If you have ever been a hotel housekeeping manager, a linen buyer, a bed sheet retailer, or any sort of consumer of bedding products – you must have come across the term “thread count” like zillion times.
This piece of writing is directed towards everyone who is interested to know the truth about bed sheet thread counts, if sheets with the same thread count are of the same quality, and how does a difference in the construction of sheets with the same thread count effects its quality?
What is a bed sheet thread count?
A thread count is the number of threads that are woven together in a square inch. This count consists of the warp (the vertical threads) and the weft (the horizontal threads) that are woven together to make the fabric.
Thread counts have been a popular way of determining the quality of fabrics used in sheeting and bedding products. However, thread counts are not necessarily the most important factor in determining the quality of a sheet.
The quality of a fabric is determined by fiber quality, yarn size, and the finishing processes it goes through. All these factors play extremely important roles in the quality of the fabric – as does the number of threads used in the warp (the vertical threads) and the weft (the horizontal threads). Some manufacturers use less threads in the weft (the horizontal threads) to speed up the production and minimize costs.
Why Should Hotels Worry About Bed Linens?
The main responsibility of a hotel’s housekeeping department is to satisfy their hotel guest by delivering them a clean, comfortable, and relaxing lodging environment both inside and outside the room. The best way to ensure guest satisfaction is by providing hotel guests with a wonderful sleeping experience when they stay at your hotel. The utilization of bed linens and sheeting that appeal to your guests’ senses while making sure that they are maintainable and cost effective should be the prime consideration of every hotel and every housekeeping manager.
Choosing the Right Thread Counts
Bed sheet thread counts can range from 80-500; however, the most common hotel sheets have a thread count between 180-300. Keeping in mind that the standard thread counts for most linen used for institutional applications is approximately 150, often this standard is not suitable for all type of hotels. Generally, the appropriate thread count level for each classification of hotels, based on industry averages, are as follows:
It is no longer acceptable for economy hotels to have sheets with a standard thread count of 150 or lower since consumers are demanding a higher quality sleep experience even at the economy level. Many hotels have upgraded their bed linens to a thread count of 180-200 in order to meet guests’ expectations.
Limited-service and Select-service hotels
Limited-service and select-service hotels should have sheets with a minimum of 200 thread count. Holiday Inn Express Hotels & Suites recently renovated their bedding with the “Simply Smart Bedding” concept which employs a triple-sheet system with a 200-thread count. Hampton Inn’s new “Cloud Nine” bed sports 200-thread count sheets to complement its new duvet cover. Many Country Inns & Suites by Carlson also utilize 200-thread count linens.
Full-service hotels should purchase sheets with a thread count between 250 and 280 because they are more comfortable for hotel guests and are generally more durable. D ZEE Textiles LLC offers crisp sheets ranging in thread count from 180 to 300.
World-class & Luxury Hotels
World-class & luxury hotels should be providing their guests with the highest quality bed linens. Their linens should be at least 250 thread count and possibly as high as 400 thread count. While these bed linens are the most expensive, guests are paying a high price to receive a quality experience at a luxury hotel. Ritz Carlton hotels, for example, use 400 thread count sheets. The Ryotei T-300 sheets from DZEE Textiles LLC is a great match for these types of accommodations.
Misleading Thread Counts
Thread counts that are over 500 are often misleading to buyers. Sheets that claim that they have a thread count over 500 generally use plied yarns. Plied yarns are made by twisting together multiple finer threads. According to the National Textile Association, although linens with high thread counts may have two- or three-ply yarns, the accepted practice is to count each thread as one even if they are plied. Therefore, a thread count of 600 could simply mean that it was 300 thread count with a double ply, which is not the same as a 600 thread count of a single ply. A higher thread count, such as over 400, isn’t always better despite what some may think. Thread counts that are higher mean the linen is softer; however, it also means that the fibers are thinner and as a result, more delicate. Linens that are more delicate often aren’t as durable and won’t endure wear and tear as long as others.
Don’t just focus on thread counts
When purchasing bed sheets for a hotel it is important to purchase linens with the proper thread count. However, softness and durability also depend on the quality of the fiber itself. Cotton or cotton-blend linens are the most common in providing satisfactory comfort as well as durability. The quality of cotton should be as important in the decision-making process as the thread count is. Quality is based on the lengths of the cotton fibers. Longer fibers equal better cotton. Egyptian cotton is claimed to be the longest-fiber and best quality cotton in the world. It is not essential for every hotel to purchase 100% Egyptian Cotton sheets; however, hotels that are striving to find the highest quality sheets should look for high thread count 100% Egyptian Cotton to provide the ultimate softness for their guests. Cotton-blend sheets and other types of sheets such as satin and silk should be evaluated differently than 100% cotton sheets, as durability and costs may be different. When it comes to durability and stain resistance it is also essential to determine how the products have been finished. Many sheets are treated to be stain resistant and wrinkle free and are able to maintain color brightness. Because of the high investment costs associated with bed linens, it is essential for housekeeping managers to consider all of these factors in addition to thread count when making final purchase decisions.
Debunking the thread count myth
A common misconception is that the higher the thread count, the finer and softer the fabric. But that is not always the case. Bed sheet sets with 600 and 800 thread counts were once considered highly desirable and more luxurious, but research in this area has shown that an optimal thread count for bed linens is really right around 300 to 400. How is this so? It all depends on how the thread count is constructed. Traditionally, thread count equaled the total number of warp and weft yarns, based on using a single ply-yarn. However, in an effort achieve higher thread counts, manufacturers have now started using double-ply yarns as well as inserting multiple yarns (picks) into the weft. In weave quality terms, the finest fabrics are made with single ply yarns and have just a single pick.
For e.g. in a 200-thread count sheet (T-200), a manufacturer might use 140 threads in the warp (the vertical threads) and 60 threads in the weft (the horizontal threads) for a total of 200 threads per square inch i.e. T-200, in order to speed up the production and minimize costs.
At D ZEE Textiles LLC, a T-200 sheet (200 thread count) is made using 110 threads in the warp (the vertical threads) and 90 threads in the weft (the horizontal threads) for a total of 200 threads per square inch i.e. T-200, in order to make sure that the fabric produced is of the highest quality possible, is softer to touch, and offers a significantly higher number of institutional laundry washes.
Why Does Bed Sheet Quality Matter?
Over the years, many hotel operators have preferred purchasing the lowest priced bed linens knowing that they will not last more than a few months. However, in recent times, hotels have realized the importance of sheeting and have begun to purchase better quality sheets with higher thread counts and better construction, as the modern-day hotel guest demands a quality sleeping experience and bed linens play a very important role in providing that. The modern-day hotel operators know that they cannot be successful by cutting on bed linen costs, using microfiber (polyester) sheets and fabric, and merely purchasing the lowest priced sheets. Therefore, it has become of great importance for hoteliers to find linens that are cost effective, durable, and deliver a high level of comfort to their hotel guests.