Once you've bought your wooden dressers and your wood beds and you have your bedroom furnished just the way you've dreamed of it's time to consider picking out the linens. Of course, not all sheets have not been created equal. Are you considering taking out a second mortgage to afford those 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets at $500 a pop? Before you buy anything, stop and do the math. At that price, you’ll be paying $1.25 per thread! Read this guide and avoid being sent to the cleaners at your next white sale. Here is a quick glossary of terms to help you better understand the complicated world of sheets.
Thread Count: Known as the “TC,” this is the number of threads per square inch. Try holding your sheet up to the light. Can you make out the actual weave of the fabric? Then you’ve got a low thread count on your hands. The higher your sheets’ TC, the softer and more lustrous your bedding will be. High TC sheets also tend to be more durable and less prone to shrinkage.
Combed Cotton: This is a cleaning method that eradicates impurities and gets rid of any short, less desirable fibers.
Muslin: This cotton fabric is considered to be at the low end of the cotton spectrum. You may want to steer clear of muslin fabrics, or you may be sleeping on one rough and tough sheet. Muslin is often used in children’s character theme bedding. The TC of these sheets ranges from 128-140.
Percale: A smooth, flat, closely woven and combed fabric, percale comes in 100% cotton or 50/50 cotton/poly blends. Percale is finer than muslin, with TCs ranging from 180-200.
Pima, or Supima: It’s long fiber staple makes this high-quality cotton somewhat similar to that of Egyptian cotton. Geography is what separates these two fabrics. Egyptian cotton grows along the Nile, whereas Pima is grown in the American Southwest. Extra-long staple Pima is used to make Supima. The luxuriously soft feel of Pima and Supima make these fabrics extremely desirable in bedding. The TC of these fabrics range from 200-300.
Egyptian Cotton: At last we come to the cotton queen of the Nile. Grown along the famous Nile, this exemplary cotton owes its durability, luster and silky feel to its extra-long fiber staple. The superior quality of this fabric is bolstered by TC ranging from 200 all the way up to 400.
Don’t Get Fleeced: What You Need to Know *When comparison shopping, don’t be fooled. That $1500 300-TC Pima cotton designer sheet is no different that the 300-TC Pima non-designer one for $150. Once you have all the facts, don’t be afraid to buy that private label.
Buying American will save you big bucks. The price of imported white goods can quadruple due to import duties and other fees. Lastly, by taking good care of your sheets, you can stretch your dollars by making them last longer. According to experts, if you rotate your sheets once a week, you can extend their life for a good ten to fifteen years.