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How to Get Linens That Don't Pill

Susan Walworth

Cracker crumbs in bed aside, nothing is more annoying than bed sheets covered in pills. In case you don't already know, that's the official name of those pesky little balls of fiber that form on linens, sometimes after only a few washings.

These pills can look unsightly at best and interfere with a good night's sleep at worst. Instead of the smooth, soft feel sheets should offer, sheets with pills can make the bed feel like it has been sprinkled with sand. Don't let this happen to you. Choose linens that don't pill.

  1. Decide how much you're willing to spend. It is possible to buy good linens at a reasonable price, but cheap linens are seldom a bargain.

  2. Avoid jersey knit sheets since they are extremely prone to pilling. And even though they are cozy on cold winter nights, be aware that flannel sheets also pill with age and wear.

  3. Choose cotton sheets made with a high percentage of long-staple, or long-fiber cotton. The longer fibers are least likely to break and pill. Look for the words "Egyptian long staple," "pima" and "Supima" when shopping. Acrylic blends are more prone to pilling.

  4. Don't assume a high thread count will guarantee sheets that won't pill. The quality of the fibers is more important that thread count. A high thread count sheet made with short fibers is just as likely to pill as a lower thread count sheet made of short fibers.