What to consider when buying bed sheets
With an overwhelming range of bed sheets to choose from, here’s how to narrow down your options:
Bed sheets are made from a huge range of materials, each offering a different look and feel.
Linen is lightweight, breathable yet durable. This makes it a good choice if you sleep hot. It gives a casual, rumpled look. Avoid if you like crisp lines.
Cotton flannel is great for making your bed warm and cosy during winter nights. Choose a set that’s brushed on both sides for maximum softness and durability. If you sleep hot, the lack of breathability will be a problem.
Silk offers a luxurious sleep environment. It’s cool in summer yet warm in winter. It doesn’t absorb moisture so is ideal if you sleep hot. Hypoallergenic, it’s resistant to dust mites and mildew. Silk is a good choice for allergy sufferers. However, it’s expensive and the cool feeling of it can take some adjusting to.
Organic cotton should be 100% cotton. This means no synthetics or blends, which can irritate your skin and may be less durable. Choosing organic means the cotton is grown without toxic chemicals. This is better for the farmer, worker, wildlife, environment – and you. Organic cotton is a great choice if you’re concerned about sustainability.
Bamboo has similar qualities to silk, but without the price tag. It’s also machine washable so easier to care for. Smooth and soft like silk, it lacks silk’s shininess. It’s hypoallergenic and gentle on sensitive skin. Bamboo is a far more sustainable material than cotton. Its fibre yields are greater, and it needs less water. Choose bamboo for softness and comfort without the silk price tag.
Bed sheet sizes can differ across manufacturers. To get the right size, measure the length, width and depth of your mattress. If you’ve got a particularly deep one, like a pillow top, make sure your sheets will fit it properly.
Ensure the sheets are good quality. Check the seams on the wide hem of the top sheet and on pillowcases. Look for neat, tight and small stitches.
Use independent review websites to read real-life customer experiences. If you can, take them out of the packaging and feel them.
4. Thread count
Contrary to popular belief, a high thread count isn’t always a guarantee of better quality or durability.
Thread count is the number of threads (vertical and horizontal) in a square of fabric. It’s usually per 10cm2 or per square inch.
A reasonably high thread count (over 180 threads per 10cm2) is good. Closely woven fabric wears well and shrinks less.
But a higher thread count can be deceiving because a thinner yarn produces a higher thread count. That’s because more threads fit into 10cm2 of fabric. A very high thread count will result in a soft, smooth fabric. But it’ll also be more delicate and not as durable.
Durability depends on the strength and quality of the fibre and the quality of the weave – not on the thread count.
With bed linen, the best quality comes at a price. You might find a sheet with a huge thread count at a tiny price. It’s probably too good to be true. To get such a low price, fibre quality and construction has probably been compromised.
Try to invest in the best linen you can afford.
Chemicals can be used to produce high-quality bed linen. Singeing burns tiny fuzz from the fabric surface to prevent piling. Mercerising uses caustic soda to swell then shrink fibres to increase the fabric strength and lustre.
If you’ve got skin sensitivities, allergies or eczema, choose organic cotton.
7. Returns policy
A lot of bed linen companies let you try your sheets at home. If you don’t like them after 30 or 60 nights, you can return them for a full refund. This is something to look for if you’re a nervous buyer.
Or, before investing hundreds of dollars in your bed linen, try a pillowcase first. This is a cost-effective way to check the quality and material for yourself.