What is a good thread count?

I remember when I first went away to college right after graduating high school.  It was an exciting time – being out on my own was such a new experience, and I loved the newfound sense of freedom that it brought.  But with that freedom came a huge learning curve, and I’m not talking about the classes I was attending.  I’m talking about the learning curve associated with living on my own for the first time.

Now my parents were pretty good about making sure we were fairly self-sufficient by the time we left for college.  But there were plenty of things that had never before crossed my mind.  For instance, what kind of laundry detergent is best?  How firm should your mattress be?  What is a good thread count for sheets?  I soon learned all of these answers.  But the most interesting answer that I have found has been the question of what is a good thread count?

When I was a freshman in college, I was obviously looking for the best bargain I could find when it came to sheets.  After all, sheets weren’t that big a deal, right?  So off I went to Wal-Mart to find the cheapest sheets available.  I found a long twin 150-thread count 100% cotton sheet set for just $19.99!  I was excited, and quickly bought the turquoise bedding.  However, they seemed to be starchier than the sheets I had been used to using at my home growing up.  They made a lot of noise and didn’t always lay flat, especially right after they had been washed.  But that was okay!  I was just happy I hadn’t had to pay too much.

Well, when I came home for the summer, I realized that those sheets were clearly the lowest quality sheets available.  Which is okay for a college kid!  But, when I graduated, and quickly became engaged to my now husband, I decided that I was going to try out some different sheets!  I registered for the most expensive sheets I could find, expecting that no one would purchase them for us.  They were 600-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets from Bed Bath & Beyond.  To my astonishment, we did receive the sheets!  And I thought I couldn’t have found a nicer set.  They were such a cut above the sheets that I had used during college.  They felt smooth, they felt silky, they laid flat, they were wonderful.  I thought that we couldn’t have done better.

Bamboo wrinkles

Bamboo sheets. See how they don’t look starchy like cotton sheets?

However, it was just a couple of years later that I discovered bamboo sheets.  I had never heard of them before!  But they sounded exotic and reminded me of the tropics so I thought I’d try them out.  These sheets were only 300-thread count, but I still wanted to try out the bamboo rayon.  I was shocked – the bamboo sheets couldn’t have felt so different from the Egyptian cotton sheets – and in a good way.  The organic bamboo sheets were so much softer; if I hadn’t known, I would have guessed they were 1,000-thread count sheets based on my previous experience.

Since then, I have always opted for bamboo sheets instead of cotton, especially because they are more eco-friendly as well!