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Choosing And Care For Bed Linens
Consider Comfort When Choosing Bed Linens
It's so important to choose the right fabric when shopping for bed linens. Most importantly a fabric that will suit your personal comfort level. Bed linens can be very costly, so It's also important you know how to care for those new sheets. Different fabrics require different care.
The right bed sheets can really add to a good night's sleep. Plus, you want bed linens that wash well and last a long time. So, what is the most important element to consider when you go to buy a new set of bed linens? "Sheets" that will provide you with your own personal comfort preference, and ultimately a good night's sleep. The number one thing to consider when you choose bed linens is fabric.
Please keep in mind, all fabrics are not created equal when it comes to fabrics used to produce bed linens. There are many fabrics being used today to create bed linens, and I hope this article will serve to introduce you to a few fabrics that will serve you well. The right bed linens can make all the difference in a good night.
What Makes You Comfortable When It Comes To Sheets
It's said that we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed. So it's only natural to desire a comfortable experience when we climb into bed each night. Nothing can ruin a good night's sleep like uncomfortable bed linens; sheets that are too hot, too cool, pill, rough, scratchy, you name it.
So what is the most important element to consider when you go to purchase a new set of bed linens - "sheets" that will provide you with your comfort preference? The fabric is the most important consideration to take into account when buying sheets. Buying sheets can be difficult. There are so many fabrics to choose from: cotton, percale, and polyester, just to name a few. How does one know which fabric will be more comfortable and wear better with frequent laundering?
Time To Identify Your Personal Linen Preference
Before you head out to purchase bed linens, stop and ask yourself: Just what do I like to feel on my skin when I climb into bed? Do I prefer soft and cool, crisp and cool, or warm? Once you have considered your comfort preferences, you are ready to investigate the many fabrics that sheets are made of.
One can grow weary with trying to decipher all of the different terminology used on bed sheet packaging. I will attempt to arm you with some important information that will make it a bit easier to pick the right sheets for your comfort.
100% Cotton Sheets Are The Most Popular Sheets With Homemakers
Let's have a look at 100% cotton fabric, and why it makes for comfortable sleeping.
Cotton is one of the most durable and breathable fabrics around. Cotton sheets are for those who like a soft coolness that becomes warm, but when you move to another area of the bed it has that coolness to the touch.
Unfortunately, all cotton fabrics are not created equal. It is important to choose cotton sheets which have been finished with fuzz singeing to prevent pilling, and mercerized to increase the strength of the fabric. In regard to yarn ply, the best cotton is woven with one-ply yarn, which is a long staple (this indicates the yarn is in very long strands). The longer the strand used in weaving cotton fabric the more durable and long lasting the fabric will be.
Thread count is another very important element in the production of cotton. Thread count can become tricky because some manufacturers use two-ply yarns. Two-ply yarns are produced by splitting the one-ply yarn. This denatures the cotton strand and makes it much more likely that the bed sheet will pill, wear out sooner, and have a rougher hand. The worst part of all of this is that these manufacturers claim that their thread count is double to what it actually is. They can claim this because all they have done is to split the one-ply yarn into two-ply yarns. So, for example, with a 400 thread count, you are actually getting sheets with 200 thread count which will pill, feel rough, and will have poor durability.
When purchasing cotton sheets it is wise to buy 250 thread count and up, with one ply yarn, that have also been mercerized. The higher the thread count of the sheet the softer and lighter the sheet will feel. The lower 250 thread count will feel heavier, yet will still be soft and give a cooler feel to the sleeper. The lower thread count may also be more apt to wrinkle a bit, and need light ironing. A sheet produced with a lower thread count with a high-quality one-ply yarn will feel softer than a sheet produced with a higher thread count that was made with lower quality two-ply yarns. Just keep in mind that if one ply yarn is used the sheet will be more costly as thread count increases. So when you are out shopping for bargains, and the package states that the bed sheets are made with 650 thread count, check for yarn ply. As a rule, you will note the fabric was produced with two-ply yarns.
Let's have a look at some of the popular fabrics blends that manufactures are using to create bed linens today.
Let's Explore The Many Different Fabrics That Bed Linens Are Made Of
Cotton Jersey - Cotton jersey sheets are for those who like warmth. They do not possess the coolness of plain cotton. They are very soft, and as a rule, wear well. Just think of your favorite T-shirt. Cotton/Flannel sheets are cozy. Flannel sheets are very soft and promote warmth. These sheets are for the person who is always cool and desires lots of warmth when they get under those covers at night. No cool spots here.
Linen - Linen is made from the flax seed. These sheets are expensive, but are very strong, absorbent, and dry quickly. They breathe and will provide coolness to the skin. Keep in mind, they are not as soft as your plain cotton sheets but do soften up after many washes. Linen is a great choice for warm climates and for durability.
Silk - Silk sheets are made from the cultivated silk fiber from silkworms. These sheets are perhaps the lightest, softest fabric bed sheets are made of. Silk is naturally soft and lightweight, along with being very absorbent. Silk sheets are not for the person that likes cool. They are soft but tend to be warm. Silk sheets are also very costly, and need careful care when laundering; most require dry cleaning.
Synthetic Fabrics - Synthetic fiber polyester is a man-made fabric produced from substances such as coal, water or petroleum. This fabric is very wrinkle resistant and does not pill. As a rule, polyester sheets are durable and will last for years. They have a rough hand that will soften after washing several times. They are very lightweight and don't breathe well. This makes them feel very warm.
Cotton Polyester Blends - Cotton polyester blends are not as durable as cotton and don't breathe as well as cotton. They are lightweight and are warm to sleep on. As a rule, they pill with washing. This gives a sandy feel to the hand, and naturally a poor night's sleep.
Percale - Percale is a type of weaving where the cotton fibers are wrapped around the polyester fibers. Percale sheets feel like cotton when the thread count is 180 or higher per square inch. They provide a feeling of cool to the touch and are soft. They are a fair alternative to cotton sheets, but will not last as long. Repeated washing denatures the cotton fiber, and the sheets become thin and eventually uncomfortable.
Egyptian Cotton - Finally, we've come to the ultimate fabric in bed linens; Egyptian cotton. Egyptian cotton is the strongest cotton in the world. As its name implies, it is grown in Egypt in the Nile Valley region. If kept in one ply long staple strands, it is the highest quality fabric which can be used in the production of bed sheets. Egyptian cotton will provide the softest, most durable bed sheets one can purchase. But again, some manufacturers will start out with the ideal one ply long staple strands of Egyptian cotton, and split the yarn into two-ply, cutting the staple short. As mentioned earlier, this method will yield a poorer quality cotton sheet. So when the package claims "Made of Egyptian Cotton", remember to check for ply. (As a rule, two-ply Egyptian cotton is still pretty good, but won't last as long as a one-ply sheet made with Egyptian cotton.)
If you are lucky enough to purchase 100% Egyptian single strand long-staple cotton sheets, with a thread count of 400 and above, you will have the ultimate in comfort and durability.
Bamboo Sheets - Soft Hand and Cool to The Skin - I would be remiss if I did not inform my visitor about the newest thing in sheets ...
Bamboo Sheets Are As Soft As Cashmere
Bamboo sheets are quickly becoming today's luxury bedding choice for the educated consumer. It might seem a bit odd to those who haven't slept on bamboo sheets, but when bamboo grass is spun into a fabric, it's literally having the hand of an expensive blend of cashmere or a cashmere and silk blend.
Why Should You Consider Bamboo Sheets?
For starters, did you know that bamboo sheets are actually temperature-regulating? Bamboo fabric is a wonderful natural fabric. Sheets made of bamboo can offer you a good night's sleep, if you are one that likes a cool feeling sheet experience, try a set of sheets made of natural bamboo. A bamboo sheet will keep you cool in the summer, and warm in the winter, making bamboo the perfect choice for sheets. Another plus, bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial and allergen free. Actually, what more could one desire in a set of sheets?
Bamboo sheets aren't just extremely comfortable to sleep on -- they're also are environmentally safe! Bamboo material is made from one of the world's fastest growing, greenest, most renewable resource. Bamboo plants are speedy growers, a bamboo plant can grow up to a foot per day. Another fact: on the growth of bamboo, it grows densely. When harvested the plant quickly turns around and becomes ready to harvest again. It is a very healthy type of plant, so as for the need for herbicides and pesticides, bamboo simply doesn't need them. This makes bamboo a natural organic product, unlike cotton. Despite cotton being a natural fiber, its production is a very unnatural process, using more chemicals per pound of cotton than any other crop grown.
So, you might be wondering, is bamboo fabric vegan, and animal-friendly choice in sheets? In one word, yes. This fact alone will most certainly aid in providing you with a restful night, knowing animals were not harmed to provide you with a softer sheet.
Bamboo bedding is quickly becoming as popular or more popular than cotton bedding. I hope the next time you are shopping for a sheet set, you will check out sheets made of bamboo. I think once you have felt the soft hand, and coolness of the fabric, you will be sold.
Do Allergens In Your Bed Make For A Poor Night Sleep? Check Out Costco's Premium Allergen Barrier Bedding ...
If you are plagued with allergies, do yourself a favor. Try this great Costco line of allergen barrier protectors.
"Allergy Comfort" Allergen barrier protectors help to protect against dust mites, pollen, household and pet allergens with a scientifically engineered fabric seam construction. Studies show that the most important step to reduce dust mites is the use of allergen-impermeable encasings with a minute pore size that is breathable enough for mattresses, comforters, and pillows. These protectors will help prevent most allergies as well as extend the life of your comforter, mattress pad and pillows by protecting against soiling and the need for frequent laundering.
How To Launder Those New Sheets
And keep them looking great
Rotate your sheets weekly. When you wash and rotate sheets weekly having two or three different sets to rotate, your linens will stay new-looking longer. Good quality sheets may last up to ten years or more. Use only non-chlorine bleach on colored sheets, and bleach white sheets only when badly soiled or discolored. Chlorine bleach stands to weakens fabric fibers, and cause them to become worn, and thin. A great writing tip for whites that will be gentle, yet effective is to add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle and launder in warm water. Sun is also a good way to further the lemons whitening effect.
Washing your sheets, read the label! So many people don't read the simple washing instructions. If a label tells you to wash in cool water, wash in cool. Make sure to read if your sheets can tolerate Bleach. As a rule, most sheets will call for Non-chlorine, and be washed in cool temperatures. When washing sheets don't overload the washer. It smart to add one set of sheets per wash. Your sheets will be less wrinkled when coming out of the washer.
Again don't overload the dryer. Tumble dry on a medium heat setting, and remove your sheets promptly from the dryer. Again don't panic if the first few washes your sheet are a bit wrinkled. After a few washes, they get better. Iron your pillowcases, they will look like new, and give the bed a much nicer look. Tip on laundering printed sheets.
Most printed sheets feel rough when first taken out of the package. This is due to the dyes used in their production. Most printed sheets tend to also be thicker, due to the need for dyes to take to the fabric. Printed sheets will soften up a few items of washing.
Lavender Is Wonderful For Adding Not Only A Relaxing Scent to linens, It Also Adds Natural Softness ...
The very definition of lavender is "to clean" and it has been used since ancient times to do just that, clean laundry, as well as many other areas of a home. History indicates that freshly washed linens would be gently laid over a bed of lavender plants to dry.
I grow and love lavender. I not only cook with it, but also make wonderful rinses, not only for my wash, but my hair, and my dog's hair. We all know lavender smells great, but it also has great softening properties. These properties are easily released by brewing the lavender buds as one does tea.
When laundering sheets, I use a "lavender brew" to soften my linens. It works wonders and is great for anyone that has allergies to chemicals found in store-bought fabric softeners. The scent is soft and does not overpower the senses, as does store bought softeners. It's all natural, and if you love the scent of lavender, you will love the very slight scent that it will leave on your laundry.
My Lavender Brew - two tablespoons of lavender buds in one and a half cups of boiling water. Steep brew for 15 minutes with cup covered with a plate. Add mixture to one load of laundry at the rinse cycle.
I grow lavender, and dry the buds, at midwinter I tend to run low on buds. As a rule, I order my lavender buds on Amazon or eBay by the pound. I hope you will try my lavender brew.
On A Sour Note - Vinegar can help make your new sheets soft
Great Tip On How To Softening New Sheets...
New sheets are usually stiff because of the chemicals and sizing that the manufacturer adds. To remove this sizing, try washing with less detergent than recommended set water setting on HOT! Detergent can add to making clothes stiff. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar works great at removing detergent and sizing build up. You may also want to add an extra rinse cycle.
Laundering Towels - How to make them soft and absorbent.
Machine wash towels in warm water, with similar colors. New towels should be wash before using them. This will remove any excess dye from deeper tones, and brilliant colors. Always wash dark colors separately, avoid chlorine bleach. Tumble drying enhances the softness of towels. Remove dry towels promptly from dryer, shake and fold. It's not wise to use fabric softeners or dryer sheets on your towels. Washing in fabric softener coats the terry fibers with silicones, and will stand to make a towel less absorbent. To freshen towels with a scent, use natural linen spray, lightly spray before folding. You may also add a half cup of baking soda to the wash cycle. This will not only give a clean scent but soften the towel naturally.
If hanging your towels to dry outdoors, always shake them out before hanging, and shake them again before folding. This will help in making them a bit softer, by fluffing the fibers. It also will help in making the towels absorbent.
In humid months, it's a bad idea to let wet towels hang in the bathroom all day. Just toss them in the dryer for ten minutes, then into the dirty laundry. Towels need more frequent laundering.