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Egyptian Cotton is a plant-based fiber. Egyptian cotton is grown for long fibers usually ranges from "1 ¼ to 2" Inch Extra-Long-staple. It is used in many articles including sheet sets, towels, and clothing. Egyptian cotton is not necessarily grown in Egypt but is grown in climate conditions like Egypt. ELS stands for Extra-Long-Staple. ELS Cotton is also known as Gossypium Barbadense. It is long-lasting and finest fiber available in the market. Egyptian Cotton is considered to be one of the finest fabrics in the world. The next question is, why? Read on to find out what is Egyptian cotton.
Were you a Pharaoh in Egypt in your past life? How about his consort, or other members of the royal house? Well, if you can answer yes to either of these questions, you are more than likely already aware of what Egyptian cotton is. It is a luxurious fabric, which in the beginning, was reserved for the royalty of the land. Its extra-long fibers gave it a rich feel, and the garments made from it were beyond compare.
Of the types of cotton available on the market, there are two types that should be at the top of the list if you are seeking quality linens. Since cotton is graded by the lengths of its fibers, the types of cotton are grouped according to their fiber length.
Widely considered to be the highest quality cotton sheets, Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton are made up of 100% cotton fibers that consist of extra-long staples (ELS) of cotton fiber. This promotes softness as well as breathability, resulting in a high-quality cotton fabric.
Pima cotton is an extra-long staple, or ELS, cotton that is grown in other places than Egypt, such as the southwestern United States as well as in Peru and Australia. With a fiber length ranging from 35 to 38 mm, Pima cotton gets softer with every wash and will feel silky and smooth to the touch. American grown cotton will feature a Supima certification from the Supima Association of America, verifying that the cotton was grown and produced within the United States.
A growing trend in both Egyptian and Pima cotton is organic bedding. Though these fabrics will have the same quality of softness and durability, organic sheets are grown organically and are typically not dyed or at the very least colored using natural, non-toxic dyes.
Pima cotton, as well as Egyptian Cotton, are both eco-friendly and renewable resources, but when classified organic, it designates the way the cotton was raised and harvested.
This can be tricky. Reading labels is certainly a good place to start, but keep in mind that even some brands of Egyptian cotton which is grown in the country, maybe inferior and not of the long fiber variety. Any cotton produced in Egypt can technically be labeled “Egyptian cotton”. In fact, your linen could be made of a lesser grade. Some manufacturers even make the ideal long one-ply staple Egyptian cotton and divide it into two plies, which cut the staple short. A shorter staple leads to a lesser quality product.
True, high-quality Egyptian Cotton is handpicked so there is less stress on the fibers, leaving them intact. This makes for a very fine yarn, makes the fibers stronger, softer and more durable. This also means that there can be a higher thread count per square inch, which also increases the quality and texture of the finished piece.
The material made from true Egyptian Cotton is softer, longer-lasting, and finer than another so-called Egyptian cotton. So, when searching for what is Egyptian cotton, it is always a good idea to check for a higher thread count, the finer weave, and the quality of the sheets or articles of clothing you are looking at.
While you may pay a few more pounds for the quality of pure Egyptian cotton, the items will more than pay for themselves for the long years of wear, the comfort factor, and the way the material stands up to the test of daily life.