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Q: Crisp white sheets ( No Answer,   8 Comments )
Subject: Crisp white sheets
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: apteryx-ga
List Price: $9.02
Posted: 02 Oct 2003 20:31 PDT
Expires: 03 Oct 2003 20:19 PDT
Question ID: 262344
In describing bedsheets, “crisp” seems to be the epithet of choice. 
In a G***le search, instances of “crisp white sheets” outnumber
instances of “soft white sheets” by a ratio of about 8 to 1. 
Significantly, these are mostly literary rather than commercial
references; or if commercial, they are more typically describing the
amenities at a cozy bed & breakfast than selling linens.

Well, I like crisp sheets too (although I prefer color), and I love
how they feel in hotels, but I seem to be incapable of buying them.  I
thought it was a matter of buying 100% cotton with a high enough
thread count, the looser weaves being the soggier variety.  I like the
crisp ones because they feel cool as well as fresh.  Even in winter
when I have a deep pile of blankets on the bed, I still want the
sheets to be cool.  When it comes to my eternal sleep, if I find that
I’ve been bedded down permanently on flannel sheets, I’ll know
straight off that I’ve been sent to the bad place.

So how do I tell when I buy the sheets that they are going to be
“crisp”?  The packages do not say “crisp” or “soft.”  They say “200
thread count” or “280 thread count.”  Recently I bought 100% Egyptian
cotton sheets that are 350 thread count, and they are still not what
anyone would call “crisp.”  What am I doing wrong?  What do I need to
know?  Please don’t tell me I have to iron and starch them.  If that’s
the case, it’s just never going to happen before I go to my eternal

The answer to my question will consist of (a) an explanation of what
makes sheets crisp, (b) a clue to translating that into product
characteristics that I can recognize when making a purchase, and (c)
links to a few specific products that you are sure will turn out to be
crisp (nonwhite) sheets.

Thank you,
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: snsh-ga on 02 Oct 2003 22:35 PDT
Hotels and homes do laundry differently -- hotels have a commercial
machine which automatically adds bleach, detergent, break (alkaline),
sour (acid), and fabric softener to the wash.

The big difference is the sour -- it helps rinse detergent (especially
powder detergent) from fabric.  Maybe the detergent residue is what's
keeping you from your good place?  Add some vinegar to your rinse
cycle (like a 1/4 or 1/2 cup).  It will smell vinegary but it
evaporates in the dryer.  And use the fastest-spinning washing machine
you can find.
Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: tlspiegel-ga on 02 Oct 2003 23:02 PDT
Hi apteryx,

We're very much alike!  Even in the dead of winter I always want my
sheets to feel cool to my skin.  One thing I try to do is buy
'percale' which seems to always feel delightful.  Another thing I've
noticed is the darker colors seem a bit stiffer - maybe from all the
dye?  Lighter colors seem cooler to me.

The higher thread counts are usually going to give you that
smoooooothness also, but I don't like Egyptian Cotton and yet everyone
swears by it.


Best regards,
Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: sublime1-ga on 02 Oct 2003 23:15 PDT

If you have the option, try drying them on a clothesline.
While they may end up a bit more wrinkly, I believe you'll
find that they have a crispy texture, as well. I've noticed
this when drying t-shirts on the line. It doesn't really do
well for t-shirts, because you want them soft and wrinkle
free, but it might be just the ticket for sheets, especially
if you take them off the line in the cool of the evening.
Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: boquinha-ga on 03 Oct 2003 06:26 PDT
Hello apteryx!

Another idea for you--do NOT use fabric softener in your dryer cycle.
Not only will this help your sheets be more crisp, it will also help
your towels be more absorbent!

Good luck,
Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: journalist-ga on 03 Oct 2003 06:53 PDT
I agree with Boquinha - cease using fabric softener and make sure your
detergent doesn't contain any.  For extra coolness, I also use a light
dusting of baby powder.

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: aj999-ga on 03 Oct 2003 10:34 PDT
Most sheet manufacturers treat their sheets with various chemicals
that make the sheets soft and less likely to wrinkle.  This used to be
called Permanent Press but is usually not advertised as such these
days.  These finishes take many many washes to wear out, if they ever
do.  If you buy sheets labeled "natural" or "untreated" you are more
likely to get crisp sheets using the laundry suggestions other
commenters have provided.  You can get untreated cotton sheets in
colors from catalogs like Harmony.  White ones, very good quality, are
available from places like Vermont Country Store.  Wamsutta makes a
line of sheets called Supercale (NOT Supercale Plus which is treated)
which is untreated and very nice.  Hard to find, though.   Also, you
might want to consider linen or linen/cotton blend sheets.  If you are
a total sheet junkie like me, you can get sheets made from various
other natural fibers like hemp and nettle which can be very crisp(not
scratchy, believe it or not!) High thread count is more for smoothness
than crispness.
Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Oct 2003 10:48 PDT
I cannot vouch for this personally, but a couple of affluent friends
have told me that sheets made from "hemp linen" feel heavenly. And if
you don't like the way they feel, you can always smoke 'em.
Subject: Re: Crisp white sheets
From: apteryx-ga on 03 Oct 2003 20:19 PDT
Folks, that's a real forehead-smacker.  I faithfully add fabric
softener to my laundry, and then I wonder why it's so soft.  Sheesh. 
I think I just lost at least 5 IQ points, and now I'm going to have to
make a minimum of 150 clever wisecracks, sterling witticisms, and
scintillating observations just to recover my self-respect.  I hope I
live long enough and somebody doesn't kill me first out of sheer

Everybody's comments and contributions have really shed light on the
matter from numerous angles and given me a number of things to
explore.  I feel like the question has been well and truly answered,
so I may as well close it.  You guys are great.  Thank you, all.

Now I'm going to go console myself with a toke on a pillowcase.


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