Choosing sheets – the truth about thread count.

Choosing sheets – the truth about thread count.

When it comes to thread count, higher is not always better!

Thread count is the total number of threads per square inch in a fabric (counting both horizontal and vertical threads). In theory, the higher the thread count, the softer and higher-quality the sheets.

“There’s a maximum number of threads that can fit into a square inch of fabric,” says Scott Tannen, CEO of Boll & Branch, a luxury linen provider. “Depending on the type of cotton used, that number is generally not more than 400. So there is an awful lot of interesting maths involved in the sheets you see in a department store that can be up to a 1200 thread count.”

Scott says that “In reality, to achieve a higher thread count manufacturers are generally using a lower grade of cotton that becomes very thin when spun,”

A common technique is to twist this thread around itself to create a ‘multi-ply’ thread. When they use 2-ply thread and weave it to a theoretical 300-thread count (150 horizontal, 150 vertical) they then market it as a 600 thread count sheet.

Fortunately, brands are required to list the thread ply on the package. If you see high thread count and multi-ply thread being used, then be sceptical of the quality.

400 or 500 thread count sheets made using a good quality cotton will be softer and smoother and will outlast a set of 1000 thread count sheets made from a poorer quality cotton.

For the best quality sheets, choose a long staple Egyptian or American Pima cotton. The highest quality American Pima cotton is sold under the Supima ® trademark, often regarded as the world’s finest cotton.

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