Poor-Quality Sheets

Buying new sheets can be a real numbers game. You see thread counts of 400, 600, even 1,000. Do higher counts get you better sheets?

Consumer Reports just tested 23 sets of sheets.

"They're lots of choices, but there are also lots of problems." said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman of Consumer Reports.

They used a machine to measure how strong sheets are. Many ripped easily.

And some of the seams on the fitted sheets came apart without much force...including the Tommy Hilfiger T-200.

Other problems-fitted sheets that didn't fit. Instead they popped off the corners. And sizing up flat sheets, testers found some so short, you can't tuck them in.

"We also found wrinkle-free sheets that weren't and we found sets where the colors were mismatched." said Kuperszmid Lehrman.

Plus, when testers washed and dried the sheets, some shrank badly.

And don't rely on how soft sheets feel at the store. Many have been treated with fabric enhancers and softeners.

That's why, at Consumer Reports, panelists judge softness only after sheets have been washed five times.

And the tests show higher thread count does not guarantee softer sheets or stronger ones.

In the end, Consumer Reports did find a few queen-size sheets to recommend, including two Best Buys-L.L. Bean's Pima Cotton Percale for $100 and, from Target, Home 600 TC for $70.

A plus, the Target sheets were among the softest tested.

Consumer Reports says you can keep your sheets lasting longer if you avoid over drying them and go easy on the chlorine bleach.

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