A bed with white sheets

Sheet Smarts: How To Choose New Sheets & Keep Them Fresh

Cotton or polyester? Fitted or flat? How To Choose The Right Bed Sheets For You

With so many styles, colors and sizes available, buying bed sheets and pillowcases can be confusing. Choosing your bed linens wisely and properly caring for them will help you stretch your budget and get a good night’s sleep.

What is Sheet Thread Count?

Thread count, which is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric, is an important factor when determining which sheets to buy. Larisha Anderson, a customer representative for Anna’s Linens, said the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet. “A count of 200 is good, but 400 or more is better,” she said.

Sheet Material & Sheet Stitching Matter

Joanne Walgren, owner of the Linen Boutique in Dallas, said thread count is one standard, but she is also concerned about the quality of material that’s used. She said that sheets made from 100 percent Egyptian cotton are best for comfort and durability, but cotton-polyester blended sheets are more wrinkle-resistant. Walgren explained the cotton fabric used in making sheets is usually woven in one of two ways.

Percale is a plain weave in which one warp thread is laid over one weft thread, giving the sheet a matte look. A sateen weave has three or four warp threads over a single weft thread, which adds a lustrous sheen. The result is that percale sheets feel cooler and crisper to the touch, and are more comfortable for warm weather sleeping. Sateen sheets have a silkier feel and retain more heat, making them a good choice for winter. Walgren said both types of weave are durable and choosing one over the other is a matter of personal preference.

How To Clean Bed Sheets To Extend Their Usefulness

Properly caring for bed linens also extends their usefulness. Better Homes and Gardens recommends washing sheets weekly with a mild detergent in lukewarm or cool water and not adding bleach, which can damage cotton fabric. Anderson said softeners are unnecessary because cotton releases oil and sheets will smell fresh and soften naturally with repeated laundering.

Drying Sheets Too Can Cause Brittleness

Walgren cautioned against drying sheets too long, which can cause them to wrinkle or become brittle. “The best thing is not to dry them on too hot of a setting,” she said, “and take them out when they are barely dry.” Sheets and other bed linens should be stored in a cool, dry closet or in a drawer, but never in plastic containers because moisture can become trapped, causing sheets to mildew.

Selecting the right sheets and keeping them clean and fresh are important for creating a comfortable sleep environment. But, don’t forget that even with nice and crisp sheets, if your mattress is old and worn, it will be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. A good rule of thumb to follow is to replace your mattress every eight years.

About The Author

Craig McAndrews Craig McAndrews is the chief strategy officer for Mattress Firm, spearheading product development and merchandising strategy, both in-store and online. As a regular contributor to The Daily Doze, he shares insights on to how make the mattress buying process a little easier, and what is really important when it comes to selecting your sleep system. Craig’s career in the bedding industry initially began with Sealy’s Stearns & Foster, where he regularly worked with Mattress Firm, giving him the opportunity to witness the company’s special culture first hand. He soon joined the Mattress Firm team as a franchise owner, and played a part in the company’s expansion into Arizona. Since then, Craig has served in a variety of roles for Mattress Firm; and his passion for helping customers “Sleep Happy” and commitment to sharing his extensive industry knowledge with his teammates have garnered the respect and admiration of coworkers and peers alike. Now as chief strategy officer, Craig constantly evaluates all elements of the in-store and online customer experience, while serving as an in-house expert to keep the company focused on its growth strategy. As a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, Craig knows that great leaders need to be great coaches, which is why one of his passion projects is an internal leadership series called “Coaches Corner.” In 2015, Craig received Mattress Firm’s highest employee honor, the Spirit of Life Award, for embodying the spirit of Mattress Firm in his day-to-day life – whether he’s finding a way to deliver a more dynamic guest experience or working alongside the next generation of leaders in the company, he is committed to helping improve lives one relationship at a time. Craig graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He lives in Houston with his wife April and their two sons Ben and Nate. Best Night’s Sleep: With Mattress Firm locations coast to coast, travel is a regular part of Craig’s responsibilities; however, his best nights’ sleep happen at home when he is with his family – and, of course, following a Cowboys win.

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