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Sheet Thread Count, Hype vs Reality

Posted by Sharon on March 15, 2017
Posted Under: Quick Tips about Bamboo, BedVoyage Featured
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What's All the Hype About Sheet Thread Count?

Prior to the 1990's, thread count in bedding was not a hot topic of conversation, but in general; if you were purchasing new sheets and saw a thread count from 160-200 you felt you were getting good quality sheets.  Since that time, stating higher thread counts has become a bit of a marketing gimmick, with manufacturers trying to distinguish themselves from other brands by touting sheet thread counts of 600 to 1,000.

What’s Warp and Weft?

Thread count refers to how many threads are woven into one square inch, by counting the vertical threads (called 'warp') and the horizontal threads (called 'weft') to come up with a total number, see the image.


It's almost impossible to weave more than 400 threads into one square inch, depending on the mill, so some creative counting is being used when the label says that the thread count is over 400.    Here's they hype:  in order to 'state' that a thread count is 800, the weaver uses thinner strands of fabric, called yarns, and twists them together so that they look like one strand, but are counted as two.

The Pitfalls of Twisted Threads or 2-Ply Thread Counts

In the above example, what the manufacturer has done is twisted another strand around the thread and 'doubled' the sheet thread count, so that the consumer thinks they are buying a really high thread count product.  This can also be called '2 ply' and often does not equate to a softer hand feel, because the incremental comfort value of thread counts over 300 is barely noticeable.  BedVoyage uses 300 thread count for all of our sheets, duvets, coverlets and shams because we feel that this is the sweet spot between hand feel and breathability.  If you double or triple the threads in order to state a higher count, you are also creating a weave that is so tight that it won't breathe well, which will keep the sleeper hotter and less comfortable. 

Additionally, BedVoyage linens have a twill weave, which is a diagonal weave that locks in the fibers and greatly limits the possibility of pilling, which is when the fibers have loosened and knotted. Pilling creates little balls on the surface of the fabric, which is unsightly and scratchy to the skin, which nobody wants on their bedding!    

Does A Higher Linen Thread Count Feel Better?

Interestingly, a higher sheet thread count does not necessarily represent quality and can sometimes be an indicator that the linens are of inferior quality, because the manufacturer may be using cheaper, weak threads that need to be twisted together to create some strength. To fit that many threads into a square inch, the threads must be very thin, and this can decrease the quality and longevity of the linens.   Spending money on really high thread count sheets is not necessary, instead, you could focus on the quality of the fibers or fabric used, as most experts agree that the 'quality' of a sheet is based on hand feel, breathability, construction, and durability.  

If you've heard the old saying 'if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't' and this can relate to sheet buying; if the sheet thread count is very high and the price is very low, you are likely not getting a quality product. To protect consumers from misleading claims, The Federal Trade Commission has been reaching out to manufacturers that might be employing deceptive marketing practices when it comes to thread count. 

Why are Soft Sheets Important to My Sleep?

Sleep is such an important part of life, study after study has found links between good sleep and good health, and the loss of sleep can have cumulative effects on weight, mood, and overall well-being.  The older we get the more we understand that a great night's sleep makes for a great day, so it's important to spend the money on good quality sheets, pillows, and comforters for your bed.  When you spend over 1/3rd of your life in bed, why not sleep on quality linens that make you feel luxurious and tempt you to 'Go To Bed' and get more sleep!? 

When you slip into bed with BedVoyage 300 thread count linens made from 100% rayon from bamboo, you can rest assured that you will be comfortable, cozy and be slumbering on some of the softest linens on the planet!

To learn more about our twill weave super soft sheets you can visit bamboo bed sheets and Go Green In Your Bed!


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