We all want to ensure we are investing in great quality products – especially when it’s the sheets we wrap ourselves in every night. But what should we all look out for exactly? In this article series we take a look at a few important things to check when you’re buying decent bedding.
#1 Read the packaging
Make sure you read all the information on the packaging, not just the parts the marketers put in bold. Look out for information about the following things:
Cotton-polyester blend sheets are wrinkle-resistant, durable, and relatively inexpensive. They are, however, not the best option for comfort. If you’re looking for that cool, soft feel, nothing beats 100 percent cotton. You’ll hardly ever wake up clammy on cotton sheets since the fibre wicks moisture away from your skin. And perhaps lesser known is the fact that cotton sheets are less likely to stain than polyester blends. As a water-loving fibre, cotton releases dirt easily when wet.
All types of cotton share these wonderful traits, but long-staple cotton (like Egyptian Cotton), makes for a noticeably softer sheet, and the surface won’t pill and lint like one woven from shorter fibres. It’s also worth noting that Egyptian Cotton is the most readily available long fibre cotton in South Africa.
The weave affects the way a sheet feels, the way it looks, its longevity and its price. Basic plain weaves, which are woven from an equal number of vertical and horizontal yarns, are least expensive and may not rate a mention on the label. Percale is an upscale plain weave with a thread count of 180 or higher and is known for its longevity and crisp feel. Sateen weaves have more vertical than horizontal yarns. The higher proportion of vertical threads results in an extremely soft fabric which is why luxury sheets are often woven using a sateen weave.
It’s not just about thread count. High thread counts can certainly make for better sheets, but it’s the thread (or fibre) itself that matters most. In fact, a sheet of a better quality fibre with a lower thread count will feel softer and stand up to washing better than a sheet of a lower-quality fibre with a higher thread count.
Patterns and colours are usually applied to sheets after they’re woven, which means the sheets may feel stiff until you’ve washed them a few times. The softest (and most expensive) are made of yarn-dyed fabrics, woven from already coloured yarns. When the colour is applied makes very little difference to the quality of the product and after a few washes, the only difference will be the cost.
Look out for more tips on what to look for when buying great quality cotton bedding.