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How to shop for bed linens

Shopping for bed sheets means knowing a little bit about thread count and content

Do you hang onto your sheets until they have worn so thin, you can see the mattress or protector pad underneath? If so, the next step will be to feel that little rip in the night that means the weakened threads have finally parted ways.

It's time to shop for new sheets.

There are sheets of every type on the market today - and in every price range. You simply have to decide what you can afford. For softness, the higher the thread count the better. However, to make any sheet last longer, experts say you should own three sets: one on the bed, one ready to be washed, and one that is folded and clean. With that said, you should budget for this quantity, whether you are supplementing existing linens or starting from scratch.

Thread count varies.

Thread count means the number of threads per square inch of sheet. The lower the count, the rougher the sheet. The higher the count, the costlier the sheet. You'll find sheets that are smooth as silk or nearly as rough as burlap (not quite) and many in between.

The type of sheet is also important.

Percale and muslin are the most popular types of sheet. Percale sheets may be comprised of 100 percent cotton or can be a polyester cotton blend. Thread counts usually begin at 180 and can surpass 1,000.

Muslin is not as smooth as percale, which is an indicator that thread count is not as high. The fibers are uncombed cotton and polyester blends.

One thing to beware of is sheets that claim to be bamboo. Most of these claims are not factual as the fabric is actually rayon fibers "produced from bamboo." The actual process utilizes chemicals, which eliminates all-natural properties. On the other hand, rayon is naturally resistant to mildew and allergens as is bamboo.

Some important tips to keep in mind:
-Some sheets are labeled wrinkle-free or wrinkle-resistant. These may feel a little stiffer in the high-thread-count range because of chemical additives.
-To decrease wrinkling, remove the sheets from the dryer before it stops. Once a sheet sits for even a few minutes, wrinkles will appear.
-Polyester-blend sheets are less prone to wrinkling.
-Before you shop, measure the depth of your mattress. If it's deeper than 8 inches, look for sheets that have extra-deep pockets.

If you're patient, you'll find plenty of sales, especially in January. You do not have to spend big bucks to get the sheets of your dreams.




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