Bed Sheets Buying and Care Guide
There are hundreds of bed sheets online and in stores. The selection can be overwhelming. Thread counts, fabrics, weaves, fit–who knew choosing sheets could be so complicated?
Here’s some answers to your most burning questions about sheets. Hopefully they make the next bed linen shopping trip a little easier.
What is thread count?
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. But should thread count be a main criteria for sheet selection? No.
Bottom Line: Aim for a mid-range thread count 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 sheets?
Cotton comes to mind first–with good reason. It is generally agreed the best and softest sheets use high-quality, long-staple cotton, such as 100-percent Egyptian or Pima. But there are many cotton blends available. A 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 detergent in water before putting sheets in the washing machine.
- Do not bleach; it can deteriorate soft cottons.
- Dry bed sheets on permanent press. Remove while still damp to prevent wrinkling.
- 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.