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Why Thread Count Doesn't Count, Plus Other Cotton Mysteries Revealed!

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

We have all been there, lost on the bedding isle of some department store. Agonizing, "What is the best choice for my hard earned money." There are so many different terms and thread counts thrown at you, from a plethora of options that line the shelves. While we recommend a consultation with a bedding specialist to find the best fit and feel for your sleep preference, here is a handy guide to follow when shopping for cotton bedding in general.

What is Thread Count?

To keep it simple - thread count refers to the amount of threads in one square-inch of fabric. Be wary though, many manufacturers boasting high thread counts are just pulling-one-over on you. By laws of physics - you can only physically have 400 threads per square-inch. Here are some of the ways brands will try and trick you, and things to consider when buying:


- They use threads that are 2-ply or 3-ply; meaning their threads are actually made of 2 or 3 strands of yarn to create the thread. While this might sound great, it often leads to fabrics that are heavier and thicker. Which in sleeping terms means - HOT!

- Another common technique is to use shorter, thinner fibers to produce these multi-ply threads. Using shorter, thinner fibers can be the leading cause in fabrics pilling and start to feel harsh against your skin. EW! (More on different types of cotton fibers later!)

- The last trick up every inexpensive sheeting companies sleeve - Finishing agents! Ever have a set of bed sheets that felt like butter in the store, but after you washed them they feel like a slightly softer version of sandpaper? That's because whatever treatment they used was removed when you washed the fabric! Some pretty nasty chemicals can be used to make inferior cotton feel soft and luxurious. Just think about all that nasty rubbing off on your face while you sleep! OH MY!

Long Staple VS Short Staple Fibers

Did you know that cotton can range in length from 1/4 inch to 2 inches (depending on the variety)?! You might not think that small of a margin would mean a big deal, but I can assure you the length of fiber used can make a huge difference in the feel and performance of your cotton sheeting. Only certain varieties produce Long-Staple cotton fibers (1 1/4" or more in length), and even fewer produce Extra Long Staple fibers - 2" long. Keep an eye out for the following varieties to up the chances of getting a quality product (but to know for sure, buy through reputable brands / distributors / or professional consultants that put the time and care into searching out quality)


- Be wary of brands that just call their cotton "Egyptian Cotton" Look for quality varieties or the words "Long-Staple" to ensure you are purchasing quality products.

- Giza Cotton: While this is still considered an Egyptian Cotton - it is one of the best quality varieties. It is known for its extra long fiber length, and is only grown along the Nile river. It's superior fiber also creates a softer, more breathable fabric.

- Supima / Pima Cotton

- Sea Island Cotton

- Suvin Gold

Go, Shop, Sleep!

While there are a few other fiber types and things to consider while shopping - hopefully this little guide gives you better consumer confidence! Whether you shop on your own, or with a professional - just keep in mind some of the advertising tactics that are used, the quality and variety of the fiber, and don't always hold the thread count as a final selling factor!

Still feeling overwhelmed? Contact us for a bedding consultation today! We take all the guess work out of creating the best sleep environment for you and your loved ones!

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