This post was most recently updated on June 10th, 2021
New sheets are truly a one-of-a-kind joy. The feeling that you get from sleeping on a soft and fresh new sheet set is just magical!
Unfortunately, buying sheets can also be a frustrating experience. If you go sheet shopping, you’ll find thousands of them available – no, seriously, click on the link and check it out – over 30,000 on Amazon alone!
But which ones should you avoid?
Looking out for, and avoiding the following 10 mistakes should make things much easier for you.
Focusing on higher thread counts
When it comes to the thread count of sheets, a common misconception is that a higher number is always better.
With sheets, a higher thread count is better, but only up to the 300-400 thread count range.
Thread count is a measure of how many threads a square inch of fabric contains. It’s simply impossible, using 100% cotton singly ply threads to achieve a thread count higher than somewhere in the high 300’s.
Sheets that claim a thread count of 600, or 800 use 2-ply threads. In other words, two thinner strands of yarn are spun around each other to create a strand of regular thickness.
The thread is still the same size as a regular thread, but since two threads were used, the thread count is doubled. So a 600 thread count sheet, using 2-ply threads, is really just a 300 thread count sheet set in disguise.
What makes things worse is that the thinner threads used in these sheets have less integrity, and break apart more frequently than regular threads – which is why you’ll commonly see high thread count sheets pill after just a few washes.
The worst of the high thread count sheets are those that claim a 1000 thread count, like the set in the image above. These are the sets that you commonly see at thrift stores selling for $29.99 – even though a 300 thread count sheet set sells for much more!
As with anything else though, you get what you pay for.
Avoid the high thread count foolishness. Look for a quality 300-400 thread count sheet set, with single-ply yarns.
Sheets that are too deep
Continuing with the theme of “more is better”…
People commonly purchase sheets that are too deep, because more depth is better right?
Sheets are designed to fit a specific mattress depth. The majority of sheets are designed to fit standard mattresses and will fit mattresses between 10-15″ deep.
Some mattresses, especially newer pillow-top mattresses require extra-deep fitted sheets. These sheets are capable of fitting a mattress with a depth of 18-25″.
If you put an extra deep fitted sheet on a regular mattress, it will most likely flop around, have a terribly loose fit, and slide off of the mattress every night.
Avoid this mistake! Buy the proper sheet for the corresponding depth of your mattress.
Designer brand sheets
Unfortunately, many bedding buyers think they must have the matching sheets with whichever bedding collection they purchase.
For example, let’s you purchase a Bamboo Flower duvet cover or comforter from Calvin Klein:
Then certainly you need to purchase the corresponding Rhythmic Stripe sheets right?
No, you don’t have to.
These sheets from name brand designers are often over-priced, and not the best quality. Having that name-brand cachet allows them to charge more, for less.
The Rhythmic Stripe sheets, for example, have a thread count of 220, and sell for over $100!
That’s per sheet, not a whole set. For the price of one sheet, you can purchase an entire sheet set, of much better quality.
If you like the designer sheets, then, by all means, go ahead and buy them. We’re just saying that you shouldn’t feel like you have to.
Choosing based on in-store feel
Buying something in a store purely on the fact that it feels good is a commonly made mistake.
Bedding manufacturers know that sheet softness is probably the number one selling point. This is why brand new sheets are loaded with fabric softeners.
If a sheet set can win the “feel test”, most people will end up buying it – which is a mistake. When you get home and wash these new sheets, you’ll also wash away the special fabric softeners that manufacturers use.
A new sheet set, once washed, will not feel as good as it did inside the store.
Microfiber sheets are often advertised as being super soft, and super thin – which is true, they definitely are. But microfiber fabric is the cheapest quality fabric that you can purchase. Microfiber sheets are not durable and will usually show signs of wear and tear after just a few washes.
Microfiber -which is made from polyester – also doesn’t breathe as well as natural cotton. If you are a warm sleeper, you will struggle with microfiber fabric.
You’ll often see microfiber sheets selling for under $30 for a set, especially in the bargain bins. That seems like a good deal, but when you replace it soon after, it won’t be such a bargain after all.
Avoid microfiber sheets.
Purchasing a sheet set when you don’t need one
Do you really need a sheet set? Most people don’t.
The majority of people use just a fitted sheet, and a pillowcase. If that’s you, why waste money on a flat sheet and additional pillowcases?
Yes, a sheet set does cost less than if you purchased each component separately; but if you only need a fitted sheet and a pillowcase, you’re wasting money.
Focusing on thread count instead of material
Thread count is obviously an important factor when buying sheets, but it isn’t the only one.
The type of cotton and yarns used are just as important. A lower thread count sheet that uses good quality cotton, like Egyptian cotton, Supima, etc., will feel much better than something that uses poor quality cotton – even if it has a higher thread count.
Good quality cotton is also much more durable as well.
Look for terms like 100% Egyptian cotton, Supima cotton, long-staple cotton, etc.
Sheets that don’t mention the type of cotton used
In conjunction with that, not looking to see what type of cotton is used is another big mistake.
A sheet, or a sheet set, that doesn’t mention the type of cotton used is a major red flag. It’s usually the sign of a poor quality sheet, made of poor quality materials.
People commonly think that all cotton is cotton, regardless of the type – which is simply not true. If the package just says “100% cotton” – avoid it.
Sheets with decorative embroidery look elegant. Embroidery adds a little flair to otherwise plain sheets.
But embroidery comes at a price. Namely, comfort, and durability.
Embroidery on a sheet set can annoy and irritate you, especially once the threads become unraveled. Embroidery is often the first thing to fail on a sheet. When these threads come undone, the sheet will also look sloppy, old, and unattractive.
Embroidered sheets are more expensive, less durable, and can be very uncomfortable. Stick with a solid sheet set.
Fitted sheets that don’t have elastic all around
This is another sign of a cheaply made sheet. Good quality sheets will always have elastic around the entire fitted sheet.
Fitted sheets that skimp on the elastic will not be as adept at holding on to the mattress. If you wake up to an undone fitted sheet, chances are, your sheet doesn’t have elastic all around.
These are just some of the mistakes people make when buying sheets. While there are obviously more, these are the most common that we have come across.
Avoiding these mistakes should get you well-made sheets, at a decent price.