A quality item is one that meets or surpasses the consumer's needs. A consumer may decide that a quality sheet is the softest one or perhaps it is the one with the highest thread count. Determining what a quality sheet is to you is as straightforward as making a list of the attributes your sheets must have and selecting the fabric that best meets these qualifications. Bamboo and cotton sheets each have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and knowing them is useful when making the quality selection.
The number of threads per square inch of woven fabric is the thread count. The threads are one or two (or more) ply of fibres twisted together. Longer fibres produce softer ply, which produce the softest threads. High thread count tells nothing about the sheets except how many threads there are per square inch. The fibres themselves are more important than the thread count.
Advantages of Bamboo
Bamboo is a renewable resource; it can grow 4 or 5 feet per day. Bamboo has a natural antimicrobial quality; no pesticides are needed while it grows. This microbial quality carries over to bamboo fabric; studies performed by the China Industrial Testing Center (CTITC) and the Japan Textile Inspection Association (JTIA) have shown that these sheets kill bacteria and destroy odours. Bamboo wicks moisture away from a perspiring body while retaining warming properties. The fibres produce a nonshrinking, non-pilling silky thread that can be woven into a 1000-thread count fabric.
Disadvantages of Bamboo
The majority of the bamboo used in sheet fabric production is grown in Southeast Asia. The transportation costs of sending the fibres to mills in other countries have negatively affected the price of the products. Because of the astounding advantages of bamboo, it has become a highly sought-after sheet fabric, which has also increased the price.
Advantages of Cotton
American-grown Pima cotton is one of the finest cottons in the world; producing long fibres that in turn produce silky threads and delicate bed linens. Cotton is absorbent, it retains some warmth when damp and it can be laundered at high temperatures for bacterial control. Cotton feels cool to the skin in warm temperatures and warm in cool temperatures.
Disadvantages of Cotton
Cotton will shrink. High laundering heat may set any wrinkles in the fabric. Cotton is not a highly durable fibre, and man-made fibres are often blended with it to increase its resistance to wrinkles and decrease its shrink-ability. Cotton is highly susceptible to sun-fading; the fibres deteriorate with prolonged exposure to the sun, either direct or indirect.
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