Table of Contents
- Types Of Cotton Fibres
- Cotton Weaving Styles
- Cotton And Thread Count
- The Versatility Of Cotton
- Egyptian Cotton: A Closer Look
- Characteristics Of Egyptian Cotton
- Advantages Of Egyptian Cotton
- All About Regular Cotton
- Characteristics Of Regular Cotton
- Advantages Of Regular Cotton
- The Difference Between Egyptian Cotton And Regular Cotton: A Comprehensive Comparison
- How To Choose Which Cotton Bedding Is Best For You
Cotton is an amazing fabric with plenty of unique qualities and characteristics. When it comes to choosing cotton bedding, several factors play an important role in determining the quality of the fabric. Some of these factors include the type of cotton fibres being used, the weaving style, and the thread count.
Most of the unique qualities of cotton depend on the variant or type that is used. This is what has started the debate over what type of cotton is 'better' than the other. By understanding these types and the qualities they possess, you may be able to make a more informed decision on which type of cotton bedding will suit your needs.
The three most common types of cotton fibres include:
American Upland Cotton
American Upland cotton is the most commonly used type of variant in the world and is usually referred to as Mexican or regular cotton. It has long-short staple fibres and accounts for around 90% of the world's cotton production.
Usually, products labelled '100% cotton' (whether it's clothing or bedding) are made from this versatile type of cotton. Additionally, its balance of durability and comfort makes it a popular choice for several textiles.
Pima cotton is renowned for its fine and lengthy staple fibres and usually creates an ultra-soft cotton material. This cotton, along with Egyptian cotton, is at the top of the cotton grade scale and is commonly used to make comfortable clothes like shirts, t-shirts, and dresses. Cotton connoisseurs regard this type as being just as luxurious as its Egyptian counterpart.
Egyptian cotton is noted as having the longest and finest staple fibres out of any other cotton varieties. With a historical connection to the banks of the Nile River, it has gained a reputation as being the cotton variety for luxury and comfort.
As we mentioned before, Pima cotton may be just as luxurious if it is manufactured correctly. However, it's usually used for clothing rather than bed linen. When it comes to bedding, though, Egyptian cotton is the preferred type since it feels amazing against your skin, which makes for a restful night's sleep.
In terms of textiles, the choice of weaving style can influence the texture, appearance, and quality of fabrics. When it comes to cotton, three distinct weaving types stand out. These include the Oxford, percale, and sateen weaves. Each of these weaves has unique characteristics and applications that make them ideal for different purposes.
The Oxford weave is a classic weaving style that results in more rustic fabrics. The style is characterised by multiple threads that are woven in a basketweave pattern.
This pattern involves one thread running over two threads in the warp or lengthwise direction, and one thread running under another two in the weft or widthwise direction. In turn, it creates a more pronounced texture with a very distinctive checkerboard appearance.
Oxford weave fabrics are known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear. Because of the overlapping threads, they're quite robust and are well-suited for luxury clothing.
They're also great for breathability, which is why they're used for lightweight garments like casual shirts. In some cases, Oxford weave fabrics can also be used for formal attire if they're spun from finer yarns.
Percale weave has more of a crisp and clean appearance and has an elegant simplicity that is part of its charm. For this style, one warp thread passes over one weft thread in a one-to-one ratio. This creates a tightly woven, matte fabric with a lovely smooth surface.
Because of their cool and crisp feel, percale cotton bedding makes for a fantastic choice for hot sleepers. They're super breathable and have moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable during hot summer nights.
Additionally, percale woven bed linen is naturally resistant to pilling, making it perfect for durability and longevity. Their tight weave also means that they can withstand frequent washing and drying, making them easy to care for.
Sateen weave is synonymous with luxury and smoothness. This weaving style is achieved by weaving four weft threads over one warp thread, resulting in a lustrous surface with a satin-like sheen.
The silky texture feels amazing. The sateen cotton bedding slides against the skin and feels luxurious and elegant. Of course, this means it's the perfect pick for high-quality bed sheets and opulent garments.
Unlike percale, sateen has a slightly warmer feel compared to other weave styles. So, if the weather is cooling down, sateen cotton bedding is a great choice for warming up your bed. This is also because sateen bedding typically has a higher thread count than percale, for example, 600 thread count sateen.
Lastly, sateen fabrics usually drape beautifully, which creates a graceful and stylish appearance for bed linen and clothing.
Thread count refers to the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric. And, while some people believe that thread count equates to the quality and feel of fabrics, this isn't necessarily true. Although it can affect the quality of certain fabrics, the quality is usually more dependent on the fabric that is being used and not the thread count.
In terms of cotton, the thread count can make a slight difference to your comfort. For example, the cotton fibres used in Pima or Egyptian cotton produce softer and more comfortable bed sheets.
Still, when you're choosing new cotton bedding, you'll want to choose the properties that suit you and your sleeping preferences. As long as you're comfortable, you can guarantee better sleep quality!
The thread count for cotton bedding can range from 150 - 1,000 threads per square inch. However, the most common thread count for quality bed sheets usually falls between 200 to 400 for regular cotton and 300 to 800 for Egyptian cotton sheets.
It's important to remember that thread count can also have an impact on a fabric's breathability. This is because a higher thread count means a tighter weave. In turn, this also means that the bed linen is less breathable and is better for cooler weather. On the other hand, 200-thread-count cotton bedding is more lightweight and breathable, making it the ideal choice for warmer weather.
Cotton's versatility is one of its defining features. It's a top choice for a wide range of products, from clothing to home furnishings and beyond. Cotton's natural properties and adaptability have made it a top choice for bedding, as well.
Cotton is lightweight and breathable, so it's the perfect fabric for warmer weather. It's also extremely compatible with fabric dyeing and manufacturers often dye it with different colours and patterns to make it more versatile.
Cotton's comfort and durability are what really set it apart in the world of bed linen, though. From sheets and pillowcases to duvet covers and blankets, cotton is often the preferred fabric for everyday linens since it creates a naturally comfortable and restful sleeping environment.
As if it couldn't get any better, cotton is also eco-friendly! Cotton is biodegradable and sustainable, which makes it an environmentally conscious choice for consumers and manufacturers. This is particularly true for organic cotton, which is produced without any chemicals or genetically engineered cotton plants.
It's no secret that Egyptian cotton is known for its exceptional quality, luxurious feel, and incredible reputation in the world of textiles. Egyptian cotton comes from the Gossypium barbadense cotton plant, which has its roots in the Nile River Valley.
The historical connection between Egypt and cotton dates back centuries, making it one of the world's oldest cotton-producing regions. The warm climate, rich soil, and water supply from the Nile River combine to create the ideal conditions for growing this superior-quality cotton.
The reputation of Egyptian cotton goes beyond its geographical origins, though. During the early 19th century, it started to gain international recognition for its quality and exceptionally long and fine fibres.
Because of this recognition, it naturally led to widespread cultivation in different parts of Egypt. This is what solidified its place as one of the most revered cotton variants in the world.
Like any other type of cotton, authentic Egyptian cotton has its own set of characteristics that set it apart from the rest. The main defining characteristics of Egyptian cotton include fibre length, strength, and fineness.
Of course, the most significant feature of Egyptian cotton is its fibre length. Its fibres are significantly longer than other cotton varieties, and can sometimes measure up to 38 to 50 millimetres (1.5 to 2 inches). This extended fibre length only adds to the strength and smoothness of Egyptian cotton and helps to distinguish it from regular cotton.
Not only is authentic Egyptian cotton known for its long fibres but for the strength of these fibres as well. Egyptian cotton fibres are incredibly robust, which helps to contribute to the durability and longevity of bed linen and other textiles made from this type of cotton. The strength of Egyptian cotton bedding also helps it withstand regular washing and use without wear and tear.
When it comes to bed linen, Egyptian cotton stands head and shoulders above its counterparts. This may be because Egyptian cotton bedding is woven with the fabric's ultra-fine fibres that feel soft and luxurious.
As you're sleeping, you can definitely feel the difference between Egyptian cotton and other bedding materials. Once the fine fibres are woven together, they create a smooth surface that enhances your sleep quality and can transform your bed from blah to superstar!
Although you may hear bedding aficionados going on about how amazing Egyptian cotton bedding is, they hardly ever get into the nitty-gritty of what exactly makes it such an incredible investment. Well, don't worry! We're here to break down a few of the top advantages of Egyptian cotton sheets and bed linen to illustrate why it's a go-to choice for any discerning consumer.
Here is a handful of our favourite advantages of Egyptian cotton bedding:
Softness: We've already spoken about how incredibly soft Egyptian cotton is, but it's worth mentioning it again. Seriously, once you experience a night on Egyptian cotton bedding, you won't want to go back to anything else!
Comfort: Since Egyptian cotton is so soft, it's also exceptionally comfortable. Unlike other fabrics that may be scratchy, have too much texture, or just generally feel irritating against your skin, Egyptian cotton feels like sleeping on a cloud. The texture is smooth and won't irritate sensitive skin. This makes for a fantastic sleeping surface.
Durability: Egyptian cotton fibres are really, really strong. This helps to contribute to the durability of products that use this type of cotton. In turn, this also helps Egyptian cotton bedding to maintain its quality and appearance - even after repeat washes.
Long lifespan: Since products woven from Egyptian cotton are more durable, it means they're a great investment if you want your bedding to last for several seasons. Its lifespan is thanks to its incredible quality, which is perhaps another reason that people absolutely love it!
Breathable: The fine, long fibres of Egyptian cotton create more breathable fabrics that allow for air circulation. Of course, this means that it's a great choice for sleepers who struggle with night sweats and hot flashes.
Moisture-wicking: Another win for hot sleepers is that Egyptian cotton is fantastic for moisture absorption. In the warmer months (when you tend to sweat a little more in your sleep), the fabric will pull moisture away from your body and keep you dry and cool all night long.
Aesthetically pleasing: Egyptian cotton bedding often has a lustrous sheen that adds a touch of opulence to your average bed linen. If you want your bed to look as good as it feels when you climb under the covers, then Egyptian cotton is the perfect choice for you.
Thread count: For discerning sleepers who take thread count into consideration, Egyptian cotton is a top contender. Usually, high-quality bed sheets made from Egyptian cotton have a thread count that ranges between 300 to 800. Usually, most consumers tend to opt for something in the mid-range of 400 thread count Egyptian cotton.
Versatile: The versatility of Egyptian cotton allows it to be used for a range of textiles, from clothing to bedding and more. Usually, products made from Egyptian cotton are considered high-end, which can drive up the price tag. However, you can be sure that you're paying for quality.
Hypoallergenic: Because of its natural properties and the way that Egyptian cotton is processed, it's less likely to cause allergic reactions or skin allergies.
Environmentally friendly: Plenty of Egyptian cotton producers prioritise sustainable and eco-friendly processes. Using these cotton plants and specific cultivation methods promotes responsible agriculture and minimises the environmental impact of farming.
Resistant to pilling: Egyptian cotton has a smooth texture that is naturally resistant to pilling, which means it will keep its texture and appearance over time.
Easy to care for: Despite being a luxury fabric, Egyptian cotton is actually relatively simple to care for. It can easily withstand regular washing and drying and will only get better with time!
Regular cotton, produced by the Gossypium hirsutum cotton plant, has a history that is spread throughout the globe. Regular cotton cultivation can be traced back to the 5th millennium B.C. in India, which makes it one of the earliest hubs of cotton production and weaving.
Eventually, regular cotton spread to the Americas through trade and exploration, which is what introduced the rest of the world to the wonders of this incredibly versatile textile. Still, the turning point for regular cotton took place during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.
It was this transformative era that acted as the starting point for cotton mills in Europe and the United States and completely turned the world of textile manufacturing on its head.
Today, regular cotton (also known as American Upland cotton) is the most widely planted and used cotton variety around the world. As we've mentioned before, regular cotton actually accounts for around 90% of the world's cotton production!
To illustrate one key difference between Egyptian cotton and regular cotton, it's only fair that we examine the same fibre characteristics as we did for Egyptian cotton. To get a sense of just how different these cotton types are, let's take a closer look at the length, strength, and fineness of the fibres of regular cotton.
Regular cotton fibres have a more moderate staple length. The fibres range from 25 to 38 millimetres (1 to 1.5 inches), which makes them suitable for a ton of different uses and products. Regular cotton can be used for the same applications as Egyptian cotton but is usually considered less luxurious. It is more commonly used for relaxed clothing and standard bedding.
Since the fibres of regular cotton are still of a good length, they can create strong, durable fabrics. They are strong enough to withstand daily use and regular washing and drying, but some variations may be less durable than others. When it comes to regular cotton, there are some bed linens that are better quality than others, so it's important to be discerning when buying cotton bedding.
The fineness of regular cotton fibres can vary, depending on how the cotton has been cultivated and manufactured. Usually, organic cotton has finer fibres. Still, normal cotton can generally offer a balanced texture that strikes a good middle ground between coarse and super soft material.
Egyptian cotton and normal cotton share a lot of the same benefits, which is why it can be so tricky to pick between them. But when it comes to choosing your bedding, it all rests on what you deem to be the most important features and what matters to you for creating a relaxing sleeping environment. By knowing what each type has to offer, you'll be able to make a more informed decision.
The main advantages of standard cotton include:
Affordability: Standard cotton is much easier to source and manufacture. Since cotton producers mainly use regular cotton, they can lower the price points of their products. Therefore, this type of cotton is much more affordable than other materials.
Versatility: Because of its moderate staple length and strength, standard cotton is extremely versatile. It can be used to make soft, comfortable bedding or more durable textiles like denim (yes, denim is made from cotton!).
Easy to care for: Cotton is great for everyday use and is really easy to care for. Our Easycare Cotton Bedding can be washed and dried regularly, without degrading its quality.
Breathability: Like other cotton varieties, standard cotton is made to be lightweight and breathable. This is why cotton is so popular for warmer weather since it doesn't cling to your body and has enough space within its weave to allow for a good amount of airflow.
Natural fibre: Regular cotton is a natural, biodegradable fibre. Much like its Egyptian counterpart, it's a good choice for environmentally-conscious consumers. Additionally, organic cotton uses more sustainable production methods, making it the ideal choice when you're picking out standard cotton varieties.
Fabric dying: Standard cotton accepts and absorbs dyes really well. In turn, it can be dyed with different colours and patterns to create more unique products without ruining the integrity of the fabric.
Availability: Because standard cotton is the most common variety that is produced and manufactured, it only makes sense that it's more widely available than other types like Pima or Egyptian cotton. Coupled with the affordability of this type of textile, it becomes a lot more available to a wider range of consumers than other quality fabrics.
Blends: Regular cotton blends well with other fibres, which can lead to the creation of several different fabric blends. It also combines its advantages with other textiles, such as polyester for wrinkle-free bedding or elastance for stretchier materials.
Cotton is one of the most widely used fabrics in the entire world, but there are still some differences in the types of textiles that are produced by different cotton plants.
Although Egyptian cotton is touted as the crème de la crème of cotton fabrics, there's one question that we keep asking ourselves: Is Egyptian cotton bedding really better than regular cotton? And how do they compare in a direct head-to-head comparison?
To explore this a little further, we've matched up these cotton types to see which one comes out on top.
Egyptian cotton vs. Regular cotton: Fibres
The first difference between Egyptian cotton and regular cotton is their fibres. Egyptian cotton fibres are much longer, which only adds to their strength and durability. They are also slightly finer than standard cotton, which is what makes them softer to the touch.
This doesn't mean that cotton is worse, though. For some people, the difference between Egyptian cotton and standard cotton is extremely subtle and doesn't affect their sleep quality. On the other hand, there are also individuals who swear by the unique qualities of Egyptian cotton bedding for a good night's sleep.
It may also be important to note that the quality of regular cotton bed sheets can vary depending on where it was cultivated, the way it was produced, and the manufacturing and finishing processes. Therefore, not all standard cotton fabrics are made equal.
Egyptian cotton vs. Regular cotton: Thread count
Despite popular opinion, thread count isn't the be-all and end-all when it comes to quality. And although Egyptian cotton typically has a higher thread count than standard cotton, it may not always make as much of a difference as you might think.
Usually, a high-quality bedding set made of standard cotton may even be comparable to Egyptian cotton linens. For example, the contrast between 400-thread-count cotton and 540-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets may be less obvious than between low-thread-count blended cotton sheets and authentic Egyptian cotton bedding with a higher thread count.
Since Egyptian cotton is made with finer threads and has a tighter weave, it naturally has a higher thread count. In fact, you can even get ultra-soft and luxurious 1000-thread-count Egyptian cotton fabrics!
Standard cotton doesn't naturally have thread counts in these ranges, though. Instead, most bedding made from regular cotton ranges between 200 and 400 thread counts. While you can get some fabrics that have a higher count, they're not always as soft or opulent as Egyptian cotton.
Egyptian cotton vs. Regular cotton: Feeling
When it comes to the overall feel and comfort of bedding, the difference between Egyptian cotton and standard cotton really boils down to a matter of personal preference.
Egyptian cotton is often praised for its luxurious feel and amazing breathability. The longer staple fibres and finer weave contribute to a fabric that is soft, smooth, and comfortable against the skin. Plus, its natural breathability allows for better moisture absorption and temperature regulation, which makes it a great choice for bedding in almost any climate.
While regular cotton is also comfortable, it may have a slightly coarser texture because of its shorter staple fibres. However, there are plenty of people who prefer the familiar feeling of standard cotton, and it is still a popular choice for bedding.
Egyptian cotton vs. Regular cotton: Durability
Egyptian cotton is typically more durable than standard cotton. In fact, it's known for its ability to withstand regular washing and use without showing too many signs of wear and tear. Egyptian cotton also tends to become softer the more it's washed, which makes it a great long-term investment for bedding that will last season after season.
On the other hand, regular cotton can also be pretty durable - if you choose the right type and quality of cotton bedding. However, the shorter fibres lead to a quicker breakdown of the fabric. This is particularly true if you're washing or using the bedding frequently.
It's important to note that while standard cotton can break down a little quicker, that doesn't necessarily mean that your bedding won't last as long as Egyptian cotton. Instead, it just means that you'll need to take extra care when laundering your sheets, and you'll want to be more discerning when picking out the type of cotton fabric you want to buy.
Egyptian cotton vs. Regular cotton: Price
The superior qualities of Egyptian cotton come at a price - and quite a hefty one in some cases. Because it is less common and only really cultivated in one geographical region, Egyptian cotton products are not as readily available as standard cotton.
The higher cost of this cotton can also be attributed to the very specific harvesting and manufacturing processes it needs to go through, as well as the overall feeling of luxury that you can expect.
Adversely, standard cotton is incredibly easy to source and doesn't require meticulous cultivation and manufacturing methods (or, at least, less meticulous than Egyptian cotton).
While standard cotton is sold at various price points, it's still usually cheaper than Egyptian cotton bed linens. And, while some types of regular cotton may not match up to their more extravagant counterparts, it's a great choice for anyone who is on a budget.
Egyptian cotton vs. Regular cotton: Authenticity
When you're shopping for cotton linens, you'll want to keep an eye out for their labelling to ensure their authenticity. To make sure that you're only buying the best kinds of cotton, you should always look for a label that says 100% cotton (for regular cotton) or certifications from certain organisations (Egyptian cotton).
Not all products that are labelled 'Egyptian cotton' are 100% authentic Egyptian cotton, and there are some manufacturers who will intentionally mislabel their products to drive up the price and trick consumers. Make sure to look for certifications and labels from organisations like the Cotton Egypt Association.
The first step to picking the best cotton-based bedding is to understand and identify the different types of cotton. Based on our breakdown of the most common types, you should have a good understanding of the types that you can expect to find at reputable bedding companies like Belledorm.
While cotton is a natural fibre, the specific variety and origin of the cotton can significantly impact the quality of the fabric. Besides discerning between regular or Egyptian cotton for your perfect sleeping space, you may also want to pay attention to some of the following factors:
Pay attention to the thread count
Thread count refers to the amount of threads that are woven into every square inch of fabric. With the standard thread counts for cotton in mind (between 200 to 400 for regular cotton, and 300 to 800 for Egyptian cotton), you can easily find your perfect bed linen. In some cases, Egyptian cotton can also range up to 1000 thread count, but you'll want to be wary of extremely high thread counts.
Some manufacturers use inflation methods to 'bulk up' the thread count of their products as a marketing tactic. You should always keep an eye out for remarkably high thread counts since they may not necessarily indicate higher quality. Plus, you should only buy your linens from trusted sellers who stock well-known brands.
Ultimately, the best cotton linens for you are the ones that feel most comfortable against your skin.
Although Egyptian cotton is known for being soft, some sleepers prefer a more textured duvet cover or sheet. Similarly, some regular cotton bed sheets are heavier than Egyptian cotton sheets. For cold sleepers who want a little bit of extra warmth, this may be more attractive than the cooler feel of Egyptian cotton.
If it's at all possible, you should try to get a feel for your bedding before you buy it. Try to run your hands over the fabric and see how it compares to the other cotton type. You may find that a standard cotton bed sheet is much more appealing or that it suits your sleep style a lot more.
Either way, your bedding is an extension of your personal preferences for clothing and other textiles. There isn't necessarily a 'right' or 'wrong' answer here - it's all about what's going to work for you, the climate in your region, and your budget.
Stick to your budget
The last thing to consider before buying your new bedding is your budget. While it may seem like a good idea to buy luxury bedding just for the sake of it, you don't want to break the bank to dress your bed when you can find high-quality (and highly comparable) versions of the same bedding in your price range.
While Egyptian cotton can be a good investment thanks to its longer lifespan, you'll also want to buy a few sheet sets to rotate throughout the year and when you need to wash your linens. If you can't afford to buy more than one set, it may be better to buy a few sets of cheaper fabric instead.
Is Egyptian cotton better than regular cotton?
Egyptian cotton is a type of cotton, but it is usually regarded as 'better' than regular cotton.
What distinguishes the two from one another is that Egyptian cotton comes from a specific type of cotton plant that is grown in Egypt. It's believed that the soil conditions and growing environment contribute to an overall higher-quality product.
Although Egyptian cotton is considered to be superior quality because of its longer fibres and texture, whether or not it's the better choice depends on your preferences and needs.
For luxurious bedding and clothing, Egyptian cotton is typically the favoured material. However, a more budget-friendly option for the everyday shopper is usually regular cotton.
What is the difference between 100% cotton sheets and Egyptian cotton sheets?
The main difference between Egyptian cotton and 100% cotton lies in the kind of cotton that is used. Although you may see '100% cotton' on your bedding, it only means that the bedding has been entirely made from cotton linen.
The type of cotton that is used, however, can vary. This means that 100% cotton bedding can include Pima and Supima cotton. It can also include Egyptian cotton bedding.
On the other hand, authentic Egyptian cotton is always made from 100% cotton, since it only uses the specific material that is made from the Gossypium barbadense plant.
What cotton is better than Egyptian?
Generally, Egyptian cotton is considered the highest-quality cotton for luxurious bedding. Still, there are some other varieties that can stand against Egyptian cotton and hold their own. Rather than being 'better' or 'worse' than the other cotton types, they are usually on par with one another.
The best types of cotton include Pima cotton, which is grown in the United States, and Supima cotton, which is just a trademarked name for American-grown Pima cotton. If you're trying to choose between several types of cotton, it will all boil down to your preferences, the cost, and the availability of certain bedding sets.
Is Egyptian cotton bedding more expensive than regular cotton bedding?
Yes, Egyptian cotton is typically more expensive than regular cotton bed sheets. The inflated cost of Egyptian cotton is primarily due to its premium quality, the longer fibres, and the meticulous cultivation and manufacturing processes that the material is put through.
Although regular cotton is cheaper, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's sub-standard quality, though. Other types of cotton bedding can be just as luxurious as Egyptian cotton at a much lower price point. Similarly, some manufacturers may not produce the best products with Egyptian cotton, but can still charge astronomical prices!
To be sure you're only buying the best-quality bed sheets, you'll want to buy your linens from Belledorm's incredible range. We only stock the best of the best!