Bed Sheets and Pillow Cases
Bed sheets and pillow cases are the essential components of bedding; they protect the mattress and pillows from dirt, dust and natural oils (found on the skin and hair). The term bed sheets encompass the fitted sheet (which directly covers the mattress) and the flat or top sheet (which covers the sleeper) and often this term includes the pillow cases.
When purchasing bed sheets, there are several factors to consider:
The thread count is the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch of fabric. Higher thread counts represent a softer, more comfortable feeling sheet. An ideal thread count is 200 or higher. However, it should be noted that very high thread counts can reduce the durability of the sheet; each thread is thinner, providing greater possibility for deterioration or breakage.
When it comes to the fabric of the sheets 100% cotton is the most popular and for good reason. Cotton is the softest and most breathable fabric it provides the best comfort and durability. Egyptian cotton is the highest quality of cotton available; it provides a luxurious feel. Similar to cotton are the cotton/polyester blends which provide "anti-wrinkle" benefits, but lack the softness of 100% cotton sheets. Other popular fabrics include linen, satin, silk, jersey-knit and flannel. Jersey-knit is a style of cotton weave that is commonly associated with t-shirts. Flannel is a fuzzy textured cotton, wool or synthetic blend.
Bed sheets are available in the same sizes as mattresses: twin, twin extra long, double, queen, king and California king. The depth of the mattress will also dictate the type of bed sheets; thicker mattresses require deep pocket sheets to ensure a proper fit.
Finally it is recommended to have at least 2 sets of bed sheets per bed. Many homeowners also like to have a pair of sheets for each season; with warmer fabrics (jersey-knit, flannel) for winter and cooler fabrics (cotton, linen) for summer.