what you really need to know when it comes to buying sheets
We wanted to take a second to address a concern... or maybe it's just a question that needs answering! We hear this a lot, "Why such a low thread count?", and, "Why are your sheets better at 140 thread count than my 700 thread count sheets from the department store? Please explain". Well... here we go.
Thread count does not indicate quality. Instead, thread count is defined as "the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch". However, using thread count to indicate quality has been stuck in the American psyche.
The Great Marketing Strategy:
The idea of using thread count to determine quality was initiated in the mid-1990s. By the early 2000s, the myth about thread count had reached a new level of absurdity with companies posting 1000 plus thread counts. Today, we see this marketing tactic extended into grocery stores. Labels using the words "organic" or "non-GMO" are slapped on products to indicate something is "healthy" or "healthier". We've seen this used on orange juice... folks... there IS NO GMO orange. That's not even a thing. It's just a marketing ploy to make you THINK you are buying "better". AND IT WORKS. Similarly, we look to thread count to indicate quality but that is just as misleading as a non-GMO orange.
For the most part, anything above 250 threads per square inch has been manipulated and the manufacturers are counting plied yarns to make up the entirety of the thread count. A plied yarn is a yarn that has multiple strands of yarn twisted together to create a stronger, longer yarn. Often cheaper, weaker cotton is used and requires the extra strands of yarn for strength.
So, What Should You Look For When Buying The Perfect Bedding? Here are our top 4 things to look for:
You want long-staple cotton. Period. A long time ago, the sources for "long-staple" cotton came from Egypt or you had to look for brand names like Supima or Pima. Now, the upland cotton varieties we grow have just as good staple as these "luxury" brands. We wait for the classing to come back on our cotton after it's ginned and we ONLY pick our longest and strongest staple cotton. We wrote a blog post that details how our cotton ranks on the USDA scale for grading cotton. You can see thathere.
This is really where it's at folks. The weave affects the way your sheets feel, the way they look, how long they will last and how much they will cost. There are MANY different types for the most common are percale and sateen. At Red Land Cotton, we use apercale, over-under basket weave. As a general rule, this weave results in a more crisp and cool sheet. Sateen, on the other hand, is more slick and "soft" but is also warmer. So this is where we part ways... if you like silky smooth sheets... Red Land Cotton isn't for you. We'd love for you to give us a try so we can change your mind but we feel it's best, to be honest. :)
Not all products are MADE the same. A product made in the USA, or Europe is going to better quality that a product made in Pakistan, for example.
The Final Finish:
No one likes to talk about this part. It's complicated and no one likes to think about chemicals being put on the sheets they lay their bodies on. And I'm not talking about herbicides and pesticides used during the cotton growing process. After a sheet is woven, it has to go to a finisher to have the sizing removed and to receive a softener and treatment so it can withstand your home laundering. We are VERY careful about the products used when finishing our bedding. But like we said earlier... where a product is MADE matters in this regard. Just because bedding is listed as organic, doesn't mean it hasn't had chemicals piled on it during thefinishing process.
I hope we've cleared up some questions! It's hard to be a knowledgable consumer when there is a lot of misinformation and marketing out there. As always, we're happy to answer any and all questions about our cotton, our process, and our products!