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Your Guide to Buying Bedsheets and Bedding in Singapore

We chat with three experts, Priscilla Tan, founder and sleep chief at SOJAO, a homegrown bedding brand that carries organic cotton sheets; interior stylist Fazlee from Crate & Barrel Singapore; as well as Joyce Yao, marketing communications manager of York Hotel Singapore to get you the answers you need about bedsheets and bedding, so you can make a more informed decision the next time you go shopping for them.

Design: The Interior Lab

What must I look out for when buying bedsheets?

You should consider various factors when it comes to buying bed linen. Consider the material of the sheets (common fabrics include cotton, linen and polyester), the thread count (generally, the higher the softer it is although it’s not always a good thing), the weave type (common weaves include percale and sateen; the former lends a crisp feel while the latter gives a silky touch), design and style, as well as measurements (a European mattress size might require a different bedding size compared to a made-in-Singapore mattress).

Watch out: Some sheets contain harmful chemicals or other irritants. Steer clear of ones that come with anti-wrinkle finishes as they likely contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde resin that cannot be washed out.

Design: UNO Interior

Speaking of thread count, how important is having a high thread count?

Thread counts refer to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. A high thread count not only creates a soft fabric, it also creates a really dense one, which makes it great for keeping warm if you’re living in a cold climate. But in Singapore’s warm and humid weather, too dense a fabric might be uncomfortable since it means the sheets aren’t very breathable. Rather than seek out too high a thread count, look out for materials that are suitable for the climate here. The perfect thread count for long-staple, single-ply cotton fibres hovers around 300.

Watch out: Generally, high quality sheets are made in a single ply (ply refers to the number of threads wound together), but some manufacturers use two- or three-ply (2 or 3 threads wound together) to increase thread count by counting it twice or thrice. Often the two- or three-ply threads used are weaker and of a lower quality, creating thick and dense fabrics that are a lot less breathable.

So which materials for bedsheets are best for Singapore’s weather?

100% cotton sheets are the best for all-round comfort and breathability. When you’re shopping for cotton, look out for long-staple cotton as longer fibres result in a softer and more durable product.

Image by SOJAO, featuring the classic navy organic cotton sheets set

Linen, which is very durable, breathable and incredibly absorbent, is also a good choice for Singapore’s weather. The latter gets better with use and laundering, and it offers a more unique, furrowed look that is great if you’re opting for a casual vibe for your bedroom.

What’s the fuss over Egyptian cotton then?

There are several grades of cotton and Egyptian cotton is one of the highest grades of cotton. Grown in Egypt, it is a type of cotton with long fibres which make it really soft, strong and durable. Sheets made from Egyptian cotton are particularly resistant to stress and can last for a long time. Like wine, they get better with age.

Watch out: Less than 1% of all cotton produced in the world in 2017 can be traced back to Egypt, according to the US Department of Agriculture, yet many bedding stores carry sheets that claim to be made from Egyptian cotton. So beware that you’re not getting a knock-off!

Design: Upstairs_

What’s the difference between comforter, duvet and quilt?

A comforter is a piece of fabric with a filling that is stitched or quilted to secure the filling and to make sure the filling is evenly distributed. It is usually covered in a decorative fabric for protection and design. In hotels that use comforters, a top or flat sheet is usually laid underneath the comforter so that it doesn’t require as much maintenance.

A duvet is an insert with filling and is often used with a duvet cover which can be removed for laundering, making maintenance easier than with a comforter (easier to wash a duvet cover compared to washing a thick comforter).

A quilt traditionally comes in three layers: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting (padding) and a woven back sewn together.

Design: 19EightyThree

When it comes down to the filling for bedding, which materials would you recommend?

There are two kinds of fillings out there, natural and synthetic (non-allergenic). Go for the latter if you’re suffering from allergies or if you’re on a stricter budget. Natural materials like feathers and down tend to be lighter, but they provide enough warmth and suitable if you’re used to sleeping with air-conditioning.

How often should you wash your bedsheets and bedding, taking into account Singapore’s climate?

At the very least, wash your sheets every other week, while pillows, comforters, duvets, quilts and mattress protectors can be washed less often—every three to four months ideally. Certain comforters or duvet inserts may need to be dry clean only so make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions before you throw it into your washer. Also, ensure that your bed linens and bedding are dried completely (either tumble or line dry) before storing them—you don’t want to be sleeping on musty smelling sheets!

How would you arrange the different layers of bedding on a bed?

For the plushest experience, here’s how to set your bed starting from the bottom:

Image by SOJAO

    1. Bed skirting (optional, depending on bed)
    2. Mattress
    3. Mattress protector
    4. Fitted bedsheet (or flat sheet)
    5. Top/Flat sheet (you sleep underneath it)
    6. Comforter/Duvet/Quilt/Blanket
    7. Pillows (with pillow protector)
    8. Decorative pillows
    9. Throws

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