how to soften scratchy new sheets?

poweredbypearsNovember 1, 2006

this is coming from a newbie at buying sheets..this is the first time i am really buying sheets on my own without the help of my parents. i recently purchased some new 250 t.c. egyptian cotton sheets at jc penney under the impression that egyptian cotton is soft and durable and they were quite rough and scratchy to the touch..nowhere near as cozy as the aged sheets that i grew up in.

i have washed them once and they have gotton a tiny bit softer but the pillow cases are still rather scratchy but i am also starting to notice some pilling. i am a little confused as i was led to believe that these 'egyptian cotton' sheets were high quality but they don't feel quite as luxurious as they claim..

should i wash them a couple more times and give it a chance or should i look into other brands? how many times do you usually wash your linens before you send them to bed with you? is there a washing method that avoids causing pilling? all i'm looking for is that soft cozy feeling of aged sheets, nothing fancy or super expensive, but just the feeling of home!

thanks for your help!

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You could use the hottest water the fabric can take, and some fabric softener in the final rinse.

However, 250 TC isn't going to be all that soft...certainly not what you are looking for. A higher (400) thread count sateen will be significantly softer, but significantly more expensive. Better linen stores will have samples out for you to touch, and you'll quickly realize there's a big difference! Try Linens and Things, Bed, Bath and Beyond, etc.

If you're on a budget, you might want to try flannel sheets, or cotton jersey (t-shirt) sheets.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 5:11PM
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I agree, these sheets will never be very soft. I have had the same experience with scratchy sheets that never softened after repeated washings. A more important factor would be too look for a long staple cotton. Pima cotton would be an excellent choice, but it costs more, and is hard to find. Look for a higher thread count, and try to get 100 percent cotton, not a blend of poly/cotton. I think the polyester is what makes it stiff and scratchy.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 3:30PM
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Here's a page with some useful information.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 10:48PM
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300-350 thread count cotton sheets will be soft & not pill. Pima cotton is ideal. If you are on a buget, check out a place called Tuesday Morning (deep discounter of all kinds of things) & Costco. Remember that 400+ threadcount sheets ARE luxuriously thick & soft BUT they require more attention when laundering (wrinkle trolls LOVE higher thread count sheets) & Iam not into ironing bed linens & HATE to send to cleaners for pressing.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 2:15PM
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Tuesday Morning stores had a great deal last year the day after Thanksgiving. The DW found some 100% combed cotton sheets (kingsize) with a 600 thread count for 50 bucks. A year later they show no signs of wear or pilling and are very soft.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 4:32PM
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I have sort of given up on JC Penney, Bed Bath and Beyond and Linens and Things.

I think they have all gotten the WalMart chep cheap cheap bug since the bed linens I have bought from them on sale have not been up to par. The flannel sheets from BB&B were made in China and clogged the lint filter every time I washed them. I am now buying through Eddie Bauer (fantastic flannels!) LL Bean and Cuddledown though they are anything but cheap. I focus on the sales.

Also found some silk sheets on eBay that were low priced and are now in their second year.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 7:38PM
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I bought a set of Royal-Sateen sheets 550 count selling for $350 ( I paid considerable less)

They are rough and scatchy. I went back to Bloomingdales as well as calling customer service at Royal Sateen. They both told me to use liquid fabric softerner and wash them a few times. They promised I would love the sheets

Well, I don't Has anyone else had experience with this brand? Any softening suggetions?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 12:01PM
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I'll have to agree with the others, if they don't start off soft they'll never get that way. Do you have a Marshall's or other discount store near you? I find that you can get good quality sheets at a good price. I always run my hand in the package to check for softness before I buy.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 10:30PM
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I always feel the sheets before I buy them also. You can try washing some more and using fabric softener, but the pilling would concern me. If you've just washed them once, I would try to return them.

For new sheets, I would suggest Marshall's too, as well as their sister store, TJMAxx. Tuesday Morning can have some very nice finds too, and I've bought knit sheets as well as some bamboo sheets at Target. The bamboo were on clearance and for around $20-25 I got a set of king sheets that we like as much as our 650yc damask (from Tuesday Morning). Target currently has some organic cotton sheets that seemed to have a pretty nice feel to them (they come in a bag made of the sheeting fabric, so it's easy t check them out).

I would expect a 250tc sheet to do better than you have described, in wer and in feel. If you go up to 300tc, you will notice a huge difference over 200tc. In the 300-400tc range, you should get a nice, sily feel and good wear. Going above 400tc generally results in a tighter weave, heavier fabric which you may or may not care for, and more subtle differences in the feel of the finished sheet.

I hope you can return them. I would hate sleeping on new, pilled sheets.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:17PM
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I find that anything beyond 300 tc can be hot in the summer. Great for winter, but the added thickness seems to keep in heat.

We have a set of 300 TC Egyptian Cotton that we bought at Bed Bath & Beyond about 4 years ago and they are extremely soft and still look like the day we bought them. I think we paid about $125 for top sheet, bottom sheet and two Queen sized pillowcases. I think they were Waverly brand.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 5:07AM
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Target has some nice 400 TC sheets that scored will in consumer tests. You can sometimes catch them on sale or clearance when they are changing over colors.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 9:48AM
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One word: Bamboo! I have not found ANY sheets, regardless of fabric and no matter how high the thread count, that come anywhere close to the softness of 100% bamboo sheets found at Bed Bath & Beyond. They sell them as "beech," but fabric is 100% bamboo. King set (top, fitted, 2 king cases) sell for around $99 ($80 with BB&B's always-available 20% off coupon). I have also tried bamboo/cotton and bamboo/silk sheets ( and neither combo was as soft as 100% bamboo. After 5 years, no pilling, holes, etc. They get softer with each wash and now the "hand" is as soft as a set of pure silk sheets I have had in the past. No, I do not work for BB&B and I do not own a bamboo plantation! My husband and I just like sleeping on the softest sheets possible.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 3:57PM
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I agree, bamboo sheets are the way to go for the softest sheets possible. I have a few sets from They are 250TC, but are so much softer than Egyptian cotton. I chose to receive a free sample swatch from this company first before I purchased. The sheets are a bit pricey, but well worth it!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 3:54PM
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