The optimal thread count for natural cotton
Contrary to the common misconception of thread counts, the optimal thread count for pure natural cotton is 300 to 400 Per inch, which translates to 375 to 440 Per 10 cm, with the former measurement more common in the US while the latter in the EU.
Thread count and the quality it represents
In recent years, due to the popular belief that a higher thread count equates to higher quality in fabrics, there is a surge of marketing strategies which only showed thread counts using the metric system (TC per 10cm square), even in the USA where the use of inches was preferred. This resulted in misleading information for many unknowing consumers.
Other ways to artificially increase thread count
Moreover, usage of 2ply or even 3ply fabric soared as they could easily jack up the thread counts while keeping costs low. Keep in mind that these 2 to 3 ply fabrics does not mean higher quality fabric and no, they don’t work like tissue.
To form these 2 ply fabrics, two threads are twisted together to form a single thread, which is then woven into a fabric. If this results in a 300 TC fabric, it will then be marketed as 600 TC for 2 ply and 900TC for 3ply. Can you imagine how dense and stiff these fabrics will be?
Is 800TC even possible for cotton?
To achieve an even higher thread count, the threads used will have to be thinner and it would be almost impossible to achieve without the fabric being as thin as tissue paper, which will leave the fabric being fragile.
How to choose your bed linen/sheet
In conclusion, the best way to determine if a certain brand of bed linen or sheet is suitable for you is to trust your own judgement in feeling for the fabric. Ultimately, you want something that is comfortable, suitable and to your liking. The most basic and traditional tests, such as feeling the texture of the fabric and, blowing directly into the cloth to test for its breathability, would still be your best choice till this day because that is exactly what you want from your sheets.
Specifically for cotton, you’d want to look for something from 300 TC to 400 TC per inch, which translates to 375 to 440 Per 10 cm. It carries the best balance between density and thickness. Anything too high is more often than not, a marketing gimmick, and anything lower will not be as comfortable.
Always remember that the fabric you choose will ultimately come into contact with your own skin, so naturally, the best way to find the optimal bed linen/sheet is to feel the fabric and breathe into It yourself.