Table of Contents
- What Is Egyptian Cotton And Why Is It So Special?
- Seven Benefits of Egyptian Cotton
- What To Look Out For When Buying Egyptian Cotton Bedding
- Final Thoughts
Egyptian cotton is smooth, breathable, and insulating - all at the same time. People often count this cotton type as the best of the best, and they're 100% correct. There's a reason why so many luxurious hotels use this super-soft material for bed linen and towels.
It's the same reason why so many lower-quality sheet outlets try to trick shoppers with a '100% Egyptian cotton' tag. In reality, their cotton isn't anywhere near Egyptian, but they have to sell their product somehow. The title alone evokes a sense of opulence that is irresistible.
However, with so many other types of bed linen on the market, is this fabric still the gold standard? How do the likes of jersey cotton or cotton sateen compare to it? When you find real Egyptian cotton, the material can provide you with several health and well-being benefits.
Egyptian cotton is a material originating from and grown exclusively in the Nile Delta of Egypt. If it can't be traced back to this point, it isn't authentic - even if it is grown in another region of the country. In the Nile Delta, Gossypium Barbadense (used in Egyptian cotton sheets) thrives, thanks to the fertile soil and climate of the area.
This environment allows the cotton to grow to the exceptional lengths that define this luxury fabric. The long-staple cotton allows manufacturers to create linen with higher thread counts than with other cotton types.
In addition to the region's soil and climate, irrigation systems have been in place for centuries that ensure the cotton plant stays hydrated by the River Nile. When fully grown, Egyptian cotton is carefully harvested by hand.
Egyptian cotton is held in such high regard for the following reasons:
1. High thread count
This material's thread count tends to range between 300 and 1,000.
When judging the quality of any bed linen, thread count should be a major point of consideration. The thread count of a material refers to the number of individual threads woven together per square inch of linen.
The final thread count number is determined by adding the total number of threads running lengthwise (warp) with the total number running width-wise (weft).
Egyptian cotton generally has higher thread counts than other cotton types because the staples (the fine strands that make up a raw piece of cotton) are typically much longer than other cotton staples. This means that the staples are extensive in length but short in diameter, which produces a super smooth material.
2. Gets softer over time
The strong yarn and high thread count of Egyptian cotton make it the softest bedsheet fabric around. However, unlike royale cotton sateen, this cotton type may feel a little rough-textured to begin with.
Luckily, Egyptian cotton bedding actually gets softer over time. New Egyptian cotton has chemicals embedded in it, which can make it slightly uncomfortable. The more you wash the sheets, though, the more these chemicals are flushed out. Eventually, your sheets will be chemical-free and super soft!
3. No pilling
Although cotton sateen sheets are high quality, they are likely to pill and snag as time goes on. Unlike regular cotton, the Egyptian cotton plant has low levels of lint, which is the coat covering the cotton seeds.
Lint is often used when producing standard cotton sheets. This causes sheets to pill, which is when fuzzballs form on the fabric's surface. It's annoying when sheets pill, as you have to pick off each fuzzball individually. If you don't, your sheets will soon look old and well-used.
Egyptian cotton duvet covers are breathable, making them a great choice for warm summer nights. The material is porous, meaning it can absorb water far easier than standard cotton sheets.
Moisture wicking is guaranteed with this fabric, which allows for greater body temperature regulation. The sheets actually work to absorb water from your skin. This makes this cotton type one of the most breathable materials around.
Additionally, Egyptian cotton sheets are much lighter than a standard duvet, making the material easy to sleep under on humid nights.
Not many bed linen types could be recommended for both hot and cold nights. The breathable nature of this high-quality fabric also helps to insulate in the winter, which ensures comfortable sleep all year round.
The extra-long staple cotton isn't only super-soft, but highly durable. With more threads per square inch, the Egyptian "version" is far stronger than regular cotton. The thinness of this cotton type also allows for the threads to be woven tighter than other materials. This creates a sturdier weaving pattern and adds to the fabric's durability.
Although Egyptian cotton bedding is built to last, you still have to maintain it. If you wash the sheets weekly, you'll remove the threat of dirt and dust breaking down the sheets. When well cared for, these sheets can last well over a decade.
Not only is the material itself durable, but colour dyes last longer, too. The sheets have high absorption, meaning that dyes are fixed deeper into the fabric. This creates vibrant colours that stay the same after countless washes. So, although you have to wash your Egyptian cotton regularly, you don't have to worry about the colour fading.
Although more expensive up front, Egyptian cotton is worth investing in for long-term cost-effectiveness. Being more durable than the likes of Jersey cotton, you'd potentially only have to buy new Egyptian cotton sheets once every decade.
If you bought 100% cotton sheets instead of 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, for example, you'd likely have to buy new sheets every couple of years. So, Egyptian cotton is arguably the most cost-effective bed linen option, despite its ostentatious reputation!
As we've mentioned, this high-quality authentic cotton bedding inspires many poor imitations. Real Egyptian cotton bedding will grant you all the benefits listed above. Fake Egyptian cotton sheets, on the other hand, will likely be scratchy and non-durable. So, how do you tell what's authentic and what's not?
Look out for the following:
A high price - If you find cheap Egyptian cotton sheets, they're most likely fake. Or, it may feature a small amount of Egyptian cotton, but will likely be mixed with cheap cotton. This cotton type is a sought-after material that's in limited supply. That's why products that are made from it carry a high price tag. So, don't be fooled by cheap knockoffs.
The trademark - The Egyptian Cotton Association marks all authentic products with their official trademark: a dark triangle with a white cotton plant inside it. If the product features this emblem, then you can most likely trust its authenticity.
A high thread count - Egyptian cotton should have a minimum thread count of 200. The higher the thread count, the more trust you can put in the product. It's easy to give this linen type a high thread count, so it makes sense for the manufacturers to do so.
What is the best thread count for Egyptian cotton bed linen?
Generally, anything above 200 is considered a good thread count. However, when it comes to Egyptian cotton sheets, the best thread count number would be upwards of 400. For extra soft nights of sleep, look out for sheets featuring a thread count of 1,000+.
Are 100% cotton sheets the same as Egyptian cotton?
Egyptian cotton sheets are normally made using 100% Egyptian cotton. 100% cotton sheets are generally made using several types of cotton. On top of normal cotton, 100% cotton sheets might include Egyptian, Turkish, and Sateen cotton.
Is Egyptian cotton bedding good for sensitive skin?
If you have sensitive skin, you'd benefit massively from investing in Egyptian cotton sheets. The softness of this material makes it unlikely to give you scratches. If you have a skin rash, Egyptian cotton will be able to provide a high level of comfort and won't irritate your skin further.
The reason why luxury hotels use Egyptian cotton is that it is the most luxurious bedding available. It's not just reputational - Egyptian cotton is genuinely softer, lighter, and comfier than standard cotton sheets. Not only that but it's also more cost-effective and durable, making it a top choice for your home bedding.