A Commonly Misunderstood Measure of Quality
There is a lot of misunderstanding out there about what thread count means. People use it as a shorthand for quality, so many manufacturers of poor-quality bedding will falsely market their products as having a high thread count to imply a level of quality that is not actually present.
They often do this by using a multi-ply weave in their fabric, with multiple layers of threads on top of one another to artificially inflate the thread count. Sadly, this results in an inferior material that breaks down more quickly. Thin, frail thread can also be squeezed together more tightly to get an artificially high thread count.
In contrast, a truly high-quality, high thread count sheet will have strong, supple thread woven together tightly in a single-ply weave. Egyptian cotton is well-known for its high thread counts.
Why Thread Count Matters
Thread count is essentially a measure of the denseness of a sheet (or pillowcase, etc.). On a high-quality sheet, a high thread count means that there is more material in a given amount of space. It is heavier. The benefits of a high thread count sheet are:
- Greater durability and resistance to fraying.
- A clean and luscious appearance.
- Responds better to washing and ironing.
- A sumptuous feel against the body.