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What is thread count? And why do I need to know?

Wat is thread count? En wat merk ik daarvan?

There are many factors that affect the quality of your bedding, but the biggest subject is the thread count or thread density of the bed linen. Countless advertisements are talking about a magic number, which is often prominently mentioned on the packaging, but with the bare eye it is difficult to see this. How important is the thread count actually? And does a higher number correlate with better bedding? Not always.

What is thread count?

Thread count is for bedding which is 'carat' for diamonds. Carats is an important factor for the quality of diamonds, but a high value carat does not mean that the diamond in itself looks perfect. The sharpening, the colours and the brightness of the diamond must also be taken into account.

When we talk about bedding, there are four factors important for the quality: length of the cotton fiber, the number of layers, the number of threads and the weave. The number of threads is often seen as the most important factor, but there are many misconceptions. Technically speaking, thread count means the number of wires woven per square inch. You count both vertical (warp) and horizontal (impact) wires. So 100 vertical wires woven with 100 horizontal wires provides a thread count of 200, because 100 + 100 = 200

The higher the better?

You might think: the higher the thread count, the better the quality. Because, many wires per square inch require finer threads. The finer the wires that are used, the softer, smoother and firmer the woven fabric should be. But, in our market this often goes wrong. There are many manufacturers who use 'creative mathematics' to enlarge the thread count, which makes consumers believe they are buying a luxury product, while in reality it is not.  Thus it appears that some companies advertise a thread count of 800, 1000 or sometimes even 1200. In reality, the thread count can be up to 500, because this is the maximum amount of wire that can be woven per square inch.

To get a higher number, manufacturers use thinner wires that are woven together as one. This way they can easily double, triple or quadruple the number of wires and thus the thread count. This means that a single wire consists of four layers that are twisted together. This should simply be considered as one thread.

Van Morgen bed linen and towels

This is not only problematic because it is misleading, but also because multi wires are weaker cotton fibers, which are twisted into each other to create a false strength of the wire. The most important is the thread that is used. Better quality bedding with lower thread count will feel softer and will be more resistant to washing than bedding of a less high quality fiber with a higher thread count. For multilayer yarns, a shorter cotton fibre of lower quality is usually used. Short cotton fibers protrude quickly from the fabric. This ensures thick, coarse and heavy bed linen. The result is a product that doesn't last long and doesn't feel good.


The conclusion is that you should not only be wary of an excessively high thread count, but that you should also consider all four factors (length of the fiber, number of layers, number of threads and weave) when buying your bedding. A good rule of thumb is that you should always be suspicious of a super high thread count that is offered at a low price. Most likely bed linen with a thread count of 1200 is not of the quality you think it is, and certainly not if it is offered for €100.

At Van Morgen we only use single layer cotton of long cotton fibres and we work with highly acclaimed weaving mills to ensure consistent quality. Our percale cotton bed linen has a thread count of 200-270 and our cotton Satin has a thread count of 300. High quality bedding feels good when touched and only you can determine that. You are the one who sleeps in it! That is much more important than what is on the packaging, right?

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