For some time I’d been toying with whether or not to write this post on the subject of bed sheets. For months I’d been researching, testing and assessing bed sheets with the goal to identify what I could offer to you as the Best Inexpensive Bed Sheets.
You may recall from past posts that I did achieve my goal—I identified without hesitation the Best Inexpensive bed sheets. And then something changed. One of our Best Inexpensive options was discontinued! And new options appeared, prompting today’s update.
Here’s the reason I was conflicted. When it comes to bed sheets, I am particular. Call me a sheet snob and you’d have me pegged, which could make my personal standards too high to be considered affordable.
It’s not a matter of decor or brand. It’s the way the sheets feel. They should be smooth and wrinkle-free. The sheets need to breathe and not stick to me. But they can’t be slick, slippery, crunchy or noisy. The weave has to be tight and sheets can’t feel like sandpaper.
For me, sheets have to fit well, too. The fitted sheet cannot pop off the corners of the mattress; but it can’t be too big, so as to become baggy, which can lead to bunching up. Above all, my sheets must be 100% cotton. Not linen, not microfiber or polyester or any other type of fiber or blend thereof.
Seriously, if the sheets are not right, I don’t sleep well. And by well I mean sound asleep—not tossing, turning, and continuously waking up.
Had the only sheets on earth that fit my needs while being inexpensive now disappeared forever? How could I recommend a new option that was two to three times as expensive to take their place on our Best Inexpensive lineup?
Where did the percale go?
There was a time when decent sheets were common and affordable. I don’t know for certain what’s happened there, but I blame it on synthetic fibers—microfiber, polyester, lyocell and their manmade fiber-cousins that are cheap to manufacture.
We used to depend on the word “percale” to be the sign of a great sheet, but truth be told percale has nothing to do with fiber content. Percale refers to a type of tight weave. I’ve been fooled by percale sheets that turn out to be polyester percale or microfiber percale—not the fine cotton percale I remember from childhood.