How to buy the best sheets

Posted by Christi Reynard email

LOUISVILLE (WAVE)- We spend more time with our bed sheets than any other fabric in our home, yet when it comes to replacing them, most of us are clueless.  While we may not be able to spring forth with a Webster's quality meaning of the word "percale," we do know we like soft sheets or that we hate wrinkles. So how do we translate that into what to buy at the store?

Here are some basics:

First, where your cotton comes from can make a difference.  You want cotton that provides an extra long staple, or cotton fiber.  That typically comes from Egyptian, pima or supima cotton.

"And that's the little fibers in it. And when they spin that into a thread and weave it, the longer the staple the more durable the thread and the smoother the thread it is," says Corey Isaacson of Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Next up for superior sheets, look for combed cotton.

"Combed cotton which is different than regular cotton," says textile specialist Lorraine Henry, "it's gone through an extra process so they've combed out more of the trash."

The weave of a sheet can make a difference as well.  Sateen weave is often considered the best.

Finally there is the thread count, which is a count of the number of threads per square inch of the fabric.  It can easily run from 200 to a thousand.  Experts say don't ignore it, but don't be confused by the numbers.

"No don't ignore it because the higher the thread count generally the rule is the nicer the sheets," says Susan Lazear, Professor of Fashion at Mesa College. "But it's sort of understood that once you get beyond 300 it's not gonna matter a whole lot."

"You can have a high thread count with an inferior cotton, it's not going to make a very good sheet, it's going to pill and be rough," adds Isaacson.

Another tip:  avoid synthetics, and make sure to buy 100% cotton.

If you know what to look for, you can find exactly what you're looking for, even on a budget, and sleep well knowing you found the best sheets while saving money at the same time.

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