Bed sheets are the understated component of your bed setting, and yet they play an important role in how you’ll feel when you lay down to sleep at the end of a long day.
While they may seem to you just a simple square of fabric, a bed sheet’s material, weave, and thread count can all impact how you feel in bed.
Bed sheets can be made from a variety of materials, both natural and manmade. And of course, each fabric gives an entirely different feel to your sleeping experience.
With a wide range of benefits, cotton is the most popular fabric for bed sheets. To begin with, it’s super soft and breathable. It’s also moisture-wicking. And of course, it’s easy to wash and fairly durable - plus, it won’t pill or gather lint.
EGYPTIAN COTTON: Egyptian cotton has the reputation of being the best bed sheet material in the world. A common misconception is that Egyptian cotton has to be produced in Egypt, but really it refers to a different breed of cotton plant.
The main difference between regular and Egyptian cotton is that the latter is handpicked, which puts less stress on the fibres, leaving them straight and making it possible to create very fine yarns without sacrificing length, thereby producing a stronger, softer cotton.
PIMA COTTON: Pima Cotton is another premium type of cotton that is ideal for bed sheets due to its natural softness and sheen. It has medium to long fibres, making it absorbent and durable. It is primarily grown in Australia, Peru and the abundant cotton fields in the southwest US.
As with silk sheets, bamboo bed sheets are hypoallergenic and usually grown without any pesticides, making them a popular sustainable option. They’re naturally anti-microbial and are also moisture-wicking.
This lightweight, fine fabric makes it great for hot climates. The best linen sheets are also long-lasting, so they’re a good investment for years to come.
Blends of cotton polyester make bed sheets that are durable and wrinkle-free, but they can be stiffer than pure cotton sheets. To ensure you’re getting good quality, look out for higher thread counts of 200 or above.
Silk bed sheets always scream luxury, but there are plenty of other reasons to think about indulging in silk sheets. For a start, they’re naturally cooling, which makes them a great option for balmy summer nights. They’re also hypoallergenic, so they are a popular choice if you suffer an allergy.
It’s not just the fabric that determines the feel of your bed sheets, but also the type of weave. The weave is about how the threads come together to make the fabric and they can have a big role in how durable or soft your bed sheets are.
Sateen is a popular weave for cotton cloth. This kind of weave has more threads on the surface of the sheet than underneath.
It’s less durable than tighter weaves but it creates a soft, silky and luxurious feel in your bed.
Still made of cotton, a flannel weave can come in varying thicknesses; the thicker the weave, the more warm your bed!
The most basic weave for sheets, percale is tightly woven in a grid-like pattern and has a thread count of at least 200. Percale cotton sheets will feel crisp on your bed.
A combed cotton weave removes the shorter fibres, leaving only the longer ones. This practice makes the fabric far more durable, and yet softer too.
Whenever you shop for bed sheets, you’ll come across a thread count. This signifies the number of threads woven into each square inch of material, with higher counts creating softer sheets or sheets that will soften over time.
Thread counts range anywhere from 80 to 1000, with most sheets sitting between 250 and 400. In general, thread counts of 400 or above will provide durability and that luxury feel at an affordable price.
You might also want to check the ply of the fabric used in the sheets. The ply describes how many threads are wrapped together into one single thread. You can get either single-ply or double-ply fabrics that can affect the softness of the sheets.
For example, an 400 thread count sheet with only 200 double-ply threads will have a different feel to a 400 thread count sheet with 400 single-ply threads.
A higher thread count has more threads per square inch.
A lower thread count has less threads per square inch
140 + 120 = 260 Thread Count
Washing your bed sheets all depends on the type of fabric your sheets are made of. While cotton is easy to machine wash, bamboo and silk need special care. Be sure to always check your care instructions label before you begin!
It’s good to wash your sheets once weekly to avoid a buildup of dirt and to prevent mites from making a home of your bed!
When you’re washing your bed sheets, make them the only item in your washing machine - no towels or other clothes should be in the machine. The sheets will have more room to circulate in the water and will be cleaner. You’ll also avoid pilling and any other damage from zips or fasteners.
STEP 1: Pretreat any stains before putting your sheets in the washing machine.
STEP 2: Roll your sheets into balls if your washing machine has a central agitator - that way they won’t twist around the agitator and risk damage.
STEP 3: Select a gentle wash cycle with cool or lukewarm water. Remove the sheets immediately after the cycle is finished to prevent wrinkles from forming. Shake out the sheets.
STEP 4: It’s better to line dry the sheets in the shade. If you dry in a dryer, use a low heat setting. Again, remove as soon as the cycle is complete.
As a natural fibre, bamboo can be delicate to wash and needs gentle care. Avoid bleaches or other harsh cleaners, which can damage the sheets. Instead, wash in a gentle machine wash cycle with mild laundry detergent.
Your bamboo sheets might fade after the first few washes, so make sure you wash them separately. And again, while line drying is best, bamboo sheets may be washed in a dryer as long as it’s on a low or air-dry setting.
While it’s a strong material, you do need to be careful with silk bed sheets. It needs special care to keep the fibres intact. Hand washing your silk sheets is the best way to go. And when you’re done, don’t wring them but blot them with a towel instead.
If you simply have no time for such attention to detail, wash in the machine on a delicate or hand-wash cycle in cool water with a gentle detergent.
It’s best to line dry the sheets in the shade but you can also dry them on the lowest setting in your dryer.
Fitted bed sheets can be particularly tough to fold, since they’re not just a traditional, flat sheet. But it’s actually surprisingly easy to fold them:
Find one of the shorter ends of your sheet and place your hands inside the corners. The elastic edge should be facing you.
Fold your sheet in half vertically, tucking the right corner over the left corner so it’s enveloped.
Flip your sheet 180 degrees and do the same to the lower portion.
Change your hold on the sheet so you have two corners over your left hand and two over your right. Keep the folded seam at the bottom, with the tucked edges facing you. Fold the sheet in half again to fit all four corners together, tucking one set into the other.
Lay your sheet on a flat surface with the folded edges facing up. Fold the longer part of the curved edge into the centre, just until you have straight edges and a rectangular shape.
Fold in half lengthwise, then into thirds.
Bleach isn’t good for bed sheets as it can damage the fabrics. Instead, add a quarter cup of lemon juice to the water.
Another option is to add half a cup of baking soda at the beginning of the cycle and then half a cup of white vinegar at the start of the rinse cycle. Both of these ingredients also act as fabric softeners.
You’ll increase your chances of the perfect white bed sheets if you hang your sheets to dry in the sun - the perfect natural bleach!
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