You might suspect thread count is simply a marketing ploy to make Egyptian Cotton sheets sounds more luxurious. But it’s really a scientific term, with strict federal standards on how those threads are counted.
Technically, thread count means the number of threads woven together in a square inch. You count both lengthwise (wrap) and width wise (weft) threads. So 100 lengthwise threads woven with 100 width wise threads produce a thread count of 200.Thread count has become a buzz word for marketing luxury sheets, sheets, shirts and other woven fabrics goods.The idea is the finer the threads you can weave together, the softer and finer the fabric. But that’s not always the case. According to the Consumer Reports, a thread count of 200 is fine; 400 may be softer, but anything above 400 will likely only provide a higher price tag.
To get a sense of the type of fabric various thread counts produce, consider that a thread count of 150 (75 threads one way, 75 the other) produces muslin, which feels a little rough, certainly not silken. Good quality sheets come in at 180, and anything above 200 is considered better quality.So how are counts such as 800 or 1,200, which some manufacturers claim, even possible? How could you fit that many threads into a single inch? The short answer is you can’t. Some manufacturers use creative math to boost thread counts. In the spirit of free enterprise and competition, manufacturers battle to calculate their thread counts high, higher and highest. They count not just each thread, but each fiber (called plies) that make up each thread. So a single thread might be four plies twisted together; one manufacturer will call that one thread while another manufacturer may call it four threads. To untangle this inconsistency, Consumer Reports hired an independent textile lab to count threads in a $280 Queen Sheet Set with a manufacturer-stated thread count of 1,200. The lab counted 416 threads per inch, just 35 percent of what was claimed. But thread count is really only part of the puzzle.
We think that beautiful sheets paired with a great throw will not only look amazing but help you enjoy your nap on your “whatever the thread count is” sheets.
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