The Truth About Thread Count

Posted by Cody Wirth on

The age old question remains: when it comes to the comfort and softness of the bedding that embraces you while you slumber, does thread count matter? And if so, why? These days, everyone from decorators and designers to that chatty neighbor down the street likes to brag about the thread count of their sheets. Let’s take a look at the facts about thread count and how it truly affects your bedding. 

Thread count = the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch of the fabric. But there is so much more to consider when buying bedding than just that one element. Although it is important, you must take into account many other factors.

Don’t be impressed by high numbers alone

Not long ago, a typical sheet set would have 120 thread count, 60 vertical and 60 horizontal threads. A sheet with 180 thread count was considered a luxury back in the flower-child days of the 1960’s. Today you can find as high as 1000 thread count. However, Pat Slaven, a textile expert at Consumer Reports, says that you just can’t get that many threads on a loom.

So how are manufacturers getting that higher number? Many will “cheat” by counting strands or plies that make up an individual thread. They will twist much thinner fabric together and count it as double or even triple the actual thread count. In other words, a thread count of 600 may actually only be 300 low-quality-double ply threads. Beware the higher count, this technique ups the count, but leaves the quality as something to be desired.

So what is a good thread count?

If you ask someone who is something of an expert on the subject of all things “home,” such as Martha Stewart, she will tell you that “A thread count of 200 is a good standard, but if you upgrade to 300, the difference will be noticeable.” In Consumer Reports last sheet test, their top-scoring thread count came in at 280. However...

Thread count means nothing if the fiber quality isn’t there

Although a high thread count can make a difference in the quality of your sheets, it’s the fiber quality that matters the most. Weaving 600 fibers of hay will make for a very uncomfortable night's rest. Better-quality fibers make for better quality bedding. They will feel and wash better than higher-thread-count bedding with a lower-quality fiber.

What is the best of the best?

Bamboo is converting cotton lovers all over the world. Once you have slept on bamboo bliss, you will never question the thread count of any sheets ever again. Bamboo proves the fact that fabric quality is king. Bamboo bedding with a thread count of 300 or 400 is equal to the highest and finest thread count that cotton can truly offer. This eco-friendly material will change the way you view sleeping. And here is why:

  • It’s natural-silky softness is enhanced with every use and wash
  • Naturally antimicrobial and is odor and mildew resistant
  • Naturally hypoallergenic - perfect for those with allergies or chemical sensitivities
  • Body heat regulating - perfect for those who are “hot sleepers.” Bamboo fibers expand when warm to allow your skin to breath and contract when cool to create warmth, adjusting for your perfect sleep temperature
  • The porous nature of bamboo fiber makes it incredibly breathable
  • Provides a dry, comfortable sleep due to its wicking properties. Bamboo absorbs up to 60% more water than cotton.
  • Eco-friendly - bamboo is a “green” material

Next time you are shopping for bedding keep these few thread count tips in mind. Quality not quantity is a saying for a reason. Or you can skip the thread count thought process all together and make bamboo your go-to bedding material. Your well-rested body will thank you for it.


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