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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!

Buying Bedding

submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appears in the February 5, 2006 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Have you been shopping for bed linens lately? White sales are common this time of year. Now is a good time to replace bed sheets, blanket, etc. How to choose sheets can often be puzzling. Do you look at brand names, fabrics, thread count, construction or care? All are important.

There have been changes in the bedding business. Some of the common names are no longer available and many new types are now on the market. When selecting sheets Consumer Reports suggests taking the following into consideration.

Fiber -- Cotton sheets still are the best choice that combine easy care, comfort and durability.

Cotton-polyester blend are best if you don’t want to iron. The 100 percent cotton will be the softest and most breathable because they are a natural fiber.

Fit and Construction -- Many mattresses today are thicker and it is best to choose bigger sheets. For an 18-inch thick mattress select a sheet that fits 20-inches. Select fitted sheets having elastic all around the edges, if available. Elastic just on the sides would be a second choice. Stitching on the hems should be fairly small, tight and tidy.

When purchasing sheets, keep your receipt and check their condition before laundering. If they fade or do not hold up after laundering return for a possible replacement or refund.

Thread Count -- A thread count between 200 and 400 is fine. Higher counts will be softer. Counts over 400, the main difference will be price.

Weave -- Choose a standard weave, where one stitch is over and one stitch is under.

Sizing -- General dimension for sheets are:

  • Twin: 39 x 76 inches
  • X-Long Twin: 39 x 80 inches
  • Full: 54 x 75 inches
  • Queen: 60 x 80 inches
  • King: 78 x 80 inches
  • California King: 72 x 84 inches

General mattress depth dimensions are:

  • Standard: 7 to 9 inches
  • Deep: 10 to 15 inches
  • Extra Deep: 15 to as deep as 22 inches

A problem many consumers find with sheets are piling, when sheets get the little balls of worn fabric. This is most often found to be a problem with cotton/polyester sheets with a low thread count.

For best results select sheets that meet your criteria and have a thread count between 200 and 400.

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