Sheets are expensive. Between materials, patterns and thread counts, there are a lot of factors that go into finding the perfect set. But, what’s the real story behind the ever-important thread count? Does it really make a difference or is it just marketing jargon?
When it comes to thread count, many of us believe the myth that, the higher the thread count, the softer and higher-quality their sheets are. According to My Domaine, the thread count number encompasses the number of threads woven together within every square inch of the fabric in question. In fact, it’s impossible to fit one thousand threads into a single inch of fabric — 400 is the highest amount. The outlet explains that many brands sell their 400-plus-count sheets by using multi-ply threads and taking liberties with the count.
Indeed, the higher the thread count, the lower quality materials the brand may have used in order to jam the multi-ply thread into a small space. Making it a coarse, dense fabric, high thread count sheets are likely not everything they’re hyped up to be. Good Housekeeping notes that many high-quality sheets stay under the 500 thread count mark, so be wary when you see numbers in the quadruple digits.
The main item to pay attention to is the type of fabric
To purchase a new set of sheets, be wary of assigning quality to thread count. Instead, note the type of fabric and the texture of the items in question. Good Housekeeping reports that cheaper fabrics such as polyester make higher thread counts since their threads are thinner, while cotton threads maintain the same width no matter what. For a soft, luxurious feel, natural fabrics like cotton, linen and silk offer the highest quality experience.
Just make sure that whatever sheets you’re purchasing are made of single-ply thread. While natural fibers will always have this guarantee, some types of synthetic fabric can have single-ply thread as well. The outlet notes that linen and silk don’t have similar designations for thread count due to their physical makeup, so neither of these will have thread counts listed.
As a rule of thumb, the fiber content makes up the quality of sheets, such as 100 percent organic cotton. But, as for the thread count of these sheets, stick between 300 to 400, My Domain suggests. Of course, their manufacturing methods may vary by material so check if you can touch the fabric for yourself to see if it feels how you would like.
There are many things that go into producing sheets, but thread count may be an overrated way to choose which is best for you. Stick to checking out the quality of the fabric before you check the thread count!
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