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Choosing the best bedlinen and sheets

Good sleep is the ultimate battery recharge, helping us to wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead. It also helps us stay physically fit and well. But with so many different types of bed sheets available, how can you tell which is the best type of bed linen? Follow our guide to find out…

Jump to section:

What is a cotton thread count?

What is the best thread count for bed linen?

Are the best sheets made from Egyptian Cotton?

Percale Vs Satin: what is the difference?

Is cotton better than polyester for sheets?

Finding the right bedding for better sleep

How do you wash bed linen?

Getting stains and dirt out of bed sheets

Where do hotels buy their bed linen?

What bedding and bed sheets do 5* hotels use?


Bedding thread count – which is right for you?

What is a cotton thread count?


Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads in a square inch of cloth. In a 200 thread count cloth you might have 110 threads running vertically and 90 running horizontally, giving the fabric a crisp, cool feel. In a 400 thread count cloth, you might find 280 horizontal and 120 vertical threads. This creates a softer, warmer sheet. However, high thread count bed linen isn’t always superior, and the real mark of quality lies in the thread and weave. Yarn made from long staple cotton will produce light, soft and long-lasting sheets irrespective of the number of threads.

A good night’s sleep is one of life’s essentials, which is why a lot of thought goes into making our bed linen and bedding sets. We start by sourcing quality long staple yarn. This is then spun into high quality cotton cloth by skilled weavers at trusted family-owned mills. Working closely with our suppliers enables us to ensure high standards of welfare and quality across our supply chains. We also supply linen to, and work closely with, world-leading hotels to create the ultimate guest sleep experience.


What is the best thread count for bed linen?


The general consensus is that a higher thread counts = better quality, but cotton quality and weave also play a vital role. A 200tc will produce cool, crisp fabric which becomes softer, silkier and less wallet-friendly the higher you go. However, as the thread counts increase the fibres within the fabric become more densely packed. This can make sheets and duvet covers over 600 thread count less breathable and unsuitable for those prone to hot flushes or night sweats. Many hotels find 300 thread sheets hit the sweet spot in terms of luxury and practicality.


Are the best sheets made from Egyptian Cotton?


Cotton grown in the fertile River Nile delta produces strong, lustrous long staple fibres that can be spun into very fine yarns. However, long staple cotton is also farmed in fertile plains outside Egypt. This cotton can produce linen just as strong, silky soft, washable and long lasting as Egyptian cotton bedding.

Given the limited supply of genuine Egyptian long staple cotton, it’s unsurprising that many products labelled Egyptian cotton duvet covers or Egyptian cotton sheets are not what they seem and made from inferior yarns. Luckily, it doesn’t matter if your cotton has been grown in Egypt, India or the US if your cotton staple is long, pure and has been lovingly farmed. Buy from a trusted linen company with close supplier relationships to avoid buying fake and inferior goods.


Percale Vs Satin: what is the difference?


Nothing beats pure cotton bed linen whatever your weave. However, your choice of weave will affect the way your sateen sheets or percale sheets look and feel.

Cotton percale is a plain weave in which one horizontal thread goes over and then under one vertical thread. This simple construction gives linen a crisp, spring-like feel.

Cotton sateen is a more complex weave that usually flows and drapes a little better than percale. It has a lustrous appearance and feels silky soft against the skin.

Tielle percale and sateen bedding is made from superior long staple cotton to provide the ultimate sleep experience. The range comprises:

  • Cool & Crisp - a 200tc cotton percale that’s fresh, contemporary with a soft matt finish.
  • Classic Hotel – a 300tc sateen range of effortlessly chic bed linen loved by Firmdale, The Pig and Lime Wood hotels.
  • Soft & Strong – a 400tc sateen bed linen set has an even softer, more luxurious feel.
  • Smooth & Silky – a sumptuously soft 600tc sateen range developed in collaboration with our 5* hotel client base, and often used in 5* hotel suites.


Do you want your linen to feel smooth and silky or cool and crisp?


If you prefer that fresh as a daisy feel and a soft matt finish, consider plain woven percale sheets. This all-round people pleaser is generally cheaper than sateen and will continue to look good wash after wash.

If you prefer a silky, lustrous feel and beautiful drape, opt for sateen sheets. 300tc sateen is the go-to favourite for many of our luxury B&Bs and 5* hotels, and ideal for creating that hotel-at-home look.


Is cotton better than polyester for sheets?


Cotton fabric allows air to move freely - think of it as a built-in air conditioner. Quality lightweight cotton bedding also absorbs moisture, helping you stay sweat-free and smelling fresh.

Polyester is another common type of easy-to-wash bedding fabric, but this man-made fibre isn’t water resistant. Unlike cotton, polyester bed linen won’t repel or absorb moisture, making you more likely to sweat. Over time it’s more likely to pill or go bobbly, which means that whilst it may be cheaper to start with, you’ll need to replace your sheets more often.

But it’s not just polyester sheets you should stay avoid. Cheap linen made using short-staple cotton will quickly fray and pill, giving it a coarse and scratchy feel. The best bed linen is made from long staple cotton which looks fabulous and feels wonderful against the skin for much longer than polyester or a polycotton mix.

Remember that tielle bedlinen has been designed with luxury hotels and is created to withstand the rigors of daily washing and drying.  Translate that into a domestic home and you’ve got bedlinen that will last years and years if it’s shown a little bit of TLC.


Finding the right bedding for better sleep


Sleeping well helps us wake feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. It also strengthens our immunity, helping us fight infections. But if you’re struggling to sleep, reviewing the bedding you use might be a good place to start.


Why some people struggle to sleep


Need help sleeping? There are a myriad reasons why people struggle to sleep. Sleep can be disrupted by jet lag or the artificial light emitted by electronic devices which trick our body into thinking night is still day. Other factors, such as diet, caffeine and even a room that’s too warm or cold can influence sleep. Sleep problems usually get better by changing your sleeping habits, and can sometimes be resolved by simply buying the best bed linen for your needs. Read these simple sleep tips for a better night’s sleep.


How having the right bedding can help you sleep


There’s nothing quite like slipping under soft, clean sheets at the end of a busy day. Consider your needs and preferences before you buy bed linen as this will help you buy the best bed sheets and best duvet cover for you. Do you prefer cool, crisp linen, or a softer, silkier sheet? Is your duvet lightweight and warm, allowing you to move freely in the night? Choosing a pillow fill based on your sleep position and any allergies or other conditions such as snoring can also help you sleep better and wake feeling refreshed.

With 70+ years experience supplying trade linens to the world’s most luxurious and iconic hotels, we’ve curated a sleep range that people want and love. Popular items include our Classic Hotel bed linen - a firm favourite of The Firmdale, The Pig and Lime Wood hotels. Another winning style is our Soft & Strong 400 thread count range used by The Dorchester and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Creating ‘the most luxurious and beautiful bedding’ (thanks reviewer @Mark W) is what we strive for and we’re delighted when customers feel the same.


How do you wash bed linen?


Lightweight, breathable cotton is the go-to choice for many luxury hotels. Beautiful and soft on the skin, high quality cotton bedding will retain its softness wash after wash. Fabrics such as polyester are prone to static and pilling after washing and more likely to trap moisture, leading to night sweats. Tielle 200-600 thread count bedding is the perfect blend of style, comfort and practicality. Cotton with a thread count of 600 or more can become less breathable and hard to launder due to the tightly packed threads.


What temperature should I wash bed sheets at?


High quality cotton stays soft and supple wash after wash when cared for properly. All our hotel style bedding can be washed at temperatures of up to 95°C but a 40°C or 60°C wash is fine for normal use. Line dry when possible or tumble dry bedding in small batches for quick, crease-free drying. Iron while still a little damp.


Should I use fabric softeners and fabric conditioner on sheets?


The best washing detergents keep your whites bright white and remove stains. Although fabric softeners can reduce creasing and give your bedding a lovely zingy smell, they coat the fabric fibres with a sticky residue that destroys their softness and colour. The waxy film makes cotton towels and bathrobes less absorbent too.

See Consumers’ Association magazine Which? for impartial advice on what detergent is a best buy.

Getting creases out of bed linen


Freshly laundered sheets are one of life’s small luxuries, but they can be tricky and time-consuming to iron. To make life easier, fold sheets and covers lengthways and place on the board, pulling the linen tight to avoid baking in creases. Turn your iron’s steam function to the maximum setting and iron one side. This should crease out both layers. Running a hot iron over linen will also kill any lasting bacteria.


Getting stains and dirt out of bed sheets


The general advice for washing your bed linen is once a week in a hot 60°C  wash, as bacteria and fungus can spread among unwashed sheets. However, pet fluff and stains may mean you need to wash your linen sooner. Try these stain removal methods before resorting to expensive techniques.


Removing coffee and tea stains


Spilt your morning cuppa? Like coffee, tea is tannin-based so you need to act fast. First, blot the liquid with white paper towels or a white, lint-free cloth, then rinse the stain under cold water. Next, wash cotton sheets immediately in a 40°C machine-wash with biological detergent.


Removing makeup stains


Too tired to wash your face? We’ve all been there, but your pillow has probably paid the price. Remove foundation marks by machine washing your cotton linen as soon as possible at 40°C using biological detergent. Use a pre-wash or in-varnish stain removal product to give it some extra help.


Removing blood from bed sheets


Blood is easy to remove from cotton sheets if treated while fresh. First, blot fresh blood with white paper towels or a white, lint-free cloth, and rinse the stain under cold water. Steep dried blood in an enzyme-based pre-soaking agent, or a solution of soda crystals. Next, machine-wash your cotton sheets at 40°C with biological detergent.


Removing sweat stains


Sweat-stained bed sheets make sleep havens a less than inviting space. To whiten yellow tinged cases, sheets and covers, try running them though a hot wash (90 degree) , or good old-fashioned baking soda and vinegar.


Where do hotels buy their bed linen?


Ever slept at a hotel and wished you could enjoy the same level of style and comfort at home? Hotels invest a lot of time in helping guests enjoy a great night’s sleep, but creating that polished taut hotel look usually involves:

  • 100% white cotton – the foundation of any luxury hotel bedding scheme
  • 300-400tc sheets – these hotel quality bed sheets have plenty of luxe factor
  • Natural fills - feather and down are the go-to for most top hotels
  • 10.5 tog duvet – this tog rating provides all-year-round cosiness
  • Pillows – in varying sizes for different sleeping styles and reading
  • Bedspreads – a cotton throw for an inviting, hotel-at-home look

What bedding do 5* hotels use?


Hotel quality bed linen has to deliver on comfort, style and practicality. Many hotels also want proof their linen has been ethically and sustainably produced. Hotels value top quality bedding as it looks good for a long time, and delivers a sleep experience guests want and expect. Tielle supplies its Savoy feather and down pillows and duvet to The Savoy and Claridge’s, and to stylish retreats including Lime Wood and The Pig hotels.


What bedlinens do 5* hotels use?


Why are hotel beds so comfortable? They focus on delivering a great night’s sleep. You can create your own sleep haven. Start by testing any new bed for support and comfort, and make your headboard the centrepiece of the room.

Bed linen is largely a matter of preference. Many of our boutique hotels choose our Cool & Crisp 200 Thread Count bed sheets, whilst super luxury hotels often opt for the silkier feel of our Classic Hotel 300 Thread Count or soft, luxurious 400 Thread Count Bed Sheets.

Do you prefer cool, crisp sheets or a soft, silkier feel? A luxury hotel quality bedding set and gorgeous natural fill duvet will help your bed look and feel as good as any hotels. Top the bed with big pillows for leisurely bedtime reads. Read our guide on How to Make A Luxury Bed At Home.