What Are Percale Sheets?

What Are Percale Sheets?

Written by Nectarsleep editorial team

Last Updated on Jun 14, 2022

In this article:

    Percale sheets are cotton sheets made from a percale weave. Percale weaves create fabric in a criss-cross pattern. This signature tight weave makes smooth, crisp, and cool sheets. 

    Did you know? The term Percale is derived from the Persian word “pargalah,” which means rag. In the 17th and 18th centuries, percale was exported from India, and then, it was manufactured in France. Continue reading to know everything about What are Percale Sheets.

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    What Is Percale?

    Percale is a kind of weave that makes bedding and towels. It uses a traditional criss-cross pattern (one thread over, one thread under). What is a criss-cross pattern?

    There are two types of threads: warp and weft threads. Warp threads are vertical threads, and weft threads run horizontally. In a percale weave, every weft (horizontal) thread runs over one weft (vertical) thread and creates a tight weave pattern. 

    This tight-knit structure gives a matte finish to the sheets, resulting in smooth and highly breathable fabric. 

    Material

    What are percale sheets made of? Mainly, percale sheets are formed from long-staple cotton fibers. Extra long-staple or long-staple cotton fibers are soft and silky. Longer fibers have better quality than shorter fibers. Still, sometimes these are blended with bamboo, polyester, and other synthetic fibers. Blending with synthetic fibers makes the sheet wrinkle-resistant.

    Thread Count

    Thread count means the number of yarns in a square inch of fabric. The average thread count of percale sheets is between 200 to 300. There is no maximum thread count, but the minimum thread count in percale sheets is 180. 

    Due to the high thread count and tightly woven structure, the percale sheets feel sturdy. But with frequent washes, sheets become softer. 

    Wondering what’s the best thread count for sheets? Read this article. 

    Cost

    The cost of percale sheets depends on the thread count and material of the fabric. Bedsheets with a thread count of 200 to 300 can cost you around $70 to $150. Percale made with 100% organic cotton or extra-long or long-staple cotton is costlier than sheets made with blended cotton and short-staple cotton. 

    what are percale sheets

    Different Types of Percale Sheets

    All the percale sheets offer a cool and crisp feel. Although, there are variations in terms of breathability and price. There are three types of bed sheets.

    ELS or Long Staple Cotton Percale Sheets

    Longer the fiber, the better the quality. With ELS fibers, you can expect durable, smooth and breathable fabric. ELS or long-staple cotton percale sheets feel soft and luxurious. These are made from Egyptian or Pima cotton, which are high-quality fibers. Although, these sheets can be expensive. A queen size ELS sheet set may cost you around $200. 

    Organic-Cotton Percale Sheets

    Organic cotton percale sheets are made from cotton grown in organic farms. The sheets are environmentally friendly, hypoallergenic, and antimicrobial. As the cotton is responsibly sourced, the sheets are pretty expensive.

    Ensure there is a Global Organic Textile Standard tag on your sheet. A Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS certification implies that the sheet is made with at least 70 percent organic cotton fibers. 

    Blended Cotton Percale Sheets

    Blended cotton percale sheets are made from cotton and materials like bamboo, silk, rayon, polyester. These sheets are wrinkle-resistant and less expensive than 100 cotton percale sheets. 

    Pros and Cons of Percale Sheets

    Percale sheets are known for their durability and comfort. However, there are cons to percale sheets as well. Here are the pros and cons of percale sheets.

    Pros

    Smooth Texture

    Due to extra-long staple fibers, these sheets have a smooth and luxurious feel. The sheets might be sturdy at first, but they get softer with every wash. 

    Durable

    Percale sheets are tightly knit in a criss-cross pattern, making them strong and long-lasting. We recommend avoiding using bleach for washing as it may reduce the longevity of the sheets. 

    Low Maintenance

    Cotton fabric is easy to maintain. You can easily wash your percale sheets at home. If the sheets are blended with other materials like silk, you may require to dry-clean them. Percale sheets come with various types, and every type may have different requirements. Don’t forget to read the instruction label before washing percale sheets. 

    Affordable

    Percale sheets offer a wide range of options, making them affordable for many. Queen size percale sheets can cost you between $90 to $500. 

    Breathable

    Most percale sheets are made with premium quality cotton and are highly breathable and lightweight. These sheets are ideal for hot sleepers and people in warm climates. 

    Cons

    Wrinkle-prone

    Percale sheets with 100 percent cotton are highly wrinkle-prone. If you are looking for wrinkle-resistant sheets, consider cotton blend sheets with fibers like polyester, rayon, or silk. 

    Unsuitable for Cold Climate

    Percale sheets are highly breathable and may not provide insulation or enough warmth for cold climates. 

    How to Care for Percale Sheets

    Taking care of percale sheets is effortless. These sheets are durable and can be easily washed at home. However, make sure you read the instruction label before laundering them for the first time.

    Washing Your Sheet

    1. Wash the sheet on a gentle cycle.
    2. Wash the sheet separately to avoid color bleeding and rips from zippers, hooks, or buttons.
    3. Clean the sheets once a week. Your sheet may shrink about 2% after the first wash. 

    Drying Your Sheet

    1. Tumble dry the sheets on low or medium heat settings.
    2. Take out the sheets of the dryer as soon as the drying completes. 
    3. Iron the sheets if necessary.

    Types of Weaves In Bed Sheets

    There are two main types of weaves: Percale and Sateen. Percale weave, as we know, follows the One under, one over pattern. In comparison, sateen weave follows a two to four under, one-over pattern. Let’s learn more about the difference between percale and sateen with the help of the table below.

     

    Percale vs. Sateen

    FeaturesSateenPercale
    Thread Count300 to 500200 to 400
    WrinklesWrinkle resistantWrinkle prone
    BreathabilityLess breathableMore breathable
    SeasonSuitable for wintersSuitable for summers
    Weave patternTwo to four under, one overOne under, one over
    FeelSilkyCrisp
    Cost (Queen)$100-1000$90-800
    PillingMore prone to pillLess likely to pilling
    WeightHeavyLight

    How to Choose Bed Sheets

    With multiple options in the market, it isn’t easy to choose the bed sheet of your choice. Here are some points to consider before shopping for percale sheets.

    1. Color and Pattern

    Light shade is good for summers, while dark shades are suitable for winters. Choose color and pattern depending upon your room style, preference, and weather.

    2. Thread Count

    It’s best to buy a percale sheet with a 200 to 400 thread count. A too high thread count is expensive. A too low thread count gives a coarse feel. 

    3. Cost

    Sheets made with 100 percent ELS cotton have good quality but are expensive. If you are looking for breathable but cheaper options, you can consider percale sheets made with a cotton blend. These sheets are comparatively wrinkle-resistant as well. 

    4. Warranty

    Make sure you check the warranty and return policy before buying bed sheets. We recommend you look for brands that offer home trials

    5. Material and Weave

    Percale weaves are excellent for hot sleepers or people who live in warm climates. If you are a cold sleeper, sateen weave or materials like fleece and flannel are better options for you. 

    Conclusion

    Percale sheets offer everything you need for sound sleep. These sheets are crisp, airy, and durable. Upgrade your bedding to percale fabric to improve your comfort at night. 

    Happy sleeping!

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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