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I don’t know about you, but when I read or hear anything about thread count on sheets, I just get confused!  200, 400, 500 thread count, what does it mean?  And, what’s the difference between combed cotton, muslin, percale, Egyptian cotton, pima or supima?  All I want is a soft set of sheets!  Well, let me tell you, it does matter, and here’s why:

The number refers to how many threads per square inch.  The higher the thread count, the smoother and softer your sheets will be.

  • 200 – 300 thread count – used in designer sheets and printed novelty sheets…won’t be very soft.  Depending on the material used, such as a poly/cotton blend, will develop “pills” over time.
  • 300 – 500 thread count – Most commonly found sheets – will be soft and affordable.  If made from good quality materials, will become softer with repeated washings.
  • 500 or more – These sheets will be very soft, and expensive, but well worth it!  The sheets with higher thread counts are usually made from very fine materials such as Egyptian cotton.

As for the materials used to make your sheets, here are the most common:

Combed cotton – Through a cleaning process, removes impurities and produces short, undesirable fibers.

  • Muslin – Muslin does not make a very soft or desirable sheet.  It is usually used for novelty children’s sheets, and will typically have a low thread count of around 140.
  • Percale – A flat, closely woven and smooth sheet that usually is 100% cotton, or a 50/50 cotton/poly blend.  Thread count in these sheets is typically 200.  Makes a nice sheet, but over time, the cotton/poly blend will develop “pills”.
  • Pima or Supima – Refers to a high quality cotton consisting of long fibers.  It is similar to Egyptian cotton – the difference being location of origin.  Pima and Supima is grown in the U.S., Egyptian cotton is grown near the Nile River.  Typically these sheets have a thread count of 300 or higher and are very soft.
  • Egyptian cotton – grown along the Nile River.  Usually these sheets have a thread count of 300 or higher, and are very soft, luxurious and durable.

So if you are out shopping for sheets, be sure to check the thread count, and see what the sheets are made from.  Higher thread count is more expensive, but well worth it in the long run, as they will provide you with a super soft, luxurious bed you won’t want to get out of!



Written by koalatycleaners

February 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm

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