There are many fabric options available when it comes to sheets, with cotton being the most popular. Different materials appeal to different tastes and can provide varying levels of comfort, depending on the temperature. Microfiber and satin sheets are two other sheet fabrics, though they share few similarities.
Made from thousands of miniscule polyester fibers, microfiber sheets have the softness of 600 thread count cotton sheets with the added benefit of a gently fuzzy finish that adds an extra layer of warmth. They are good for allergy sufferers as the microfibers deter dust and pollen. Microfiber sheets are extremely lightweight, so they dry faster than other materials and you can wash more per laundry load. Health care facilities frequently use microfiber sheets as the softness reduces bedsores and provides a better quality sleeping experience.
Satin and Sateen Sheets
True satin sheets are more expensive than most other sheets, though synthetic satin sheets are more widely available and affordable. Both have shiny finishes, exceptional softness and the material does not stick to warm or moist skin, which prevents getting tangled in the sheets during sleeping. Satin sheets keep the body cool in the summer and warm in the winter, making them a good sheet for all seasons. Sateen sheets are woven with cotton, so they have a more textured surface but still have a glossy, luxurious visual appeal.
Cotton Sheet Options
There are more options in cotton sheets than in other categories. You can choose from standard cotton sheets, damask sheets, organic cotton sheets or Egyptian cotton sheets, all of which have softness levels dictated by their thread count. The higher the thread count, the tighter the weave of the sheet fabric and the softer the material. Economically priced cotton sheets generally have thread counts less than 200, while high-end cotton sheets frequently have thread counts exceeding 1,000. Cotton flannel sheets are thick, soft, slightly fuzzy and provide extra warmth.
Sheet Fabric Considerations
Cotton sheets with thread counts above 1,000 are the softest cotton types but also have finer threads, which make them deteriorate more quickly. The thinness of microfiber sheets also makes them less durable than other sheet options. For sturdy, affordable sheets that resist wrinkles and hold up well to washing, drying and regular use, choose cotton-polyester blends or percale, a special basket-like weave with a 200 thread count that can be pure cotton or a blend of materials.