Sunday, April 13, 2008

Back to Bedding

Apparently, bedding is the new pink!

From this weekend's N&O, more on how to keep a fabulously comfortable bed and how to select the right sheets for your bed in the article "Make Your Bed Well":

Shop Smart
Everyone thinks about thread count when sheet buying, but that's only one factor that makes for comfortable sheets. Here are seven more sheet-things to know:

1. The sheets that feel the softest are the ones that are made with the very long staples of Egyptian cotton, says Joanne Walgren, owner of Sue Bearrie Fine Linen & Fashion Boutique, in Colleyville, Texas.
2. Good-quality sheets are also made out of Supima cotton, a trademark name signifying the fabric is made from the longest fibers of the American-grown Pima cotton. Supima is less expensive than Egyptian cotton, although it often is just as comfortable.3. "Easy-care" sheets are polyester and cotton. They aren't as breathable as plain cotton, which means you are more likely to get too hot at night.4. "Permanent Press" or "wrinkle-free" sheets can be 100 percent cotton, but the Environmental Protection Agency says they are treated with formaldehyde to discourage wrinkling. The chemical is associated with breathing difficulties and certain cancers, the EPA says."5. Percale or sateen sheets describe how the sheet is woven, says Mary Ella Gabler, founder and CEO of Peacock Alley, a Dallas-based fine linen purveyor. Percale is lightweight and crisp, a summertime favorite for many. Sateen sheets are softer than percale and slightly heavier weight.
6. Bamboo/cotton sheets vary in softness but are comparable to good-quality cotton sheets. Another comfy choice: Jersey knit sheets that feel like your favorite old T-shirt.
7. Take the advice of L.L. Bean when buying flannel sheets. They should be brushed on both sides for softness and of 5-ounce-weight cotton to be thick and warm.

Take Care
Sheets and pillowcases can quickly lose their softness if laundered in harsh laundry products. Here's the method fine linen sellers recommend:
Machine wash in warm water on gentle cycle.

Use a mild detergent. Ivory or Dreft, found at grocery stores, are recommended, as is the higher-end Le Blanc Linen Wash at a cost of $30 for 64 ounces in lavender scent, blue violet or unscented.

Chlorine bleach breaks down fibers. Use an enzyme-based stain remover such as OxiClean instead.

Don't use fabric softeners. They coat the fabric, which ultimately causes the fabric to lose softness.

Air drying is ideal, but it's OK to use a low setting and take the sheets out before they are completely dry.
The article starts by describing different concerns with thread count (pointing out that anything over 500 is worth really nothing more than bragging rights), but read the whole thing for more info on down products (and what features to look for in down products for those who suffer from allergies), tips from Yves Delorme on how to put together a great-looking and truly comfortable bed, and more.

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