What is Egyptian Cotton?

By Marketing Team

What is Egyptian Cotton?


Egyptian Cotton is a plant-based fiber. It is grown for long fibers usually ranges from "1 ¼ to 2" Inch Extra-Long-staple. ELS Cotton is also known as Gossypium Barbadense. Egyptian cotton is not necessarily grown in Egypt but is grown in climate conditions like Egypt. ELS stands for Extra-Long-Staple. Egyptian cotton is used in many articles including sheet sets, towels, and clothing. 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.

Egyptian Cotton Farming

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.

Is Egyptian Cotton Better than Other Cotton

  • Along with what is Egyptian Cotton? I will also add the answer to "Is Egyptian cotton better than other types?" So you will understand more about cotton. There are different types of cotton out on the market, and yes, they do come from different types of plants. Egyptian cotton is a term usually applied to any type of cotton that has extra-long-staple, or fibers. The reason for the name originated in Egypt because the climate allowed for a longer growing period and therefore the fibers grew longer than other types.
  • Egyptian cotton has a fiber which usually ranges from 1 ¼ inch to 2 inches in length. The longer fibers make the finished product smoother and more silk-like in nature. It is also very durable and can create some of the highest quality fabrics in the world.
  • There are other types of cotton, such as the Pima cotton, which is technically an Egyptian Cotton but is not grown in Egypt but in other parts of the world. So, when answering the question, what is Egyptian cotton, the best answer is it is a plant grown and known for its long fibers, but not necessarily its location.
  • Cotton is durable and soft. Egyptian cotton is normally imported and has a range of thread counts from 200 to 800 per square inch. The main thing that aids in this greater thread count is that Egyptian cotton has a longer fiber length which ranges from 32mm to 38mm. These longer fibers are the reason why the fabric has such a satiny feel, long life, and breathability which also helps with cooling the body during hot summer weather.
  • A word of warning here—not all Egyptian cotton has long fibers, but the ones who do can be rather expensive. This is because it is imported, but the long life of the sheets and other articles helps to mitigate the higher cost. One of the most efficient and simple ways to know if you are purchasing true Egyptian cotton is to feel the sheets or fabric before you buy it. Also, take note of the thread count and labeling.

Is Egyptian Cotton Better than Other Types

What is Egyptian Cotton Thread Count

  • We have already mentioned thread count several times, but what exactly is it?  Thread count is the number of threads that can be found in one square inch of the material you are looking at. The higher the thread count, the more threads that are in a square inch and the better the quality of the fabric.
  • Usually, this means the fabric is of better quality, it will last longer with day to day use and have a higher comfort level for the user. If you have ever purchased lower count linen, you will have noticed a tendency for it to “pill”. This term means that the fabrics will fray, and the rough ends will group together into small balls of cotton fibers on the sheet.
  • When this happens, comfort goes way down. It is like sleeping on millions of tiny grains of sand. When the comfort level decreases, the linens have to be replaced much earlier than if the sheets had been manufactured from a higher thread count fabric.
  • Linens that are constructed with 100% cotton, and with a thread count measuring at least 250 to 300 or higher are almost always softer, more luxurious, and of higher durability than sheets of a lower thread count. On the downside, these linens can be more expensive, but if the goal is to cover the bed with soft, luxurious linens, a high thread count must be on the radar.

Egyptian cotton high TC bedding

Variety of Cotton 

Two variety of cotton available on the market, 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 breath-ability, resulting in a high-quality cotton fabric.

Pima Cotton

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.

How to Tell if an Article is an Egyptian Cotton

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.

Does Processing Determine Quality

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. You can ask in the comment section or mail us at hello@aanyalinen.com we are always here to help you.

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