Bed Sheets Buying Guide
There are many steps involved in choosing the right bed sheets for your particular mattress. Of course, you need to start with the correct size of your mattress. There are standard sizes such as twin, full, queen, etc., but even these "standard" sizes can vary. For proper-fitting bed sheets, you will need to measure your mattress to make sure you are getting the correct size sheets.
In addition, you need to measure the pocket depth — the distance from the bottom edge of the mattress to the top, including any pillow top quilting that might be on the mattress. A standard pocket size is 7 to 9 inches (18 to 23 cm), a deep pocket is considered to be 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 cm), and an extra deep pocket depth measures 15 to 22 inches (38 to 56 cm). This will help ensure that you find the correct fitted sheets for your mattress.
Fitted sheets are not created equal; the elastic on a fitted sheet can also affect quality. The most common and cheapest type of fitted sheet only has elastic in the corners, which can often lead to the bed sheets coming off the mattress during the night. One step up are the fitted sheets with elastic running down the sides. The type of fitted sheets that are usually most expensive and of the highest quality are the kind with elastic all the way around the sheet. That extra elastic generally helps prevent the sheet from slipping off of the mattress.
Thread count — the number of threads in one square inch of the fabric — is another important consideration when buying bed sheets. To have soft, durable sheets, you need a high thread count, and in general, the higher the thread count is, the better quality the sheets are. A thread count of at least 200 is recommended, although higher thread counts usually feel more luxurious and hold up better to use and frequent washings.
Bed sheets can also feature different weaves, which you should consider before making a purchase. A standard weave has a pattern of one stitch over and one stitch under. Sateen sheets have a sateen weave which means four stitches over and one under. Since most threads are on the surface, the material is extremely soft, but not quite as durable as a standard weave. A pinpoint weave is two stitches over and one under, which is less soft than sateen but softer than a standard weave.
Different materials have different strengths and weaknesses. Cotton is a favorite of many people, both for its softness and ability to breathe. However, there are different versions of 100% cotton. Muslin as at the low end, with a threat count of 128 to 140. It is rather rough and is mostly used for children's printed bed sheets. Combed cotton is cleaned of impurities, and because its shorter fibers are removed, is generally soft and smooth.
Pima cotton is long fiber cotton grown in the United States, and Supima cotton is the same, with extra-long fibers. Both of these are of high quality and usually have a 200 to 300 threat count. Egyptian cotton is considered the best cotton, due to its extra-long fibers. Bed sheets made from this silky and durable cotton usually have a thread count of over 200.
Cotton blends are popular for sheets, since it can make them less likely to wrinkle. Cotton/polyester blends are very popular because they cost less and they have a crisp, cool feeling. These sheets are of higher quality than they used to be. Flannel is wool blended with synthetic material or cotton. Flannel sheets are not measured by thread count, but instead by the weight of flannel per square yard.
Although the variety of material, stitching styles, and sizes of bed sheets available may seem daunting, a careful consumer will be able to learn exactly which type of bed sheets are right for him or her. No matter if you are looking for durability, softness, or bed sheets that fit into your budget, understanding the options will help you to find the best sheets for you.
Written by Bronwyn Harris
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