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Uncovering the Truth about Thread Count
What to Consider When Buying Bedding
Release Date: Monday, January 22, 2007
New York, NY - Thread count has become an increasingly important factor to consumers planning on purchasing bedding. In fact, consumers are now relating thread count to quality of bedding, elevating the term to a status symbol of sorts. According to Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor survey, when asked what traits they associate with a higher thread count, consumers are more likely today than in 2002 to pick "better quality" (95%), "softness" (86%) and "more likely to be made of cotton" (78%). Ironically, thread count is often misunderstood by the majority of these same consumers. Cotton Incorporated offers the following explanations to uncover the truth about thread count, and recommends additional factors that should be addressed when choosing quality bedding.
Thread Count Defined
Thread count is defined as the number of threads, warp (lengthwise) and weft (widthwise), woven in a one-inch square of fabric. Many consumers take thread count at face value without understanding that it is affected by a number of factors, including the ply and the thickness of the threads used. Ply refers to how many threads are wrapped together into a single thread. Single-ply fabrics use threads on their own, while two-ply fabrics are formed by two pieces of thread twisted together.
Here is where the definition becomes confusing. Should a two-ply fabricís threads be counted as one, single thread; or as two, individual threads? Or, more practically speaking, are those 600 thread count sheets truly 600 single-ply threads-per-inch, or are they 300 double-ply threads-per-inch? Other Factors to Consider
While it has become common to select sheets based exclusively on thread count, it is important to take other considerations into account. According to Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor, the top three factors shoppers consider in buying sheets, besides size and fit, have not changed over the past four years-softness, durability and price remain the most important.
"Using a finer thread allows more thread to fit in a square inch measure, creating a softer and smoother fabric," states Denell Pepin, Product Trend Analyst, Cotton Incorporated. "Finer threads also create a more delicate sheet. When concerned with durability, sheets made of a two-ply fabric are stronger and usually heavier."
Pepin elaborates, "The thing that I would stress is that thread count should not be the only factor for buying a set of sheets. It is important to not fixate on the number but to actually explore the overall quality of the product." For example, how the cotton is treated can be a much more decisive factor in comfort and feel than the thread count of a fabric, as can the final finishing of the fabric."<
The Look and The Feel
Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor research indicates that consumers prefer 100% cotton sheets. When given a choice between a 100% cotton sheet and a cotton-polyester, both the same wear life, 76% of consumers said they would buy the 100% cotton sheet, because it was softer and breathed better. Cotton bed sheets also provide year-round comfort. The fiber provides cool comfort in the summer and holds a layer of warm air in the cold weather. Consumers can be sure they are purchasing 100% sheets by looking for products that feature the Seal of Cotton trademark.
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton.ÝThe Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.
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