Bed Sheets Buying and Care Guide
Bed. It’s where your day begins and ends. How you make it is key to a good night’s rest and waking up refreshed.
There are thousands of bed sheets options. With so many choices, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And then there’s the bed sheets lingo: thread count, microfiber vs. cotton, weaves, fit and more. Who knew choosing sheets could be so complicated?
So here are a few tips if you’re wondering how to shop for sheets. Hopefully they make the next bed linen shopping trip easier, faster and fun!
Choosing Thread Count for Sheets
Thread count refers to the tightness of the weave and the number of threads per square inch. The higher the thread count, the tighter the weave, the softer the sheet and the more durable the sheet over time.
Should high thread counts be a main criteria for sheet selection? Believe it or not, no. Higher thread counts are a marketing ploy to get you to spend more money. Anything above 450 is superfluous. Why pay more when you can have comfort for less?
Bottom Line: When choosing sheets thread count, aim for a mid-range around 300 to 450, then select the sheet that feels best to you. Be wary of astronomical thread counts in the 1,000 range. There are tricks sheet makers use to inflate thread count that doesn’t necessarily translate to better quality sheets.
What fabric is best for regular sheets?
Cotton. It’s the go-to soft material most shoppers seek. And for good reason. The best and softest sheets use high-quality, long-staple cotton, such as 100-percent Egyptian or Pima. But don’t ignore the cotton blends. Cotton percale delivers a cool, crisp linen feel while cotton sateen has a satin weave smoother to the touch with a luxurious sheen finish. Flannel cotton is soft and cozy and a favorite for cold weather climates. If you love T-shirt fabric, consider jersey knit sheets–loads of stretchy softness and a bit clingy. It all comes back to personal taste. And it’s perfectly acceptable to have multiple sheet sets on hand to complement the change of season.
Bottom Line: Cotton. Choose a blend that’s right for you, but stick to cotton. It’s still the best.
What are microfiber bed sheets?
Microfiber sheets are made of fibers so fine they do not occur naturally. It is a synthetic material that feels soft, smooth and even slippery. Note that microfiber will not have a cotton crispness. So why try microfiber sheets? Oftentimes they are an affordable option for buying bed linens to match a new room or season. And many people prefer the smoother texture. It’s a good cotton alternative if cotton is not an option. But if you’re looking to make a sound investment, a cotton sheet is still the best choice.
Bottom Line: Microfiber sheets can vary a lot. Compare several brands and styles side by side before you buy.
Which sheets are easier care?
Laundering sheets is basically the same regardless of material or thread count. However, some sheets hold up better over time and multiple washings. Microfiber sheets do not have the longevity compared to thicker fabrics and weaves with long fibers. Cotton sheets hold up better over time.
Bottom Line: Cotton-polyester blends are the easiest care with wrinkle-free finish. But they can also be less soft and comfortable.
Do some sheets fit better than others?
As in clothes, perfectly sized bed sheets look and feel better. The fitted sheet is key. Look for all-around elastic for a snug fit. If you have a non-standard mattress (e.g. extra-long twin, California king or thick pillow top) look for sheets with added depth or length. Sometimes, it’s not a bad idea to size up. Especially if you have an extra deep mattress. You might need a bigger sheet to be able to make the bed properly.
Bottom Line: Fitted sheets are key to the perfect fit. Remember to measure extra depth if you add a mattress topper to a standard mattress.
What about duvet covers?
Would you believe how we make a bed is trendy? More and more people are ditching top sheets and simply using a duvet comforter. Buying the perfect duvet cover is important. First, look for cotton/polyester blends that won’t wrinkle. Next, choose a cover with a closure you prefer. Zippers are more secure than button closures. Envelope closures can work well if you prefer no zippers. Make sure you buy a duvet cover that is a snug fit. If it’s too loose, your insert will move around and jumble up.
Bottom Line: Look for a snug fit, wrinkle-resistant fabric and a secure closure.
How to Care for Bed Sheets
Here’s our top 5 tips for keeping bed sheets beautiful year after year!
- Wash sheets and pillowcases once a week in cold or warm water with a mild detergent or specialized linen powder.
- Dissolve the detergent in water before putting sheets in the washing machine.
- Do not bleach; it can deteriorate soft cottons. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a less harsh bleach alternative. It will brighten your whites. But use sparingly to extend the life of your sheets.
- Dry bed sheets on permanent press. Remove while still damp to prevent wrinkling. If you’re lucky enough to have a clothes line, let your sheets air dry outside. You can’t beat Mother Nature.
- Spring clean your linen closet just like your clothes closet. Throw out bedding that’s worn or grayed.
Looking for more tips? Check out these bedroom decorating ideas.