CHEAT SHEET - YOUR FIVE STEP GUIDE TO BUYING COTTON SHEETS
If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by the variety of choice for plain cotton sheets, you’re not alone. They’re confusing, and there are incentives to keep them that way. By confusing buyers with lots of variety and no clear explanation why, retailers can offer more products at varying price points. But we’re here to break down what’s important and what isn’t, so that next time you go sheet shopping, you’ll be much better prepared.
1. Normal, organic or GOTS certified cotton
Our highest priority when buying cotton sheets should be how the cotton is farmed. So let’s break down the three main methods. Conventional cotton uses vast amounts of water and toxic chemicals like fertilisers and pesticides. Organic cotton, on the other hand, doesn’t use any synthetic pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, and uses much less water. And organic cotton that’s been GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified is even better. GOTS certification requires rigorous third-party auditing to ensure no hazardous chemicals are used throughout the production process and all workers are treated fairly. Loop Home is GOTS certified (CU1133274) so we can guarantee our pieces are made with the people and planet in mind.
2. Fibre length
Different species of cotton plants produce fibres (or staples) of different lengths that impact the feel and strength of cotton fabric. Lengths include short staple, long staple, and extra-long staple. But which one’s better? When it’s spun, shorter staples produce yarn with more loose ends, resulting in a weaker material that’s more likely to pill. The longer the staple, the softer and stronger the cotton is.
At Loop Home, we use organically grown long staple combed cotton. Certified organic to ensure the farmers have been ethically treated, there has been no use of hazardous chemicals and fresh water use is kept to a minimum. Long staple due to the high price tag that comes with the extremely rare organic extra-long staple cotton. And combed cotton to remove shorter fibres and impurities before they’re spun into yarn and ensure a high-quality product.
3. Single vs multi ply
To make an individual strand of yarn, one or more cotton fibres need to be twisted. Depending on the number of fibres used you can choose from single-ply, two-ply or three-ply. The more fibres used, the thicker, coarser and heavier the yarn will be. To ensure your sheets are soft, light and durable, we use single-ply yarn.
4. Thread count
Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch or 10 square centimetres. It’s often thought that the higher the thread count the softer the sheet but, in fact, thread count isn’t that important. Fibre length and ply count have much more of an impact on the strength and softness of your sheets. If you do want to consider thread count, just make sure to check what unit of measurement is being used. At Loop Home, we offer sheets with a 310 thread count per square inch, or 1210 thread count per 10 square centimetres.
Don't believe us? You can follow this thread to a recent story by The Age/ Sydney Morning Herald that puts a spotlight on some questionable retailing behaviour within the industry.
5. Sateen vs percale
Next, let’s consider the two most common techniques used to weave yarn into fabric: percale and sateen. Percale involves weaving the yarn under and over each other one strand at a time. It has a matte finish that’s crisp, cool and breathable. Sateen involves weaving over four threads and under one. It exposes longer thread surfaces which results in a silky feel and light sheen. While the best type of weave depends on personal preferences, we’ve chosen sateen due to its silky, luxurious texture. But stay tuned for future product news as we’re looking to introduce percale into our range as we expand.