What Does Thread Count Mean For Bed Linens?

The thread count is a factor that determines the quality of the bed sheets and linens that grace your home. Generally, when the thread count is higher, the cloth gets softer. Also, when the thread count is high, the clothes become softer over time and with washes. 

However, a very high thread count does not necessarily mean that the bed sheet is of the best quality. The thread count for most of the bed sheets available in the market is between 200 and 600. This is enough to make the sheets comfortable for use and durable. 

What is the meaning of thread count?

The number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch on a bed sheet or cloth is its thread count. The thread count for bed linen varies between 200 and 600 or, in some cases, 800. 

The thread count is a significant factor when choosing bed linens. People who use organic cotton or cotton bedsheets are incredibly particular about the thread count. Dependable brands list the products' thread count, such as bed sheets, fitted sheets and other bed linens, so the customer can choose the suitable option.

The cost of the bed sheet also varies based on the thread count. 

Is thread count the only measure of a good bed sheet?

Thread count is one factor that tells us how good a bed sheet is, but it is not the only criterion. Sometimes, brands tend to inflate the thread count using means that do nothing to improve the quality of the linen. Therefore, thread count is one of many measures of a good bed sheet. The thread count tells us how tightly woven fabric is. 

A high thread count, though promising, could mean different things. Some brands tend to increase the thread count by using twisted yarns. 

How do you calculate the thread count?

To calculate the thread count, add the number of threads that run lengthwise and breadthwise within a particular area of fabric. The lengthwise threads are called the warp, and those that are breadthwise are called the weft. The sum of the warp and weft threads of a part of the bedsheet will give you its thread count. 

For example, Blue Dahlia’s organic cotton bedsheets have a thread count of 254. This means there are 127 warp threads and 127 weft threads in a square inch of the fabric. Higher thread counts indicate more threads in the warp and the weft in every square inch.

What does the thread count indicate?

A high thread count generally indicates a softer, better cloth. For example, some luxury brands boast super-soft bed linens with a thread count of 1000. However, a high thread count can mean something other than comfort and luxury. Most combed cotton sheets ideally have a thread count of 200-300. 

The thread count is usually an indication of the softness and feel of the fabric. Most brands use this to denote the superiority of their cloth over those of competitors. However, if the quality of the yarn used in making bed linen is not of good quality, the thread count will not ensure a soft and durable sheet. 

What is the best thread count for bed linen?

As surprising as it is, there is no number that is the best thread count for bed linen. Most industry experts say that the ideal thread count would be between 200 and 300, but it can go up to 800, depending on the quality of the yarn, and the finish that the brand is aiming for. The minimum thread count that you should be looking for is 200. 

The thread count differs based on the different types of fabric or yarn. A plain weave could have a thread count of about 200, while a softer and more popular sateen weave could have a thread count of 250-300. Therefore, depending on the type of bed linen that you like to use, based on various factors, you can check the thread count before buying.

Note: make an infographic of this

  • Cotton-plain weave- 180-200
  • Cotton/organic cotton- 200-300
  • Egyptian cotton- 300-400
  • Bamboo- 300-500

This thread count is one of many indicators of a good-quality sheet. Other factors decide the quality of the sheet- the quality of the yarns, the type of weave, the production process, the finish, and so on. 

Is it better to get bed linen with a higher thread count?

There are some reasons why a higher thread count is considered better. Many brands advertise that bed linen with a high thread count is of better quality and, thus, sell them at a higher price. This may be partially true. The material plays a major role in determining if the thread count of the bed linen is the best fit for it.

If you are looking at using organic cotton bedsheets, it is best to use one with a thread count of about 250. This is because organic cotton is soft, and the weave makes it soft and comfortable if the yarn is of superior quality. 

Bed linen that promises to have a high thread count, above 1000, for example, may be of low quality. This largely depends on the brand. Some brands use a higher thread count to inflate the price of bed linen, but an exorbitant price can mean something other than the best quality. 

On the contrary, if a manufacturer uses too many threads in bed linen, the packed threads could be a hindrance. The density of the material could increase and stifle airflow. This would mean that the bed linen feels more like a heavy and warm blanket than a sheet that you would lie on. 

Sometimes, manufacturers use entwined threads or three-ply threads to increase the thread count. Bed linen made using these lower-quality threads could be inferior in quality. 

Does the thread count signify durability?

Yes, an ideal thread count usually guarantees durability if the yarn is of superior quality. Normally, the thread count of 200-400 means that your bed linen will retain shape through multiple washes and get softer with use. 

The durability of any fabric does not just depend on the thread count; it also depends on its use. If you do not follow care instructions for your bed linen, then chances are that a high thread count cannot help you keep the linen looking clean and new for a long time. Following the manufacturer’s instructions during any wash cycle, your bed linen goes through is essential. 

Is there a reason to ignore the thread count?

The thread count is most important when you are buying cotton bed linen. This is especially important when you need to know the source of the raw materials and are looking for bed sheets or covers that have been given the 100% cotton tag. 

However, if you are buying from a trusted brand like Blue Dahlia, and know that the manufacturer uses organic cotton, then the thread count would be insignificant as the finish of the linen. Similarly, the thread count could be quite misleading if you are not buying 100% cotton sheets. 

You could be misled by the high thread count listed if you buy a bed sheet or cover that uses multi-ply yarn. You could end up paying a higher price for low-quality bed linen because you went by the thread count. 

Similarly, bed linen made of polyester, rayon or other blends of materials does not require a thread count. The same goes for linen made for cold weather, including anything with silk, fleece or flannel. 

The thread count gives you a fair idea of the best quality sheets when shopping for bed linen. However, it is also essential to pay attention to other factors, such as brand name and materials used, before deciding to pay a high price for the products. 

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