What Is Cotton Percale?
Percale is a closely woven plain-weave fabric which is characterized by a matte and crisp finish. It is worth noting that the term percale describes the weave of the fabric, not its fibre content; so, percale could be 100% cotton, a blend of cotton and polyester, or a blend of other fabrics in any ratio. Noticeably tighter than the standard type of weave used for bed-sheets, this kind of percale fabric has medium weight, is soft and smooth with no gloss, and warps and washes very well.
What Makes It Different?
Like most sheets, it is woven by interlocking vertical and horizontal threads. However, percale fabric is woven in a one-by-one pattern, meaning that the fibers are woven together one by one, instead of in bunches like other sheets. This results in a fabric that is equally soft on both sides and has a much tighter weave and smoother feel. There are even special regulations governing what constitutes a cotton percale sheet, requiring them to be at least 180 thread count. As with any other sheet, the higher the thread count is, the denser the weave and the more luxurious the feeling of the sheet.
What Makes Percale Sheets Unique?
Percale has the unique ability to withstand repeated washings, even over years and years of use. Instead of shredding like some sheets, percale will only become softer with washes. The higher the thread count, the softer it will become and the less likely to pill. The cotton in the cotton percale has the ability to keep the user cool on warm nights and warm on cold nights.
How Do I Care for My Cotton Percale Sheets?
Most manufacturers will include specific washing instructions, but in general, sheets should be washed in warm or cool water, with a gentle detergent and should be bleached only when necessary, as bleach damages the fibers.