When it comes to buying bed sheets, most of us know that thread count is an indicator of quality. But what does a high thread count really mean? Is it the only feature you should be looking out for? In this article we take a look at what makes really great luxury bedding and offer some advice on how to make sure you're buying the very best available on the UK market.
What does thread count mean?
Thread count is simply the number of threads that are woven into a square inch of fabric. To calculate this, manufacturers count the number of threads that go vertically (called the warp) and add them to the number going horizontally (the weft). So a square inch of fabric with 150 warp and 150 weft threads would have a total thread count of 300.
Is a higher thread count better?
Thread counts can vary from 200 right up to over 1000, and many of us have been led to believe that higher equals better. But that's not necessarily the case. While it's true that a sheet with a low thread count (200 or below) will generally wear quicker and feel less soft than one with a higher thread count, there are several other factors that come into play. These include the type of yarn, the type of weave and the ply.
The widely-held belief that higher thread counts are automatically better has led some manufacturers to artificially inflate the thread count, in order to charge a higher price. They do this by using multi-ply yarns, where multiple threads are twisted together to make the overall thread count higher. Fabric woven with multi-ply yarn usually feels rougher than single-ply, because the shorter threads stick out of the weave.
Some of the best luxury bedding will come with a guarantee that it's been certified in accordance with Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX. But what exactly does this mean? In essence, it means it's been manufactured in a way that guarantees it's free from harmful chemicals or other toxic substances. So the bedding is safe for you and your family to sleep in, without any worries.
(Photo by @home_sweet_home_46)
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