EGYPTIAN COTTON: THE WORLD'S FINEST BEDDING AND LINENS. Egyptian Cotton is considered the most supreme type of Cotton produced in the world, grown along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt in fertile, rich soil. When expertly woven and of the highest grade and length, Egyptian Cotton Luxury Bedding including Sheets and Sheet Sets, Duvet Cover Sets, Bedskirts, Shams, Down Comforter Exteriors, Pillow exteriors, Mattress Pads and even Mattress exteriors rank amongst the best, silkiest, softest and most durable Bedding products available in all of the world. The Extra-Long Staple or length of good-quality, single-ply Egyptian Cotton fibers allow for more continuous fiber to available for use when creating Threads. Egyptian Cotton yarns used for Sheets, Duvet Covers and Luxury Bedding are smaller in diameter yet stronger than other Cottons. This smaller yarn diameter of Egyptian Cotton means that more threads per square inch can actually be woven into the space, creating an overall stronger fabric that is lightest in physical weight of any other Cotton. Excellent Egyptian Cotton Sheets and Duvet Sets will not only feel incredibly soft but will also feel light to the touch, remain light on the body and not weighed down or overly heavy. Excellent grade Egyptian Cotton fibers used in Sheets, Sheet Sets, Duvet Comforter Cover Sets and Luxury Bedding also tend to produce far less lint than other Cottons, drastically reducing natural pilling or what is known as 'surface balling' that can occur during repeated washings and care of Fine Linens.
All of these factors create what is the most well-known characteristic of Egyptian Cotton which is its incredible softness, stunning and beautiful sheen and soft, natural glow. Egyptian Cotton is also prized for other characteristics that are lesser-known however equally important in the creation of the finest Bed Linens, Sheets, Duvets adn Bedding. Egyptian Cotton is more durable and resistant to stress, or 'wear and tear,' than any other Cotton produced. It also has a much higher ability to absorb liquids than any other Cotton, meaning it can hold and retain dyes better than any other Fiber or Cotton, for a spectrum of colors that can't be achieved by any other Cotton. And it's an all-natural Fiber with absolute superior breathability, allowing the body to stay cooler and breathe naturally. An even lesser-known fact is that, because good Egyptian Cotton is hand-picked from organically-grown harvests, allergy sufferers can finally rest easy with this type of Cotton.
Excellent Egyptian Cotton is similar to the 'Rolls Royce' of Fibers. The best Bedding products, made of high-grade Egyptian Cotton, can literally last decades with proper care. It is extremely important to note that different grades, fiber lengths, ply, construction and weaving can dramatically affect the lifespan, softness and durability of Egyptian Cotton Bedding. Not all Egyptian Cotton Bedding is equal, and Bedding made of inferior, Multiple-Ply yarns, short yarns or with poor weaving methods or construction can actually break down faster than even standard Cotton Bedding. The differences between an excellent Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set and an inferior or poorly one is vast, with a majority of Sheets Sets and Egyptian Cotton Bedding available of poorer and poorer quality.
WHAT ABOUT PIMA COTTON? IS PIMA COTTON SIMILAR TO EGYPTIAN COTTON?
Pima Cotton was introduced while Cotton growers were trying to create a type of Cotton that could grow in the United States but have characteristics as close as possible to those of Egyptian Cotton. The goal was to create a Western equivalent of Egyptian Cotton. Pima was first grown in the U.S. in the early 1900's, originally developed in the Southwestern United States and cultivated by the Pima Indians. It is a type of Cotton that has been crossed between varieties of Egyptian Cotton and Uplands Cotton. An Extra-Long Staple Fiber, Pima Cotton is longer in Fiber Length and more lustrous than other American Cotton types and ranks behind only Egyptian Cottons and Supima Cottons in quality and durability.
For approximately 50 years and beginning in the early 1900's, high cost of production and a coarse feel meant the popularity of Pima Cotton remained relatively stagnant. The popularity of Pima Cotton took off in the 1950's, when the USDA and Cotton breeders made a breakthrough in creating Fibers with increased silkiness, better Fiber Durability and high crop yields. Dubbed 'Pima' after the Pima Indians who were helping raise and cultivate crops in Arizona at the time, the new fiber was a hit. Prior to the 1950's, cost of raising this type of Cotton was high, producing a Fiber that was medium to coarse in texture and feel. Arizona was the largest producer of Pima Cotton since its breakthrough until1989, when Cotton growers in California realized that growing conditions in the San Joaquin Valley might be well-suited for Pima production. Pima production in Arizona fell to only several thousand acres, California Pima Cotton production increased to nearly 700,000 bales per year. Also grown in both New Mexico and Texas, California is by far the largest producer.
The most popular type of Cotton for Luxury Bedding is Egyptian Cotton. While Pima is a very good Cotton, Egyptian Cotton is considered the most superior, softest and best type of Cotton available in the World. The best Luxury Sheets Sets, Duvet Cover Sets and Luxury Bedding are always made of Egyptian Cotton. While growers have done a good job of creating a fine cotton with wonderful characteristics with the creation of Pima Cotton, nothing outperforms the softness, silky nature, beautiful drape and sheen of excellent or high-grade Egyptian Cotton and the best weaving mills in the world will use nothing less.
SOME COMMON MYTHS ABOUT EGYPTIAN COTTON:
EGYPTIAN COTTON MYTH #1: ALL EGYPTIAN COTTON IS THE SAME
Egyptian Cotton is not the same and can vary drastically depending upon Fiber Length, Grade, and how it is collected and woven. Because of high demand by consumers for Bedding products Made of Egyptian Cotton, many manufacturers utilize short, inferior Fiber lengths and low grades of Egyptian Cotton. There has also been a widespread trend of manufacturers essentially falsifying Thread Counts by up to four times the actual Thread Count through using what are known as Multiple-Ply fibers, or two fibers twisted together to create a longer Fiber. Weaving methods also vary widely from country to country, mill to mill.
EGYPTIAN COTTON MYTH #2: EGYPTIAN COTTON BEDDING MADE IN EGYPT IS BEST
Egypt is the source of the best Fibers, not of the best Bedding products. There is a huge difference between the source of the best fibers, and the locale of the finest weaving methods. Once harvested, Egyptian Cotton Fibers are transported to the final weaving and construction locale. While a number of countries offer good or even excellent weaving methods, the best weaving methods are known to be in the country of Italy. Germany and France also offer good to excellent Cotton weaving methods however Italian Fine Linens are known to be unsurpassed in terms of method, tightness of weave, stitch, construction, resulting softness, sheen, longevity and durability. Those countries which tend to focus more on mass and output for weaving of Cottons, versus extreme attention to detail and high-end quality, include China, Egypt, India and Portugal.
EGYPTIAN COTTON MYTH #3: THE HIGHER THE THREAD COUNT, THE BETTER
Thread Count is only one factor in determining quality of the best Sheets and Bedding, however this can be confusing as we've all heard so much about Thread Count, Thread Count, Thread Count. This is a hard concept for many of us to really interpret, since we've been bombarded with the concept that Thread Count is the end-all and be-all. In reality, Thread Count is one of the final factors for consideration when purchasing a new Sheet Set. At the top of importance are actually the grade of Fiber, Fiber Length, Ply, country where the Bedding is manufactured, weaving and construction methods and reputation of the company itself.
EGYPTIAN COTTON MYTH #4: THREAD COUNT LISTED ON THE PACKAGE IS ACCURATE
Many times, nothing could be further from the truth. In recent years, many manufacturers have been twisting together fibers to create a 'longer' yarn, yet counting the twisted fibers as individual Threads. The result has been essentially a falsifying misrepresentation of True Thread Count, which has been based on only the final fiber being counted as one Thread and not twisted fibers being calculated into the equation. This method of calculation has prompted an outcry from confused and angered consumers, statements from the FTC and investigations from organizations utilizing professional labs such as Consumer Reports. Sheets Sets and Duvets made of Multiple-Ply yarns can dramatically skew and falsely inflate actual Thread Count per square inch by up to four times or more the True Thread Count. For instance, it's not uncommon for findings such as an Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set listed as 1200TC Thread Count on the package to test at only 297 Threads per Square Inch.