Norma Keyes Takes On The Winter White Sales

Cotton Incorporated's Fabric Care Guru Sets the Story Straight on Thread Count

Monday January 25, 2010
New York, NY

The month of New Year’s Resolutions is also the month of “white sales,” when retailers discount bed sheets and other home textiles, enabling consumers to make new purchases without going over budget. But with the economy still a tough topic, Americans are starting 2010 with a hawk-like eye on their household budgets, and looking for both quality and quantity when shopping for sheets.

“Thread count and price are two things consumers first look for in a bed sheet purchase, yet most don’t realize that a higher thread count isn’t always better,” says Norma Keyes, Director, Product Standards, Cotton Incorporated, who worked with other textile experts in the American Society for Testing Materials International (ASTM) D13 Textiles Committee to actually define the term “thread count” for home textiles in 2006. “Some companies began counting yarns twisted together but inserted in the fabric weave as one yarn, as two individual yarns , so what was previously sold as a two-ply 300 thread count sheet became a 600 thread count sheet."

In fact, in 2009 the Federal Trade Commission placed fines on some companies mislabeling their bed sheets. Consumers should not make thread count the only factor for buying a set of sheets. "It is important to make sure you’re purchasing the best quality sheets at a price that works for your wallet,” Keyes adds.

The Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ survey, an ongoing consumer research study that gauges consumer attitudes and behavior to better understand why and where they shop, and what motivates them to buy, indicates that almost two thirds of women prefer cotton sheets. The majority (81%) of cotton bed sheets at retail are 100% cotton, preferred by consumers for its feel and better breathability.

“The most important thing consumers can do when purchasing sheets is actually to feel them – that way, they’ll know they are getting a good quality product for the price,” adds Keyes.

CUTTING COSTS WITH COTTON is one in a series of communications designed to help consumers in trying economic times get the most from their favorite fiber.

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.


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