A one-on-one with Coyuchi's CEO Eileen Mockus on sheeting.
1. Can you explain the difference between percale, sateen, jersey, linen and flannel?
A smooth, crisp fabric that’s great for warm sleepers as it feels cool against the skin. It’s known to wrinkle a bit more than other fabrics, but those that love percale accept that aspect of its personality because the tight plain weave is how this fabric becomes crisp and cool.
A silky, soft fabric that is often described as buttery because of its smooth feel. Sateen is warm to the touch with a subtle sheen on the surface. The weave is more resistant to wrinkling, so it’s a great wash and use option for your bed.
Think of your favorite T-shirt—slightly stretchy, soft and easy to care for—that’s Jersey. It’s a knit fabric, which is why it’s able to stretch and why it drapes so effortlessly.
Our flannel is brushed and sheared multiple times, so the fine hairs of the cotton are whisked up into a soft fuzzy layer surrounding the fabric. This makes flannel the warmest, softest and coziest fabric. It’s great for cold nights or when you want to sleep with just a sheet that has enough weight and warmth to keep you snuggled in.
Even more absorbent and breathable than cotton, and more insulating as well, linen will keep you cooler and drier on warm nights and warmer on cold nights, too. We love its luscious drape and relaxed texture, that feels wonderfully soft from day one. And true to linen's legendary durability, this bedding only gets better with time and laundering, serving you well in every season for years to come.
2. How should you wash your sheets? Do you advocate getting them pressed?
It's a good idea to change or wash sheets once a week, to keep them looking fresh and to minimize dust and allergens for a healthier sleeping environment. Our organic cotton and linen products are machine washable. We recommend machine washing on the gentle or delicate cycle with like colors, with cold water and a natural, plant based laundry detergent. We don’t recommend using whiteners, as bleaching agents may diminish the brilliance and depth of the colors; when needed, use only non-chlorine bleach. Skip the fabric softeners and dryer sheets, as they just coat your sheets in chemicals and make them less breathable. Line dry, if you can, or tumble dry on a low-heat setting to avoid weakening the fibers. Use a steamer or hot iron as needed.
For occasional spots or stains, pre-treat with a dab of detergent or use an oxygenated bleach, sparingly, on white fabric. We also recommend the eco-friendly Spot Off by Vaska which is enzyme based.
Make sure your sheets are completely dry before putting them away, to prevent the growth of mildew. Fold them neatly (or, when it comes to the fitted sheet, as neatly as you can) and slip each set inside its matching pillow case to keep everything tidy and organized.
Don't enclose bed linens in plastic, as they're more likely to get musty if you do.
3. How do you make your bed like a hotel bed?
Hotel beds can be great and could be better if translated to an organic bed. Start with an organic mattress and use a mattress pad or mattress protector to extend the life of your mattress dramatically by helping to fend off spills, stains, sweat and skin oils. We recommend washing your mattress protector monthly. Use naturally filled pillows and duvet inserts such as our Lightweight Down Duvet Inserts and down filled pillows which use US raised duck down inside organic cotton covers. Add a pillow protector to keep allergens at bay, and they're much easier to launder than the pillows themselves. For your sheets, we recommend our 300 Sateen organic cotton sheet set and a matching 300 Sateen duvet cover. The all white bed is a classic hotel bed and sateen is frequently the fabric of choice because of the subtle sheen and great appearance after wash. This bed is a clean and simple canvas that can be given a personalized splash with great decorative pillows, shams of a contrast color, or a great blanket draped at the end of the bed such as our Cozy Cotton or Honeycomb blankets.
4. What’s the deal with thread count?
Thread count is a measure of the density of the fabric and it became the definition of quality for sheets, which isn’t totally accurate. A higher thread count requires finer yarns, which is why thread count became important but the fiber may be a better single gauge of quality for sheets. A great sheet starts with great organic cotton fiber that is grown using non-GMO seed without toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. Long staple fiber is spun into fine yarns, woven into fabric, and dyed and finished using low impact dyes and finishes that are safe for the workers, the environment and the consumer.
5. What sorts of things should you look for when you’re buying sheets?
What are your sheets made of? Are they cotton? Linen? Polyester? A blend of natural and synthetic fibers? Natural fibers breathe best, keeping you most comfortable and promoting the best sleep. And because they get softer with each wash and resist pilling, they age more gracefully than synthetics, too. Coyuchi’s bedding is 100% certified organic cotton, or linen. We haven’t been using organically grown linen because the growing of linen is far less harmful than cotton.
How is it Grown & Processed?
Organically grown cotton is not sprayed with synthetic chemicals, and that means it's better for you and for the planet. Conscientious processing methods—with no toxic dyes, bleaches and finishes—ensure organic fabric is gentler on your skin than conventional fabric, too. From field to factory, Coyuchi's cotton is certified by GOTS, the most demanding organic standard in the world, and that makes our sheeting a pleasure to sleep in.
Different people like different-feeling sheets. Coyuchi's 300 Percale isn't "better" than our 220 Percale. It's more crisp and smooth because of finer yarns in a tighter weave. The 220 percale is softer and more relaxed because the yarns are thicker and the weave is a bit looser than 300 percale. Both have passionate devotees. Meanwhile, our Relaxed Linen gets its light, cool feel from an airy weave that can only be achieved with a lower thread count. And our t-shirt soft Jersey and luscious Flannel sheets aren't described by thread count at all (thread count applies to woven fabric, while jersey is a knit; and flannel's coziness is measured in ounces). And let's not even get into the great sateen vs percale debate.
So, if you toss out thread count, how will you choose? There's no right or wrong answer…no magical equation. The "best" sheets are simply the sheets that feel best to you. That's why we say if you don’t love your Coyuchi sheets, we'll take them back.