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What is Egyptian Cotton?

There are many different types of cotton out there on the market achieved by the different species of cotton plants. The most common you hear is Egyptian cotton. What is Egyptian cotton and is it truly superior than other types of cotton?

Egyptian cotton is a term usually applied to the extra long staple (ELS) cotton produced in Egypt. The climate in Egypt allow for the cotton fibers to grow extra long which classifies it as an ELS fiber. Egyptian cotton is usually a 1 ¼ to 2-inch staple. In its purest state Egyptian cotton can create the highest quality fabrics that provide exceptional hand and durability. Pima cotton, a sister to Egyptian cotton, is a generic label that is given to extra long staple cotton that was developed by the US in the early 1900s.

When searching for quality linens, the brand of Egyptian cotton can by tricky. Any cotton produced in Egypt can technically be labeled “Egyptian cotton”. In fact, your linen could be made of a lesser grade, non-ELS quality cotton and therefore be a lesser quality product. Some manufacturers even take the ideal long one ply staple Egyptian cotton and divide it into two ply, which cuts the staple short. A shorter staple leads to a lesser quality product. Some Egyptian cotton labels can be misleading. Some are labeled Egyptian cotton but may only contain as little as 1% within the weave.

Ultimately Egyptian cotton does not always mean superior quality. Remember to read your linen labels carefully.

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