At the end of a long day, it's blissful to slip into a warm, soft bed and drift off to sleep. It's not blissful when the sheets are rough and develop tiny bunches of fabric called pills.The pills scratch your skin and make it difficult to get comfortable. The best way to prevent pilling is to choose pill-resistant sheets and to gently launder and care for them.

Long-thread cotton

High-thread count sheets frequently are advertised as the most comfortable and highest quality sheets available. It's actually the thread type that matters more than the thread count, though. Avoid buying polyester or cotton-polyester blend sheets, because the polyester fabrics are less soft and more prone to pilling, as are sateen, flannel and jersey. Furthermore, look for sheets that are made of long-fiber or long-staple threads, because they maintain their softness and resist pilling. Long-fiber sheets are typically known as Egyptian long-staple, pima, and Supima.


The weave not only indicates the softness factor, but it also indicates how likely the material is to pill. The weave is made by the horizontal and vertical weaving of threads. Sheets woven with an equal number of vertical and horizontal threads are known as percale. However, sheets with more vertical than horizontal woven yarns, such as sateen, are more likely to pill.


Once you have purchased the right sheets, remember to maintain the integrity of the yarns by gently laundering them. Wash sheets in cool water and dry them on a low-heat setting. One of the primary factors that contribute to pilling is heat. Washing sheets in hot water or drying them on a high setting compromises the fibers and promotes pilling. In addition, don't wash your sheets with other laundry because towels, blankets and other clothing scratch against the sheets and transfer their lint to your linens.