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Primer: Sheet Thread Counts

I have slept for too many nights under the assumption that “Back-to-School” jersey sheets were the softest thing around. So, I wanted to give all of you the 4-1-1 on a wonderful measure called thread count. Thread count is a measure of a sheet’s quality, or the coarseness or fineness of it. It’s measured by counting the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric.

The higher the count, the softer your sheet will be. Standard cotton thread counts are around 150, while good quality sheets are 200 or above and are considered “percale.” Beware of extremely high thread counts (400+); they tend to be misleading, as they usually use plied yarns (one yarn that is made by twisting together multiple finer threads). The type of fiber used (i.e. Egyptian cotton, Sea Island cotton) also has a play in the softness of your sheets. A 250-thread-count Sea Island cotton sheet will likely feel softer than a 350-thread-count sheet made of a short-staple cotton, which is a lesser quality fiber.


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