Silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms, which are separated into continuous strands and woven into fabric. Silk bed sheets are absolutely lustrous. Unlike any other synthetic materials, such as “satin”, it owns the superior sheen but not slippery, and doesn’t catch on dry skin or cause frizzy hair. Even though silk has a smooth sheen, but it is not very breathable and a little bit hot with clingy properties. A silk bedsheet could be very expensive, but not durable compared with other kinds of bedsheets.
The well-known brand “Tencel ®” is for fabric made out of eucalyptus tree wood pulp. It’s durable and naturally antimicrobial. The fabric gives a cool feeling to touch and wick away moisture, but less breathable than cotton. The amazing part of the eucalyptus bedsheet is that it is considered an eco-friendly product as its production consumes a fraction of water and the energy of the cotton requires.
Bamboo & Modal
Bamboo essentially consists of rayon. It is a regenerated cellulosic fiber produced from bamboo. It is softer than cotton, with a texture similar to a blend of cashmere and silk. Its moisture absorbency is twice that of cotton. As bamboo fiber has natural anti-bacterial and deodorizing characteristics, it is vastly utilized in hygiene home textiles, such as mattresses, sanitary towels, table napkins, and bedding. The most controversial issue is that the processing in Bamboo fiber production has detrimental damages to the environment due to the chemicals used like caustic soda and carbon disulfide. Being aware of this negative impact, processors worldwide is revamping and re-regulating their practices, and there has been a great deal of improvement in chemical management and waste treatment.
Polyester is a synthetic fiber. The polyester fabric is soft, light-weighted, and wrinkle-resistant, but unbreathable and it snags easily. Polyester is extensively used in home furnishings. As polyester is prone to static build-up, it always blended with other stable fibers, such as cotton. Polycotton inherits the benefits of both fabrics and far more breathable than 100% polyester. What you always see the microfiber, nylon, and acrylic, are all made from polyester.
The Most Popular Weaves in Bedsheet
Basically, there are three types of weaves in woven products—Plain, Twill, and Satin. Weaves create texture and make the fabric look more drape and versatile. In bedsheets, the most popular weaves you always see in the market are :
Jersey refers to sheets made from cotton fabric that is knit rather than woven. It is made from one continuous piece of yarn looped over itself. This process resolves the sheet with a natural elasticity without using stretch fibers like elastane. Cotton jersey is essentially the same fabric used in cotton T-shirts, thus it is soft and wrinkles resistant, and ideal for children’s bedding. Jersey is not as durable as other weaves and may also likely
Flannel is a fabric that is commonly made from cotton. It features a napped, or fuzzy finish on one or both sides, coming from brushing or from its typical loosely spun weave. Its snuggly-warm quality makes it best for the winter bedsheet. It always appears in the plaid tartan design. Worth mentioning, flannel’s quality is measured in ounces per square yard, rather than by thread count.
Percale is the strongest weave often used for bed covers. Percale yields a cooler sheet and is ideal for hot sleepers. For the bedsheet, it should go for a thread count above 200. Egyptian cotton sheets with percale weaving style is the most durable bedding material.
A Sateen weave is woven on a Jacquard loom, which could create intricate patterns on the fabric. Sateen sheets are 100% cotton sheets with a high thread count. Typically sateen weaving has a smoother touch and drape. Because the long cotton fibers are mercerized during treatment, sateen fabric is more durable than untreated cotton. Sateen bed sheet could achieve high thread counts as high as 1020.
Twill fabrics are woven with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. Twill weave is very popular for sheets, bedding, and towels because it is durable, winkle-resistant, and drapes well. Some people may feel the ribbed pattern may a little bit tough.
Are You an Eco-Friendly Shopper?
Today, both manufacturers and consumers are looking for more environmentally sustainable products. While valuing the users’ experiences, many people turn their look on the production process. In the bedding industry, eco-friendly products are becoming sought-after. The scrutinization of conventional nature materials is extended into chemical agents and waste treatment applied during manufacturing. The live sample is bamboo fabrics, a natural fiber extracted from the bamboo stem and leaves. The fabric enjoys a good reputation —breathable, washable, moisture-wicking. However, The chemicals used in this process, like caustic soda and carbon disulfide, are highly toxic and risk human health. About 50% of hazardous waste from rayon production (including the bamboo variety) cannot be recaptured and reused. The fabric brings a comfortable feel and could wreak havoc on the environment too. The good news is manufacturers are revamping their practices to reduce the damages to environments under the pressure of increasing awareness from the consumers.
There is no 100% perfect sheet that could address your concern completely. Knowing the fabric’s strengths and weaknesses will definitely help you sort out the long list. Comfortable bedding is essential to have a quality life. It would be best to have various bed sheets subject to the season, your physical condition, and home decór style.