A lot of people understand that a higher thread count generally means a softer set of sheets. However, the most important characteristic of soft sheets is the quality of the fabric. For example, Egyptian cotton is generally considered softer than a regular set of cotton. Despite the thread count, Egyptian cotton is higher quality cotton than regular cotton sheets. So when considering which sheets to buy, remember that sometimes the fabric quality will outweigh the thread count.
Good Thread Count
With that being said, as noted above, a higher thread count generally implies that the set of sheets will be softer. Thread count means the number of threads per square inch of fabric. So in a 300 thread count fabric, 150 threads will be drawn vertically, and 150 threads will be drawn horizontally. The more threads in a given square inch should make a smoother surface, leaving fewer bumps and resulting in a softer hand (feel).
A New Fabric
What many people may not be aware of is that a semi-new fabric has been on the market for the past few years. Bamboo is currently a popular textile material for sheet sets. Bamboo is prominently featured for its extremely soft hand and its eco-friendly nature. While a typical set of cotton sheets will highlight a high 1,000 thread count, bamboo can boast being a much softer material while only possessing 250 thread counts. So with bamboo, a good thread count can be as low as 250, and anything higher just runs up the price.
The Problem with Cotton
While cotton is the staple crop for the textile industry, it presents some major hazards for the environment. Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops in the world, requiring over 20,000 liters of water to grow 1 kilogram of cotton – enough for about 1 t-shirt. Cotton also uses an extraordinary amount of chemicals in the form of pesticides and herbicides.
Organic bamboo sheets, on the other hand, only benefit the environment. It is true, that some chemicals are used in the textile production process; these chemicals can be neutralized and made harmless. Bamboo benefits the environment in so many ways. Bamboo processes greenhouse gases extremely efficiently, producing 35% more oxygen than any tree can. Bamboo is also the fastest growing plant in the world, and some species can grow near three feet in a single day. Bamboo is remarkably sustainable and renewable, and doesn’t damage the environment.
Which Thread Count is Right for You?
Some people say that bamboo can make the softest sheets in the world. They are a lot softer than cotton, so that statement may not be far off. And since bamboo can benefit the environment and cotton does the exact opposite, which would you choose?