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Is Bedding Thread Count Really Important?

Until the past several decades when bedding became more than a cover for warmth and a separator between the mattress and the person, thread count was not mentioned selecting bedding.  We bought what was available at department stores and mostly in white.

Today thread count is one of the key components in pricing of bedding and bed linens.  Thread count is also a major consideration when looking for sleepy time comfort for a portion of consumers as they look for the perfect bedding.  It has been reported that in 2001, 29% of consumers considered thread count as the most influential factor.  By 2005 the number rose to 34%.

How Does Thread Count Affect the Quality of Bedding?

What is thread count?  It is best described as the number of vertical and horizontal threads in a one inch square of bedding.  Look at your bed linens.  Determine a one inch square.  Count the total number of threads within the square.  For example, a 100-count sheet could have 50 threads running vertically and 50 running horizontally.

Generally speaking, most consumers a high thread count desirable.  Many high thread count bed linens are created of single ply thread.  Single ply is one thread.  Double ply thread, for example, would be two strands of thread woven or twisted together to make a single strand of thread.  It is easy to see that it would be easier to place more single ply threads in a square inch than a double or triple ply thread.

The double ply, triple ply or in general the greater the ply, the greater the thread ply the thicker the sheet and the heavier the weight of the bedding.  With the single ply thread and often a higher thread count many believe the sheets to be softer due to the closely woven fabric and the light weight.

Now that “ply” has been introduced into the equation for thread count there are other factors to consider.  Let’s assume that you are looking for a 400 thread count bedding.  There are many ways a bedding set could be labeled as 400 count.  The first possibility would be a single ply thread… 200 vertical and 200 horizontal within a square inch.

However, one must consider the two-ply thread.  A 400 thread count using a two-ply thread would enable us to count 100 strands of thread vertically and 100 strands runing horizontally.  Remember, each visible strand is actually made up of two threads twisted or wound together to make one heavier thread.

It is easier to see how we can be misled when bedding is listed as a 100 count, 200 count, and up.  Generally speaking, a finer single ply thread with a higher thread count will allow for closer weaving and generally more comfort.

A wise bedding consumer is not fooled by a high thread count.  The importance is to take into consideration the thread ply along with the thread count before purchasing the higher priced bedding that only advertises the thread count.