Ever wondered why Egyptian cotton is better than regular cotton? Or whether there is any difference at all? We’ve explained everything you need to know about the best type of cotton for bedding and towels.
What is Egyptian Cotton?
‘Egyptian’ cotton refers to the origin of the plant used to create the cotton. Cotton plants in Egypt grow in a unique climate that creates the perfect growing conditions, which result in super fine and long yarn.
For many years, Egyptian cotton has been widely regarded as the best when it comes to softness and durability. If the cotton used is not from a plant in Egypt, then it cannot be considered ‘Egyptian’ cotton.
What is the difference between Egyptian cotton and regular cotton?
Aside from the origin of the plant, there are many things that differentiate Egyptian cotton from regular cotton. Firstly, Egyptian cotton is handpicked whereas regular cotton is picked by a machine. This is a crucial step in the manufacturing process that can have a huge effect on the quality of the yarn. Handpicking Egyptian cotton allows the cotton fibres to be handled delicately, reducing the risk of splicing as less stressed is placed on the fibres, keeping them intact. This also plays a major part in the longevity of the cotton, as it can withstand frequent washing because it is stronger.
When regular cotton is picked by a machine, more stress is placed on the cotton fibre and results in a weaker yarn that splices. This can create a coarser texture resulting in an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
Egyptian cotton also has a smaller diameter when compared to other cotton. A smaller diameter allows more threads per square inch to create a strong and lustrous bedsheet.
Is Egyptian Cotton better than Regular Cotton?
For a long time, it was thought that a higher thread count resulted in a better quality sheet, regardless of the type of cotton used. However, in recent years, fabric specialists have discovered that the origin of the cotton makes an incredible difference to the quality, durability, longevity of the yarn, and Egyptian cotton is considered to be the best.
The strong and unbroken yarn of Egyptian cotton results in a fabric that is flexible. This means that 100% Egyptian cotton bed sheets feel super soft and can last even longer than regular cotton. It also doesn’t pill, unlike other cotton, even after many washes. Again, this is thanks to the unique qualities of the Egyptian cotton plant as it doesn’t produce much lint.
The yarn of Egyptian cotton is also more porous, enabling the fabric to absorb more liquid and colour in the dying process. Therefore, unlike other cotton bedding that can fade over time, 100% Egyptian Cotton remains bright and vibrant, adding colour to your interiors. This is also handy when thinking about towels, as 100% Egyptian Cotton towels are ultra-absorbent and become even softer over time.
Finally, Egyptian cotton is superior because of the natural breathability of the material. Air can easily pass through the sheets, resulting in a more comfortable night’s sleep. Poor quality cotton, however, will cause you to feel overheated in the night.
What does Thread Count mean?
As well as looking for the type of cotton used in your bedding, another important aspect to consider is the thread count. For quality bed sheets, you really need to be looking at bedding that has a 200 thread count or higher. The higher the thread count, the better quality the bedding.
But what exactly does thread count mean? Put simply, the thread count refers to the amount of warp and weft (threads going down and across) within a single square inch. So, with a 200 Thread Count, there are 200 overlapping threads within one square inch. The higher the number, the more threads per square inch and the denser the fabric.
200 Thread Count creates bedding that feels luxuriously soft and is super easy to wash and care for. This is because the fabric is very flexible. However, at the other end of the spectrum, 1000 Thread Count bedding guarantees quality over many years, yet this is a thicker fabric, perfect if you want that hotel bedding experience.
What is Cotton Percale?
Percale relates to the way in which the cotton fabric has been woven. Percale is a simple weave that is formed by passing weft threads (which run horizontally) over warp threads (running vertically). It creates a very tightly-woven fabric that is dense enough to prevent dust mites from passing through the fabric, yet light enough to allow air to pass through.
How to wash Egyptian Cotton Duvet Cover and Bedding
Finally, we look at the best ways to care for Egyptian Cotton bedding. When cared for properly, 100% Egyptian Cotton bedding can last for decades. Here are some simple tips to follow:
- Rotate your bedding to prevent the same spots bring worn every week.
- Wash on a relatively low temperature (such as 40°C) to keep the bedding in good quality.
- Avoid using fabric softeners and wash it separately to towels and other clothing. This can cause friction resulting in pilling.
- If you can, dry your bed linen on the line. This is the gentlest way to dry your bedding. Alternatively, you can tumble dry on the lowest temperature setting.
Looking for the perfect Egyptian Cotton bedlinen? We have over 10 vibrant colours in our 200 Thread Count range, which is perfect for a mix and match look. Or try out sateen stripe 330 thread count bedding for a hotel look. For premium bedding, our 1,000 thread count bedding is available in six shades.