Egyptian Cotton: What Makes It Special

Jan 5


Julienna Thrall

Julienna Thrall

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You are about to embark on a journey that will lead you to understanding the special properties of Egyptian cotton and why it is becoming more and mor...


You are about to embark on a journey that will lead you to understanding the special properties of Egyptian cotton and why it is becoming more and more popular in today’s fashion. Egyptian cotton has been around since the days of the Pharaohs. It has earned the title of the King of Cotton because of its special properties. Let’s explore the origins and use of Egyptian cotton.

Cotton,Egyptian Cotton: What Makes It Special Articles as defined in the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary is: The soft, fibrous, white or yellowish material of high cellulose content, appendant to the seeds of the cotton plant. It is graded chiefly in accordance with the length of the fibers (long-staple and short-staple) and is widely used as a textile, in industry, chemistry, medicine, and the arts.  Now that you have the definition of cotton, let’s compare Egyptian cotton and American cotton.

We’ll start with Egyptian cotton. Cotton in Egypt is made from a plant named gossypium barbadense or a plant named gossypium hirsutum, which is another type of cotton plant. Egyptian cotton is hand picked rather than by mechanical means. This ensures the highest level of purity, as no stress is put on the fibers leaving them straight and intact. Grown in the Nile River Valley, a perfect climate for growing cotton, these plants supply extra long staples or fibers that are ideal for weaving.  These staples range from 1½ to 2¼ inches long, which is nearly twice as long as other cotton fibers. This is a huge advantage over other cottons, as it allows for spinning into very fine yarn, which in turn produces soft, lustrous, strong and durable fabrics. This is only the beginning. Egyptian cotton has other advantages over other types of cotton, particularly in its use in bed linens. Egyptian cotton is very absorbent and this allows for vibrant colors that last longer. It is very durable so bed linens last a lot longer and get softer and more luxurious with every washing. If you purchase 100% Egyptian cotton bed linens that are new they may feel a little “stiff” or not quite as soft as you may expect. This will change with every wash and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. Another specialty of Egyptian cotton bed linens is that the fibers produce less lint and therefore reduces pilling to almost nil. Last but not least, Egyptian cotton is a breathable fabric, meaning it will keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

In the United States, cotton was grown in the Deep South. The Deep South became known for its cotton and was considered the original King of Cotton. There were three different types of cotton grown in the United States.  Two of them were of the long-staple variety called black seed or sea island cotton, which grew better along the eastern coast of the United States. The third variety was a short-staple cotton called green-seed that could be grown further inland. The short-staple cotton was found to be the least difficult to grow, as it is a hardier and more prolific plant. After the introduction of slaves in the south, cotton became more popular. The reason it became popular as an industry is that cultivating and harvesting cotton is very labor intensive, and the slaves provided the labor. Since the short-staple cotton grew better and was less expensive to produce, the Deep South became the place to grow cotton. The invention of the cotton gin greatly lessened the laborious work, making it easier and more profitable to produce cotton. The short-staple cotton gained more and more popularity, but was really a more inferior type of cotton. It was used more and more because it became less expensive to produce and therefore less expensive to buy. The short-staple cotton has very few advantages over Egyptian cotton other than it is less expensive to produce.

There is one more item to be aware of, and that is you should always look for 100% Egyptian cotton on the label.  That insures you are getting all Egyptian cotton and not a blend of cottons. Now that you know more about Egyptian cotton and its advantages and benefits, you will be able to make a more informed decision when choosing your bed linens, sheets, Duvet covers and any other cotton products.