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You ever have one of those off days where nothing goes right and you finally get home and your body yells “TIMBER” as you faceplant into your bed? Life can be hard sometimes. And if you are like me, your bed is your safe place that cradles and comforts you in your times of weakness. That and, as many mattress stores and linen shops will tell you, you will spend a third of your life in bed. So you want to make sure that your mattress, pillows and your sheets are all the perfect ratio of comfy so you can get the best sleep.

So let’s pretend that you have to go down to the ole BB&B (Bed, Bath & Beyond) or Walmart and you need to buy some sheets. You have that little mantra in your head that’s been repeated over and over again,”The higher the thread-count, the better the sheet”. You repeat this in your head as your eyes glaze over all the options presented before you. You see 200, 300, 400, 500 all the way up to 800 thread-count. Score! 800 thread count for $39.99!

STOP RIGHT THERE!!

You are about to buy a lie! The myth of the thread-count mantra has been obliterated and Dish is going to dish out some TRUTH!

Thread-count is the amount of fibers that can be counted in one square inch of fabric. The first thing that you need to know is that there is NO SUCH THING as a thread-count over 500. It’s mathematically impossible to fit that much thread into one square inch. SO WHY are there so many bed sheets and linens available that claim to be a 600 or even 1800 thread-count? The reason, my friends, is shameful and it is because salespeople want to pull the wool, or cotton, over our eyes to make off with more green. The sad thing is that using thread-count as a marketing gimmick has been a thing for over 20 years and so many people are sold on it so they take their bed sheets for granted. That’s right, sometime ago, in the 90s, manufactures figured out that they could increase the “thread-count” without adding any additional thread by making a 2 ply sheet. They doubled up the thread-count and doubled up their profits as well. Ignorance is itch.
 
Here’s how they trick you. A regular 250 thread count sheet will have 125 vertical threads and 125 horizontal threads in each square inch. And that’s fine as long as a high quality, long cotton is used otherwise it might feel a bit rough and sandpapery. However, a 750 LIAR thread-count will also have 125 vertical threads and 125 horizontal threads...wtf right?! Many manufacturers will sell these 750 thread-count sheets at an irresistible price and all they have done, is faked their numbers by tripling the threads in the weave together like braids with low quality, short cotton. This in the long run screws you over.

In the beginning, when you buy new sheets you feel them and they feel soft like lotion. Then, after a few washes, your sheets will start to pill and the threads will swell and bunch up making it harder for air and heat to escape. That means you are going to have a hot, clammy night of tossing and turning my amigo. This leads to one of two things, either A: you get rid of those sheets and bust out a hundo to begrudgingly replace them. Or, B: you become an insomniac with a ring of sweat around the collar of your night shirt. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Save yourself the aggravation and get some knowledge in your noggin about the misleading world of bed sheets and thread-count. How will you know if you are buying REAL sheets that are not advertised with fake thread-count numbers?

Rule #1: Never buy sheets that claim to be over 500 thread count. If they say that, they are lying and you will have bedding issues in the near future.

Rule #2: If the price seems too-good to be true, it is! Remember that the bedding and linens market prays on the ignorant shopper because they are not in business because they care about the quality of your sleep.

Rule # 3: When it is time for new sheets, don’t just throw them away. Donate them, turn them into a Scarlett O'Hara dress, make cleaning rags or towels. Did you know that there are over 10 million tons of textile waste that ends up in landfills each year? Did you also know what there is a company that acts like a Netflix for bed sheets? It’s called Coyuchi for Life and they will take your old used sheets and recycle/repurpose them and then ship you brand new sheets and towels for low monthly fees!

Rule # 4: Don’t worry so much about thread count and worry more about the length of the cotton fibers.

Short staple fiber is the lowest quality and it’s about an 1/8 inch long. Long staple fiber is high quality and is double the length of the short fiber. And there there is the mack-daddy extra-long staple fiber which can be up to 2 inches long and is very durable and amazing and used in the finest sheets only. This is the thread that is going to cost $$$. It costs more because it lasts a very long time. An example of this extra long fiber is REAL Egyptian cotton. Fake Egyptian cotton sells for cheaper and may contain less than 10% of real Egyptian cotton.

Rule # 5: Find out about the different weaves of cotton bedding and also check they other fabrics available for bedding such as Jersey-Knit and Microfiber.
 
Jersey-Knit fabric is made from low quality short cotton and is used to make clothing like t-shirts and underwear. It’s soft and it pills after just one wash. I love it! But it’s not for everybody.
 
Microfiber is a fiber that is made synthetically in a lab and depending if it is the thick or thin kind, it will either last you close to a lifetime (thick) or waste a way after a year’s worth of washes (thin). It is VERY soft and in many cases it is comparable to the high-quality long fiber 500 thread-count cotton sheet.

There are 3 main ways that textile factories will weave bedding:

The Sateeen Weave is soft, supple and breathable. It has a 4/1 pattern that allows for a thinner fabric. It is good for people who get hot a lot during the night.

The Percale Weave is for a crisper thicker sheet. It holds in more heat so if you get cold a lot during the night, it may be the sheet for you, although it is not as supple and silky feeling to the touch.

The Flannel Weave
This type of weave is not suggested unless you live in a colder climate. It’s not sexy. They are plain and have a twill weave and it is very soft, not very breathable.

So how will you know if you’ve found the real deal and it is in fact a deal? It really comes to your personal preference. Don’t let sales people trick you into buying overpriced sheets that aren’t really what you need to fall asleep comfortably. There are 200 thread-count sheets out there that are very soft, supple and breathable. And there are the 200 thread-count sheets that you can find at Walmart that are just a joke because they are so rough and even a little itchy. Always feel your sheets before you buy them and if you do decide to dish out the dollars for a group of high-quality sheets, get them from a place like Pottery Barn a European store online. They sell the real deal. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. Me, I’ll keep my cheap Jersey-Knit sheets and my mega-pilled blankie from my childhood. Pilling may mean my sheets are deteriorating, but they are soft and supple and plenty breathable for my liking.
 
www.Dishmag.com / Issue 195 - October 3221
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