Bed sheets can sometimes be taken a little for granted – they are there, they do their job and you give them a wash. But the difference between good bed sheets and the best bed sheets isn’t so much how they look as what they are made from. So here we are looking at the different options available to let you decide which might be the best for you.
|Egyptian Cotton||Pima Cotton||Cotton Blend|
|Pinzon Pleated Hem 400-Thread-Count 100% Egyptian Cotton Queen Sheet Set, Sterling||Pinzon 500 Thread Count Super Soft Pima Cotton Queen Sheet Set, White||Olive Kids Wild Animals Cotton Printed Sheet Set, Twin|
Sheets come in two styles: flat or fitted. A flat sheet is just a rectangular piece of material that is wrapped around the mattress and tucked under it to keep it in place. A fitted sheet is edged with elastic so that it moulds around the mattress or occasionally uses a drawstring in the place of elastic. Like many things about sheets, there is no good or bad, simply personal preference between the two.
Materials commonly used for sheets include cotton, satin, silk, bamboo fibre, rayon and blended materials. There are newer developments such as non-woven polypropylene that are disposable after use but these tend to be used in hospitals and hotels rather than homes.
One of the largest groups of sheets available are cotton ones but not all cotton was created equally. Thread count is the measure often used to differentiate one from another and refers to the number of threads in each one-inch square of fabric. However, it isn’t also a reliable indicator as the type of cotton can be more relevant.
The top of the line cotton is 100% Egyptian cotton while in second is 100% pima cotton, also known as Supima. If a label simply says 100% cotton, then it will be a rougher variety that is often American upland cotton and is less expensive. Egyptian cotton is so highly rated because the sheets are long and thin but very comfortable and have great longevity. Less expensive cottons can have shorter strands that are more prone to poking out and this eventually weakens the material.
This set is made from 100% Egyptian cotton and includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two standard sized pillowcases. It is 400-thread count cotton and can be machine-washed. It is also a stylish set available in different colours that features a 6-inch pleated hem on the flat sheet and pillowcases and co-ordinating duvets are also available.
This Pima cotton set features 500-thread count as well as 100% pima cotton and had a fitted sheet, flat sheet and two pillowcases included. It comes in a variety of colours and sizes and has a lustrous shine similar to silk while still being machine washable.
Percale or Sateen?
Another option often mentioned on sheet is the percale or sateen option but what do these terms actually refer to? They are referring to the finish of the sheets and while neither is any better than the other, the choice of how you like a sheet to feel can help you pick.
Percale is a plain weave with a matte finish and feels cool and crisp. It is recommended for people who get too warm when in bed.
Sateen is a little heavier and very soft to the touch, almost a satiny, lustrous finish. But it can be warmer than percale and if you turn over a lot at night, you may not find it as easy to do so with these sheets.
When you are shopping for bedding for the kids, however, the most expensive cotton bed sheets may seem a little inappropriate and also a little dull and plain for their tastes. Therefore, sheets that are made for kids often use cotton blends that give the hard-wearing benefits of cotton with the durability of polyester or other materials.
Most of the cotton and polyester blends that are available are 60% cotton and 40% polyester to give a sheet that is easy to clean, durable and maintains its appearance. Plus there are some brilliant ranges featuring all the favourite kids’ characters as well as ones suitable for the younger children too.
This set comprises a flat sheet, fitted sheet and single pillowcase in a brilliant graphic print featuring wild animals on a pale blue background. The threat count is 180 and it is 60% cotton and 40% polyester so it can be machine washed on a delicate cycle.
While cotton is by far and away the most commonly found material for the best bed sheets, there are other options available if you want to try something different or you find cotton doesn’t suit you.
– Silk is the most luxurious option for bed sheets but can be very expensive and difficult to wash
– Bamboo is a newer idea in the world of fabrics and is similar in feel to cotton but is more breathable so you can avoid getting too hot in bed. It also has natural anti-microbial properties
– Modal is a fibre made from beech tree pulp and is very durable as well as resistant to pilling and actually gets softer the more it is used
– Microfiber is a polyester fibre that is very soft but can give the feeling of being slippery and warm, so not the best if you suffer from being too warm at night. It can also be a collector of lint and hairs
– Cotton jersey is the stuff T-shirts are made from and is soft and stretch but can easily be torn or punctured
– Flannel is a cotton material that is perfect for the winter when it helps conduct body heat and keep people warm.