High Thread Count Cotton
100% Cotton Sheets are pretty easy to understand. The higher the Thread Count (commonly abbreviated to TC – more on Thread Count here), the stronger, more durable and dense the fabric. But not everything in the world of the humble bedsheet is that simple! The higher the thread count the heavier is the sheet, and some people simply do not like heavy sheets.
How high should the Thread Count be for good quality?
We sell 375 thread count 100% Cotton Sheets and have been using them in our household for about 5 years. They withstood all the washing and use over these years, and still look good!
In my experience the Cotton Sheets at 250TC and lower can pill, especially the fitted sheet since it gets a lot of load and rubbing from our bodies. Our 375TC sheets by comparison do not pill after 5 years of use.
More recently we have begun selling 1000TC Sheets for those who may be interested. We expect the feel to be even smoother and unlikely to pill, but also to be quite a lot heavier than the 375TC sheets.
So, what if you want your sheet to be lighter, but do not want to sacrifice the quality? You might consider Egyptian Cotton or Bamboo Fibre. If you’ve thought about switching or are just wondering what all the fuss is about, then read on.
Egyptian Cotton – What’s the Big Deal?
The Pima Cotton plant, also known as Extra Long Staple or Egyptian Cotton, is one variety of cotton plant. Like all cotton plants it grows as a small, bushy tree with fluffy wad-like flowers of cotton. The Extra Long Staple variety is called that because it grows unusually long, silky fibres (many of which are woven together to make the actual thread used in cloth).
Though there are many kinds of Extra Long Fibre cotton plants out there, the handpicked (delicately handled) fibres and high quality production of Egyptian manufacturers mean that Egyptian Cotton sheets are prized around the world. Many luxury and upmarket brands will boast about the use of Egyptian Cotton in their products. But beware, some stuff labeled as “Egyptian Cotton” might only contain a small percentage of the real thing. Our sheet sets are certified and carry the Egyptian Cotton cotton bud logo to signify that they are made from only top-quality Egyptian cotton.
Though we have not tested these in our home yet (our 375TC Cotton Sheets are still going strong!), we have an Egyptian Cotton bed sheet set on hand to compare some of its features.
It feels a lot thinner and less “dense” than the 375TC Cotton sheets (which feel rich and smooth but heavy), but REALLY tough and far lighter than the cotton sheets.
Rubbing your hand against it, it feels silky and more glossy. It has a luxurious shine to it that catches the light, where the cotton is totally matte – pure cotton will look bright in a vibrant colour and feel soft to sleep on but it does not shine like this.
It’s said that Egyptian Cotton is hardwearing and keeps a more vibrant colour for longer. Once we have tested the Egyptian Cotton we will be able to report on this further.
Bamboo Fibre – A Healthier Alternative?
Bamboo has only recently become usable as a fibre to make clothing and sheets, thanks to new technology being developed. The great thing about bamboo as a fabric is it is much better for the environment than cotton, which uses stacks of pesticides and chemicals in its production. As Bamboo is a grass it grows back quickly and its roots stay in the ground (meaning there is less erosion / soil degradation), and bamboo forests are denser allowing for higher crop yields than cotton.
Also, though bamboo is a natural product, it does not naturally come in “fibres” – instead a resin is extracted and made into thread by artificial means. So it’s not a natural fabric like Cotton and that makes it hypo-allergenic, much like microfibre is.
These sheets feel fantastic! The label says the fabric has a “naturally enhanced lustrous finish”. The Bamboo Sheet Set is shiny and smooth, has a more “silky” feel than the 375TC Cotton AND the Egyptian Cotton, and the lustrous shine seems to be double sided (the inside of the pillowcase is as shiny as the outside).
The label promises greater heat retention / cooling in summer, as bamboo is more heat absorbent than cotton. As it’s not a natural fibre, it’s listed as hypo-allergenic. Some natural properties of Bamboo have been enhanced to also make it Anti-Bacterial.
Like the Egyptian Cotton the lustre finish means it catches the light and looks much more vibrant than just cotton. It feels more rich and soft than the “tough” Egyptian Cotton, though the thickness seems unchanged. We’ll see what the differences are after a few washes.
What to Choose?
All these cottons give you good quality, and what best suits you will depend on your preferences.
If you would like:
- a rich, almost felty soft feel
- some extra weight in the sheet
then the higher Thread Count 100% Cotton varieties might be your thing. The catch here is that the higher the thread count the heavier the sheet!
If you want:
- a thinner, lighter sheet
- high thread counts
then you will have to step up to Egyptian Cotton.
If you are looking for something:
- with a silky feel
Bamboo Cotton will provide, though we are unfortunately not stocking it at present.