How to Shop for Sheets
Sheet Shopping Suggestions
With so many different kinds of sheets on the market how do you choose? Do you pick thread count over fabric? Do you pick the weave over the feel? What about being eco-friendly and purchasing only the eco-friendly sheets such as organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp? Would you prefer pure natural linen?
Although our sheets are often referred to as linens, or bed linens, and are advertised as such, they are rarely made out of this ecologically sound product. Pure natural linen combines the softness of cotton with the medicinal properties of flax. The high density of linen fabric and the durabiity of the linen fiber gives it at least twice the life span of cotton sheets. But many people remember them as being itchy and opt for cotton only. (See health benefits of pure linen below)
The following are some suggestions for when you are ready to shop for new sheets.
Sheet Shopping Suggestions;
The All Important Thread Count - knowing the thread count has become the gold standard for buying sheets. There was a time that a 200 thread count was considered a vast improvement over the standard sheets. But now sheets can be easily found in the 1200-1500 thread count range.
We are told that the higher the thread count the softer the sheets will feel. But this is not always true. When it comes to just counting the threads some manufacturers will combine two short fibers to make it one - this will add to the thread count but not to the softness of the sheets. For softness, longer fibers are needed such as in:
- Egyptian cotton
- pima cotton
These are three terms to be familiar with as they will provide a softer, smoother, silkier feel when you consider the fabric.
- cotton - For affordability, the 100 percent cotton sheets are the most popular. They offer comfort at a good price and come in various thread counts.
- polyester mix - Some sheets are mixed with polyester. While the polyester mix is wrinkle-resistant and can offer a crisp cool feel, they are not as breathable as cotton.
- silk - While some sheets are advertised as silk they may be polyester with a silky feel. Real silk sheets are luxurious but tend to be dry-clean only and high maintenance.
- linen - For hot climates pure linen is ideal as it does absorb moisture easily. Some brands can feel a little rough if you are used to cotton - but the roughness does have benefits (see linen info below).
The Weave: the overall feel and texture of your sheets has to do with the weave.
Percale Weaves - are tightly woven and give a silk-like feel
Sateen Weaves - place more threads on the sheet surface and while it does make the sheets feel softer they are also prone to pilling
Chambray Weaves - these stitches cross each other making for a lightweight feel
Organic cotton - manufacturers claim many non-organic sheets are treated with formaldehyde to produce less wrinkles - sheets are not required to have labels informing you of what they were treated with. Organic sheets are not treated with toxic chemicals and save the planet by reducing the heavy use of pesticides. Conventional cotton growers use more pesticides than almost any other crop. Organic sheets, (I am noticing these ads on the internet) are being sold as the only sheets you should use in a baby's crib. Organic sheets should have a label certifiying that they are organic.
- organic cotton can also come in the same weaves mentioned above such as percale and sateen, as well as damask and jersey
Hemp - organic hemp sheets offer more strength than organic cotton sheets. They are similar in look and feel to linen; they have a crisp finish. Hemp and linen sheets are not measured by their thread count; they are measured by fabric and weight. Like organic cotton, these sheets are highly recommended if you are chemically sensitive or allergic to industrial chemicals used in coventional synthetic or cotton sheets. (Did you know, at one time, the law required farmers to grow hemp? see link below)
Bamboo - pure 100 percent bamboo fiber offers sheets that feel silky-smooth, has wicking and ventilation abilities and resist wrinkling when laundered. They are from a renewable and pesticide-free source.
Linen - (see information next):
Health Benefits of Pure Linen Sheets:
- pure linen is known to suppress live pathenogenic microflora, fungi and bacteria
- it is known for having the excellent abiity to absorb superfluous moisture. Further, it provides an optimum heat exchange and enhanced comfort
- it is not known to cause allergies
- eliminates many kinds of skin irritaitons
- has a light massaging effect due to the microscopic breaks in the fabric
- is favorable in stimulating blood flow and promoting relaxation
- reduces static electricity
- has a cool feeling in the summer and a warm feeling in the winter
If you are thinking of replacing your sheets with linen, or any other kind of fabric, and are not sure what kind of sheets to invest in, it is recommended that you buy only the pillowcases, initially, and see if you like the feel.
If you are in the market for a pillow see the link below:
How to shop for the right pillow
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