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In sheets whether it is sheet sets or individual sheets, a common phrase found on the package is thread count. Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. The lower end thread counts have less than 250 threads and the higher end are more than 250 threads per square inch. The more thread in the square inch the higher the number like 500, 600 and 800 thread count sheets. This is a measure on how soft the sheet will be. Use of long fibers are what make the high thread count have a soft, silken feel.
Another aspect of thread count is the yarn ply. This is not often easy to pinpoint on the packaging but can often be found by reviewing the label and looking for the description of the ply. If the label or description states the sheets are single ply sheets with more than 250 thread count, the sheet will be soft and smooth to the touch. With single ply yarn, the higher thread count will also give the sheet a longer life.
When looking at the label stating 2-ply or 4-ply, this indicates that the sheet threads were short and the manufacturer used a manufacturing method called twisting. Twisting uses shorter fiber and twists the fibers together to lengthen the thread which compromises the base weave of the sheet and could also create small fabric balls on top of the sheet after one or two uses. The 2 or 4-ply sheets also have a rougher feel and the sheet will wear out more quickly. The 2 or 4-ply sheets will still say 400 or 500 thread count but it only means there are more short threads woven into the square inch by using the method of twisting making the sheet feel rough and causing the longevity of the sheet to be much shorter.
When it comes to thread count sheets the best, longest lasting thread count sheets will be single ply cotton with a thread count above 250. Single ply 300 thread count sheets will feel more like silk than cotton and will enrich your sleep experience taking you to a new level of comfort.