Pilling sheets
July 26, 2005 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Any tips for keeping sheets from pilling?

We got a couple of sets of really nice sheets for our wedding. High thread count cotton. They felt wonderful the first few times we had them on the bed, but they're already pilling. Does anyone have practical tips from keeping that from happening? Do I just need more expensive sheets? I hate the pills!!
posted by dpx.mfx to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Wash alone in a less vigorous cycle, dry in a less vigorous cycle. ("Alone" is particulary important. Washing with towels will get sheets pilling fast.) Outside of that it's really about the fabric itself. A high thread count alone won't necessarily get you anything, aside from more threads to break and pill! There seems to be a rough consensus that most people can't feel the difference between thread counts over 180 (percale).

Are the sheets 100% cotton? Synthetic blends will be worse for pilling -- the longer and stronger polyester fibres roll up into the pills when they break and the pills stick around, while shorter, weaker cotton fibres will make smaller pills and break off.

Thread count alone isn't an indicator of quality, FWIW -- lots of inexpensive sheet manufacturers have gone with very high thread counts of cheap material to convince the buyer that they're good sheets.
posted by mendel at 8:28 AM on July 26, 2005

I have never had this problem with high quality sheets. In fact, the higher the quality (not only thread count, but type of cotton-- go for Egyptian), the longer they seem to last. Any chance that they are jersey knit sheets? I hate those-- they pill after the first wear.
posted by picklebird at 9:14 AM on July 26, 2005

I find that only sheets in active use pile, so if you remove the unused sheets (to somehwere less damp or dusty), the problem solves itself.
posted by Marquis at 10:26 AM on July 26, 2005

Maybe the washing is the problem. They're egyption cotton, not jersey. I definitly think that they've been washed with towels though, for some reason I never thought about that.

Marquis - I've read that sentence a dozen times, and I have no idea what you mean. Maybe that's a joke?
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:04 AM on July 26, 2005

Hrm. I have 300 thread count egyption cotton sheets (which, btw, I can definitely tell are better than the 180 count sheets I have on my futon) that I've washed with towels and without, and they've haven't pilled yet. I've had them and used them for the last 2 to 3 years. My guess is it has more to do with the quality of the sheets.
posted by geeky at 12:11 PM on July 26, 2005

Okay, then I guess this turns into a tangential question of: who makes good quality sheets that won't pill!
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:09 PM on July 26, 2005

The sheets you have are not 100% cotton. They must have polyester mixed in, in which case, they are not as nice as you think. Just buy 100% cotton sheets; anything over 300 thread count is fine.
posted by suchatreat at 10:33 AM on August 7, 2005

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