There are few things as comforting as slipping between super soft, cozy flannel bed sheets on a cold, winter night.
But not all flannel is created equal. The problem with cotton flannel and other raised-fiber fabrics like fleece and knits is the heartbreak of “pills”—those little, raised balls that develop over time, creating a super-annoying, bumpy surface.
The solution to the pilling problem with flannel sheets is two-fold: 1) Opt for high-quality flannel and 2) take steps to prevent pilling.
Quality flannel is not cheap. You could spend the outrageous price of $400 or more for a set of high-quality flannel sheets with a luxury brand name on the label, OR you could opt for the Best Inexpensive™ flannel sheets, JCPenney Home Solid Flannel Sheet Set. These flannel sheets are nicely manufactured, of excellent quality, and resistant to pilling.
Flannel sheets are not measured by thread count but rather by the weight of the material. These beauties are made of 100% cotton flannel with a warmth factor of heavyweight, rated 155 gsm by weight, with a mattress depth of up to 15 inches.
Available in all sizes including Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King and Cal King they come in a choice of five colors.
JCPenney Home Solid Flannel Sheet Set, reg. $65 to $140 depending on the size. However, it’s good to note that flannel sheets often go on sale at the end of the season.
(Note: These flannel sheets are ON SALE right now. Plus look for a coupon code at checkout that will give you an additional 25% or 30% discount. JCPenney is notorious for offering discounts on top of online sale prices!)
HOW TO PREVENT PILLING
Here are the three biggest culprits that can result in pilling on certain fabrics like cotton flannel, fleece, and knits:
1. Friction. The physical rubbing of the flannel fabric against itself during a vigorous wash cycle is the main culprit that causes pilling of flannel sheets. Low-quality flannel will pill almost immediately while higher-quality goods will do so over time if care is not taken. To prevent this, when washing flannel bedding, make sure to turn the pillowcases inside out then opt for a gentle cycle. The agitation will be much slower, reducing the amount of friction on the fabric.
2. Hot water. Flannel should be washed in cool to warm water—never hot water, which opens the fibers and encourages pilling.
3. Liquid fabric softener. You may assume that adding liquid fabric softener to the rinse cycle will result in softer flannel sheets, but just the opposite is true. Liquid fabric softener increases the likelihood of a pilling effect because it breaks down and weakens the fibers. Instead, add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the final rinse (pour it into the liquid softener reservoir). This helps to fully rinse away all detergent which not affecting the fibers in a negative way. When any detergent is allowed to remain in sheets, towels, and other laundry items, they can come out of the dryer feeling stiff and scratchy—just the opposite of what flannel sheets are supposed to feel like!
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