Pros and Cons of 100% Cotton Percale Sheets

Assuming they are manufacturered of good quality cotton, though not necessarily long-staple or extra-long staple cotton like Egyptian or pima cotton (softer, but more expensive), the general advantages and disadvantages of 100% cotton percale sheets in the 200 - 300 thread count range are:

Pros:

  • Cool in summer and spring.
  • Crisp rather than drapy.
  • Smooth, matte finish.
  • Strong, not flimsy or easily worn out, because of the tight, one-over-one percale weave.
  • No great tufts of lint and fluff cluttering up dryer filter.
  • Washable (try not to use super hot water and keep chlorine bleach to a minimum - I can't avoid bleach in my life, but I've found a little bit goes a long way.)
  • Multiple uses after they wear out - turn into handkerchiefs, use as rags, etc.
  • Available in neutral colors (including your standard whites and pastels) as well as bright colors.
  • Available as plain and stark OR with fancy detailing like embroidery and eyelet designs.
  • More affordable than higher thread count sheets.
  • More like traditional crisp "bed and breakfast" sheets than silky and slippery "hotel sheets"


Cons:

  • Wrinkly (I personally don't mind wrinkles, but then I don't entertain much.  Wrinkles can be minimized by taking sheets out of the dryer before they are completely dry and not drying a full, heavy load at the same time).
  • Mostly sold in sets, not individually.
  • Can be more expensive than you'd expect (mid-range).
  • Noisy - nothing awful, but you can usually hear the rustle of all-cotton percale sheets.
  • Sheets made of lower quality cotton can feel scratchy.

6 comments:

  1. I bought a pair of sheets at Belks a couple years ago - they were expensive - high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. Nice and heavy - crisp absolutely love them. Ordered another set recently but they were the same at all. soft - hot- and al the complaints already mentioned. I'm in Louisiana and it is humid. So I am on the quest also. I need a set for my spare room because I sleep in there on work days as I work nites and it is a darker room. So I am looking for that bed and to get a spare set for the master room.

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  2. The percale cons even sound like pros (except for the scratchy low quality sheets) compared to the sateens, microfiber, Egyptian cotton fabrics with mega-thread counts. They are so wispy and limp and they "grab" - don't slide smoothly over each other - when you try to pull the top sheet over the fitted sheet when making the bed.. I love the rustle of freshly laundered percale sheets and the crisp feel of them after tucking in after a hot shower. I remember the line dried ones my mother used to bring in from the clothesline and getting into a freshly made bed smelling of fresh air and sunshine. There is nothing like that anymore perhaps due to our cotton mills closing and everything made overseas. The high thread counts come from weaving fewer filaments together - not even 1 ply but the thinnest threads possible so the sheets aren't heavy enough to lie flat on the bed but bunch up and disappear in lumps under the blankets. They wear out quickly as well. They are completely worthless and just a step up from disposable sheets. I am totally turned off by what I see in the stores and fortunately have kept my mother's sheets some of which are now over 50 years old. I will never part with them until we get decent sheets in our stores.

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  3. Has anyone tried the Vermont Country Store Clothesline Crisp sheets? I too am on "the Quest"

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  4. I bought percale sheets at Thomas Lee Ltd., an online store. Crisp, tightly woven and a bit pricey. Worth it though. Thomas Lee Ltd. calls their brand, Perfectcale. I bought two sets. Wash gently, dry on delicate. They do wrinkle but are cool and well-made.

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  5. I really like the 50 year wash percale sheets from Restoration Hardware. I have one set that is about 6 years old and they feel cool and soft.

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  6. I really like the 50 year wash percale sheets from Restoration Hardware. I have one set that is about 6 years old and they feel cool and soft.

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