Steph and Jimmy MacDonald, cofounders of American-made bedding company Authenticity50, say it’s actually quite the opposite. They advise to steer clear of anything over 350 for Percale (tight weave cotton sheets) and 500 for sateen.
As far as those 800 thread-count sets, the MacDonalds say they’re most likely 200 thread-count. So, basically everything we thought we knew about thread-count is a lie. Yep, this news blew our minds too.
Here’s how it works: A typical 250-thread count sheet is woven together with 125 vertical threads and 125 horizontal threads. But, in a sheet that is labeled with a higher thread-count, the manufacturer twists numerous lower-quality threads together to beef up the count. The result is a dense, scratchy sheet that will likely pill after just a few washes—and you probably paid extra for it. That’s shady business right there.
While we’re on the topic of paying extra, don’t even look twice at those Egyptian cotton sheets. The Cotton Egypt Association estimates 90 percent of sets labeled “Egyptian cotton” are fakes, meaning they were probably made somewhere like, say New Jersey, and not the fertile lands of Egypt as the label would lead you to believe.
We can’t just leave you with all this gloomy news and expect you to return to your bed full of impostor sheets without doing something about it. Luckily, MacDonalds’ Percale Authenticity50 sheets are made “seed-to-stich” in the United States. The cotton is grown in California, spun in Georgia, and woven in the Carolinas. A Southern-made sleep sounds alright by us. Is there any other excuse you need to take a nap–or hit the sack early.