What Is Thread Count In Sheets?

A high thread count may assert that sheets are luxurious and durable— but this isn't necessarily the case. The bedding market puts a firm handle on thread count and how it reflects sheet quality. While sheets with a higher thread count are relatively more expensive, given that a high thread count alone doesn't imply the finest pair of bedding, it can be deceiving to consumers looking for a set of lovely sheets that are genuinely worth their dollars. To make things simpler—  thread count is only one of three primary indicators of the quality of a sheet, the other two being the material and weave type. Along with the thread count, the fabric weave and fibre content also impacts the softness and performance of the sheets. We will now explore the three main factors that commands the quality of bedsheets.

Kicking off with thread count—

What is Thread Count?

Thread count is the number of threads in one square inch of fabric woven horizontally and vertically; it is the measurement of the fabric destiny and how securely it's been weaved. Threads woven parallel with the ground are referred to as wefts, while perpendicularly woven threads are called warp. The term "thread count" is, however, most commonly associated with cotton, and what is considered as poor or excellent count for cotton may not be the same for other materials.

What is Thread Count in Sheets?

Is Thread Count The Most Comprehensive Approach To Estimate Fabric Quality?

We are now entering a slippery subject— a higher thread count is perceived to be superior to a lesser thread count. A high thread count, customarily, indicates that the cloth is of reasonable quality. But as mentioned earlier, along with thread count, the yarn content and the method of weaving all play a role in establishing the final quality. Get this— an intricately woven sheet woven with average quality yarn could be of higher quality than a sheet with a poor thread count. 

So, what is the ideal thread count to watch out for? As a general guideline, a thread count of 200 or above is considered as a green light to go ahead. Another indication is quality sustainability— the performance of higher-quality yarn gets better with every wash.

But again, the most ideal way to approach the quality of sheets, rather than focusing solely on the thread count, is considering other aspects like ply, weave type, and material. 

Now, What Is The Relation Between Ply And Thread Count?

Ply is considered a fairer testament to the quality of a sheet than the thread count— it indicates how the thread count was fulfilled. Single-ply refers to a thread with only one strand of yarn, while two strands of yarn interwoven make them two-ply. Experts recommend fighting shy of a count greater than two-ply. Sometimes, textile manufacturers employ low-quality fibers to maximize thread count per square inch into multi-ply sheets, which makes them vulnerable to premature breakage. This is why single-ply fabrics with fewer threads but of higher-quality material can last longer than a fabric with multi-ply and low-quality material. Speaking of higher-quality materials—

Luxury Sheets Require Skillfully Woven High-Quality Yarn

The diameter of yarn indicates the fineness/ thickness of the sheets— the lower the number the coarser the yarn, and vice versa. Some high-end sheets fashioned with conventionally farmed cotton use threads with a size of 100 or higher. The harsh, toxic materials utilized during the cotton harvest allows it to be woven into ultra-fine threads. Meanwhile, cotton farmed organically is gentler, cleaner, and softer— making them the ideal choice for people who prefer natural, healthful, and stellar bedding.

That said, it is also recommended to stay away from unbelievably low-cost sheets labeled with a 1000 thread count or more (we say ‘stay away’— because you will most likely come across such deals in the market). Numbers that are too good to be true are normally indicative of multiple strands manipulated to create a single thread. Multi-ply threads, as opposed to single-ply or two-ply threads, are made up of multiple fibers coiled into one thread, resulting in an uneven and gritty weave finish.

Yes, Weave Types Matter!

Identifying the nature and extent of weave type provides a comprehensive overview of products that gratify in terms of efficiency and functionality. Since weave types are rarely mentioned on the packaging, allow us to shine a light on the few keywords you may want to be aware about—

  • Percale: Accommodates lesser threads per square inch, which makes their thread count lower. It is a crisp, strong woven fabric with a thread count of 400 to 500 regarded as good quality.
  • Sateen: A satiny weave, giving a silky, glossy feel but less resilient than a tighter woven variant. Sateen is better off with a greater thread count to minimize the chance of tangling the longer floats. Sateen is softer but bulkier than percale due to its more densely packed yarns.
  • Combed: A soft but strong fabric that has been spun to subtract the small fibers and retain the long ones.
Giving A ‘SHEET’ About Your Sheets

What you sleep on matters as much as what you eat and wear— clean & soft bedsheets help give life to a nourishing sleeping environment. So, instead of capitalizing on the thread count, pay attention to the overall quality of the cotton— thread count undoubtedly matters, but it isn't the only point of focus.

If you’re eco-conscious, opt for certified organic cotton bedding. The bedding market is ever ripe for misrepresentation, and numbers alone can be insufficient to safeguard us from harmful chemicals. Look for bedsheets with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Fair Trade labels 

So there you have it! We’ve tied the loose threads to help you make informed bed sheet choices. You devote one-third of your life sleeping— rest easy knowing you're sleeping on sheets that make the world a better place by choosing GOTS certified organic cotton sheets. 

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