When deciphering the quality of bedding – or any fabric for that matter – we often look to a product’s thread count for answers. When it comes to other fibres, this is the standard grading system, but if you’re looking at investing in pure linen bedding, you need to consider its GSM. Not properly acquainted with the terms “GSM” or “thread count”? Allow us to introduce you so that you’re better equipped to buy bedding that suits your needs.
Let’s talk about thread count first, shall we?
Thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch or centimetre of a fabric. Because there’s no industry standard for measuring thread count (some manufacturers use inches, others use centimetres) and “cheating” to gain a higher thread count (through using multiple yarns twisted together) is widespread, many experts believe using thread count as an indicator of a fabric’s quality isn’t reliable. However, generally speaking the higher the thread count, the softer and more luxurious the fabric. It’s crucial not to immediately dismiss bedding with a low thread count, though, as it’s not always a sure marker of quality.
When it comes to the thread count of linen, it’s usually much lower than that of cotton due to the fact that the natural linen fibres (created from the flax plant) are much thicker than that of cotton. Due to this, our signature Bed Threads 100% French Flax Linen Bedding has a thread count of 170.
Got it. So, what’s this “GSM” I see everywhere?
GSM stands for grams per square metre. Simply put, GSM refers to the metric measurement of the weight of a fabric. The higher the GSM of a fabric, the denser the fabric will be. Bed Threads 100% French flax linen sits at 170 GSM. The reason for this? It’s the optimum weight to ensure that your bedding is soft and cosy the second you use it but is durable enough to ensure it lasts for years (and years). Traditionally, linen bedding has been much, much heavier that other manchesters (so it’s GSM was much higher) but this meant it took years (and many washing cycles) to achieve the buttery softness when it lands at your door (and then, your bed).
Now, let’s talk about linen’s durability for a second. If linen were a person, they’d be extremely resilient. Compared with other manchesters, linen thread is far more durable. Couple this with linen’s temperature regulating and moisture-wicking qualities – not to mention, it’s good looks – it’s easy to understand its upswing in popularity.
How to ensure your linen lasts the distance
Don’t ever dry clean your linen. Instead, wash your linen bedding in cold or lukewarm water using a milk liquid detergent (so you’re protecting those lovely natural linen fibres). Skip fabric softeners as they can weaken the fibres of your bedding as linen will naturally become softer – and cosier – with every wash. If you’re throwing your linen bedding in with all your other dirty washing, might we suggest removing anything with Velcro, zippers, buttons, or anything that might inflict damage on your bedding?
Store your linen somewhere cool, dry and out of the light. And, in news that may sadden the more organisationally savvy among us, it’s crucial to avoid keeping your linen in plastic storage containers – unless you’re a fan of those unsightly yellow marks.
If you want to get really serious about prolonging the life of your beloved linen bedding, consider purchasing a couple of sets, so that you can alternate between using the two and reduce damage. At the very least, adding another fitted sheet into the mix is a great way to minimise wear and tear. The good news? There’s no need to iron your linen – the natural crumples are what give this fabric it’s charm and cosy aesthetic.