What is Egyptian Cotton?
On the one hand, there is a simple answer; it is basically cotton grown and picked in Egypt. But… it is also a marketing term created to (sometimes incorrectly) describe high-quality cotton bedding. If it were, in fact, the case that using Egyptian-grown cotton ensured a superior product, all would be well. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Egyptian cotton vs other cotton
We are not categorically saying that all Egyptian cotton is bad – in fact there is some very fine Egyptian cotton bedding available. But what needs to be kept top of mind when looking for luxury bedding, is cotton fibre length, thread count, and weaving technique – is what will truly define high-quality cotton and bedding. We realise you came here for answers, not to be confused, so below we have tried to explain the basics as to how high-end cotton is produced
What is the best type of cotton?
A prerequisite for creating the perfect high-quality cotton sheets is having the longest possible cotton fibres. Known as ‘extra-long staple’ (ELS), this cotton – Gossypium barbadense – is used to make the world’s finest sheets. The beauty of ELS cotton is that you can create stronger, finer yarns that, once woven, will feel soft and supple. This is because these yarns have fewer ties and exposed ends, which can make the cotton feel coarse and rough to touch. We realise that “Extra-long staple spun Gossypium barbadense” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “Egyptian Cotton”, but it is, in fact, a more truthful answer to what the best type of cotton is.
Again, some products, marketed as “Egyptian Cotton” can be woven from ELS cotton, but not all, which is why you need to look past the marketing speak and ask if your sheet of dreams is made using extra-long staple fibres, otherwise you may be left with a slightly rough sheet (not nice!).
So, what are the best sheets to buy?
Funny you should ask. We (like to think that we) have the finest sheets in the land. Obviously made from ELS cotton, and woven using techniques (sateen and percale) to create two distinctly different types of luxurious sheets. With a 400 thread count, the percale weave has superior breathability making it ideal for those of you who tend to get hot at night and love crisp sheets. If you prefer a softer, heavier, cosy feel, our 600 thread count, sateen weave is more likely to be your perfect comfort bedding.
That’s the short answer.
If we haven’t already overloaded you with technicalities, you can read more about thread count here.