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Thread Count

Background

On August 2, 2005, The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") clarified the way to disclose fabric "thread count" (yarns per square inch) on labels and in advertising for household textile products such as bed sheets. According to the FTC, individual threads should be counted as one thread, regardless of whether they are single-ply or multi-ply. A multi-ply thread is one that has been created by twisting two or more single-ply threads together.

Some suppliers had labeled their bedding products with inflated "thread counts" by counting each individual ply. In the staff opinion, the FTC said this action could be deceptive and misleading to consumers because many consumers associate higher "thread count" with high-quality, luxury products.

If the producer or retailer wants to identify a product as being made from plied yarns, the FTC indicated that the product label and advertising should state, for example, "300 thread count, made using two-ply yarns." To label such a product as "600 thread count" would be deceptive.

The FTC clarified its position in a letter to the National Textile Association, ("NTA") whose Textile Bedding Committee had asked for guidance on the proper way to label products.

The FTC cited the American Society for Testing and Materials ("ASTM"), method of determining thread count and the traditional way the U.S. textile bedding industry determines thread count in reaching its opinion.


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This page last updated 5/22/2014.