by Katy Lindamood
Sateen sheets are high-quality sheets woven in the same way as traditional satin. Unlike satin, sateen sheets are made with more common fibers, such as cotton. Sateen sheets are soft to the touch and allow skin to slide smoothly into bed. Sateen sheets are available in very high thread counts, and as such, are quite durable. Take a look below for some of the most frequently asked questions about sateen sheets.
What are sateen sheets?
Sateen sheets are made with long strands of cotton fabric. The fiber is woven in a specific long lateral pattern. Unlike typical cotton sheets, sateen sheets are treated using a chemical process called mercerization. Mercerization is a process during which long strands of cotton fabric are soaked in a lye solution. After their lye bath, they are dipped in an acid wash which strips off the outer layer of the fabric, leaving it with a sheen and texture similar to satin. This process also leaves the strands of fabric with the ability to more readily absorb color, leading to a rich depth of color in the finished product.
Why do sateen sheets look like satin?
After the strands of cotton are dipped in lye, they are arranged in long strands similar to the way that satin sheets are made. Unlike typical weaving methods, sateen sheets are woven using the same method as satin. Satin weaves, including those used on sateen sheets, are shiny because the threads aren't woven into one another as frequently. Instead of a uniform criss-cross pattern, sateen has long sections of thread which lie on top of the threads woven perpendicular to them. Also, like satin, the fabric is stitched only on the back side, leaving the front smooth and soft.
How do I care for sateen sheets?
Soiled sheets should be washed in cold water with mild detergent on a gentle cycle. After washing, the sheets should be dried on a cool dry cycle, with the dryer set on its air-dry setting. Sateen sheets don't require fabric softener or other chemical treatments to make them drape properly.