Shopping For Sheets Dont Let Thread Count Mislead You

Shopping For Sheets Dont Let Thread Count Mislead You

Sheet shopping has become something of​ a​ numbers game. and​ it's not the​ numbers in​ the​ price that are attracting attention, it's the​ thread count.

The higher that number, the​ softer the​ sheet, right? Not necessarily. Characteristics such as​ fabric and​ weave can add significantly to​ a​ sheet's quality and​ tactile appeal. in​ fact, in​ certain combinations, the​ fabric and​ weave can make a​ lower thread count feel softer than a​ higher thread count made of​ a​ different fiber in​ a​ different weave.

What's most important to​ consider is​ that thread counts are sometimes overstated on a​ sheet's packaging. and​ that's something that has even caught the​ attention of​ the​ Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of​ Consumer Products.

What exactly is​ thread count? It's the​ number of​ horizontal and​ vertical threads in​ 1 square inch of​ fabric. a​ 400-thread-count sheet will have 400 threads in​ that square inch. the​ plies, on the​ other hand, are what make up the​ yarn, and​ there are multiple plies in​ the​ yarn. When that number is​ used on packaging to​ describe a​ sheet, it​ can be misleading to​ consumers who have been trained to​ equate a​ high number with high quality. for​ instance, a​ sheet labeled 400 two-ply, or​ "twisted," yarns is​ actually a​ 200-thread- count sheet.

The FTC has now taken steps to​ prevent this practice of​ thread- count exaggeration. it​ stated that "multiplying by ply is​ inappropriate" for​ a​ sheet maker, and​ in​ doing so the​ manufacturer is​ "stating an​ inflated thread count." the​ FTC advised sheet makers to​ clearly label their products with the​ thread count, regardless of​ single or​ plied components, and​ then provide additional information on the​ yarn's ply.

Consumers are warned to​ read the​ package carefully and​ let the​ price be a​ warning sign. if​ it​ looks like you're getting the​ deal of​ a​ lifetime, it​ may be too good to​ be true.

"People have been trained to​ look to​ the​ number on a​ package of​ sheets as​ an​ immediate indicator of​ quality, but with today's manufacturing capabilities it's not that simple," said Leslie Gillock, vice president of​ brand management for​ Wamsutta sheets, which supports the​ FTC's recommendation.

"With the​ variety of​ fibers and​ different weaving techniques available to​ manufacturers, sheets come in​ a​ broad range of​ choices in​ softness, durability, crispness and​ care, so consumers should look carefully at​ the​ characteristics of​ a​ sheet," Gillock said. "Above all, don't be misled by high count two-ply sheets. Feel the​ sheet itself, and​ buy the​ one that's best for​ you."

Fabric is​ equally important in​ determining the​ sheet's feel. a​ long-staple, premium cotton -; such as​ Egyptian or​ Pima cotton -; will create a​ softer sheet than a​ short-staple cotton or​ even a​ combed cotton, where shorter fibers have been "combed" away. Sheets made with a​ cotton-polyester blended fabric or​ with linen will be crisp to​ the​ touch, though the​ latter is​ likely to​ require dry cleaning and​ be more expensive in​ laundering. the​ benefits of​ man-made fibers such as​ polyester are that they wrinkle less and​ look sharp on the​ bed.

Lastly, pay attention to​ the​ weave. a​ percale's smooth weave makes for​ a​ smooth sheet. a​ sheet made in​ a​ pinpoint weave boasts crispness. and​ a​ sateen weave adds softness and​ a​ lustrous look.

The best test, though, is​ touch. Your hands will tell you in​ an​ instant if​ the​ numbers add up to​ a​ sheet that's right for​ you. - NU

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