Most people deciding between two sets of sheets would choose the higher thread count.
But it turns out we've all been duped.
There’s a maximum number of threads that can fit into a square inch of fabric, depending on the type of cotton used, that number is generally not more than 400.
So there is an awful lot of interesting maths involved in the sheets you see in a department store that can be up to a 1200 thread count.
In fact, Consumer Reports says that 50 years ago, the most luxurious thread count available was 180, but now 1,000 thread counts are the norm.
So what happened?
Thread count is the total number of threads per square inch in a fabric (counting both horizontal and vertical threads).
In theory, the higher the thread count, the softer and higher-quality the sheets.
But brands nowadays are counting multi-ply threads, which can lead to higher, erroneous numbers.
In reality, to achieve a higher thread count manufacturers are generally using a lower grade of cotton that becomes very thin when spun. They then twist this thread around itself to create a `multi-ply’ thread. When they use 2-ply thread and weave it to a theoretical 300-thread count (150 horizontal, 150 vertical) they call it a 600 thread count sheet and sell it that way.
So imagine that a 4-ply thread is woven as a 200 thread count, but sold as an 800 thread count.
A regular ply 300 thread count would feel better and last longer, but most consumers are convinced to always buy a higher thread count.
So when sheets are 'lustrously woven from 2-ply cotton thread at a major department stores, people should be highly sceptical.