You spend approximately one-third of your life in bed. You need comfortable bed sheets that breathe in the summer yet keep you warm during winter. Quality sheet sets are expensive, especially if you have several beds in your home. You can lessen the expense by purchasing the longest-lasting bed sheets, especially since three sheet sets per bed are recommended, according to Scheuer Linens.
Base Material of the Fabric
The base material of the fabric has a strong impact on longevity as well as comfort. Some varieties of cotton fibers are longer, stronger and more durable than other varieties. Egyptian cotton has the longest and strongest fibers at 1 1/2 inches. American growers have produced a similar variety named Pima, derived from Egyptian cotton. Bed sheets made from 100 percent Egyptian or Pima cotton last longer than other varieties as they never pill. Additionally, 100 percent Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets are more durable than those blended with rayon or polyester.
Thread count is the number of fibers per square inch of fabric. For example, bed sheets with a thread count of 180 do not have nearly as many fibers as sheets with a thread count of 1,000. The longest-lasting sheets have a high thread count as there is more fabric per square inch. Watch out for deceptive marketing called "double ply." The manufacturer counts each weave twice instead of once. The company then markets the bed sheets as twice the thread count that it really is. For example, anyone who does needlework knows that some parts of a canvas are stitched with one-ply yarn and others use double-ply yarn. Regardless of the ply, it still counts as one stitch on the canvas.
Two methods are used to make sheets: knitted and woven. Woven sheets are the longest lasting. The standard weave is one thread over, one thread under and is the strongest within the woven group. Some manufacturers, such as those selling sateen bed sheets, may weave four threads over, one thread under. While the initial feel of sateen is as soft as the more expensive Egyptian cotton sheets, the weaker weave will not last as long as bed sheets constructed with a standard weave.
The manner in which you care for your bed linens affects how long they last. Wash them once a week on the gentle cycle using mild detergent. Line dry or remove them from the dryer while still damp, as clothes dryers pull fibers from the material.