Invest in good sheets, and fold them damp

Story by Jura Koncius
(The Washington Post)
Mon, Jan 21, 2013
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Considering you spend a third of your life between your sheets, it might be time to treat yourself to an upgrade.

Sheets, whether smooth, silky or crisp, should feel comfortable to you. Higher thread counts (the number of threads woven in each square inch of fabric) have been touted as the ultimate comfort factor. But in reality, thread count works along with the type of fiber and the weave to determine how you feel under the covers.

What’s New?

• High-tech fabrics. Sheex sheets, made of high-performance microfiber inspired by athletic apparel, wick moisture to keep you comfortable.

• More fashion. Vibrant colors and prints are making a comeback, as are hotel-quality sheets and more subtle embellishments.

Care Tips

• Wash carefully. It’s best to launder sheets in warm or cool water. But if you have allergies, consider washing them in hot water, says Carolyn Forte, director of textiles for the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

• Don’t overdry. Use a low dryer setting: Too much time in the dryer weakens fibers. It could make your sheets look like faded, stretched-out T-shirts.

• Fold damp. Remove sheets from dryer while slightly damp for fewer wrinkles and to make folding easier.

Low, Medium, High

We asked Amy Leighton, Garnet Hill’s vice president of home merchandising, to select three examples of good quality sheet sets from the New Hampshire retailer’s offerings. “Sheets are an investment at no matter what price point,” Leighton says. Prices listed are for a complete set of queen-size bedding: top sheet, fitted bottom sheet and two pillowcases.

• Fiesta Percale Bedding

A combed cotton is used to weave these soft sheets. They are 200 thread count. The fitted sheet is elasticized for a better fit. These are available in eight colors including denim blue and pumpkin. $86.

• Hemstitched Supima Percale Bedding

These are described as having a “smooth yet crisp hand.” They are trimmed with a fine hemstitched detail and are 300-thread-count Supima cotton. Choice of six colors, including shell pink and birch. $160.

• Eileen Fisher Lustrous Cotton Sateen Bedding The combed cotton designer sheets have a nice luster from the satin weave and the 400 thread count. Finishing details include double pleating. The fitted sheet has a deep pocket that fits mattresses up to 15 inches thick. Nine colors available, including river stone and pearl gray. $188.

Shop Smart

1. Decide what kind of fabric and softness level you want and how much you are willing to pay. According to Forte, thread counts between 400 and 600 are ideal for a nice quality sheet at a reasonable price. Consider cotton fabrics such as Egyptian, Sea Island, Supima or pima. Percale sheets are closely woven and are known for crispness; sateen is shinier and might be a touch softer.

2. Measure the width of your mattress before you go so you can make sure your fitted sheets will not tug.

3. Consider buying extra pillowcases or coordinating shams at the same time as sometimes styles are discontinued after a season or two. Many experts suggest having three sets of sheets for the master bedroom: one on the bed, one in the wash and one in storage.

Top selling colors of sheets:

1. White

2. Light blue

3. Light green

sheets, style
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