What is Egyptian Cotton?

Choosing sheets can be complicated with so many considerations to make. 
The best sheets to choose are the ones you feel most comfortable sleeping in!
But there are some key signals to look out for.  One of the single most important factors is to buy sheets made from 100% natural fibres. Avoid sheets with descriptions like “cotton rich” and “micro fibre” because they contain synthetic fibres like polyester in the fabric which is not only less comfortable to sleep in but also the source of tiny micro particles of plastic which end up in our oceans.

Products which are called “Egyptian cotton” are associated with premium quality and have been traditionally made from the cotton plant species Gossypium barbadense.  It has the reputation for being one of the finest cotton fabrics in the world which is why when you choose to buy Egyptian cotton sheets or Egyptian cotton towels, you assume that you’re buying the best.

But any cotton grown in Egypt can technically be called Egyptian cotton and all cotton grown in Egypt isn’t Gossypium barbadense.  But products labelled Egyptian cotton are broadly understood to be Gossypium barbadense which thanks to the extra-long staple fibres, produces the beautiful soft, smooth and long-lasting sheets that are synonymous with quality.

All cotton isn’t equal and the quality of the cotton and the sheets produced is  affected by many factors including the cotton species, climate, soil conditions in which the cotton is grown, the way the cotton is harvested and of course the textile production process and weave.

Cotton bolls

 

Ecodownunder Egyptian cotton sheets are as the name suggests, made from cotton grown in Egypt but more specifically in the Nile Delta.  Giza yarn as it is known, is produced from cotton grown in the nutrient rich lands around the River Nile.  This area is characterised by sunshine, high humidity and rainfall, the optimum growing conditions to produce long staple cotton fibres, and the reason why it’s the ultimate Egyptian cotton for softness and breathability.

Why is Egyptian Cotton considered one of the finest cottons in the world?

The characteristic extra-long staple fibres of Gossypium barbadense cotton produce stronger, smoother yarn,  which makes softer, longer lasting sheets.

The natural properties in this variety of cotton are what creates a superior natural fibre, perfect for creating beautiful bed and bath linen.

It produces extra-long strong staple fibres which are higher quality than many other species, woven to create a superbly fine yarn without compromising on the strength of the fabric.  This is why Egyptian cotton sheets are long lasting and often stronger than other sheets.

Egyptian cotton is super absorbent which means:

  • it’s able to absorb and retain colours – which is why you so often see Egyptian cotton towels in strong vibrant colours.

       Egyptian cotton towels in rich vibrant colours

  • it's ability to absorb moisture makes it the perfect fabric to make bath towels.  Egyptian cotton bath towels are renowned for being super plush and absorbent.
  • it’s so comfortable to sleep in with any perspiration during the night being quickly absorbed by the cotton ensuring you feel through the night.

Handpicked which means the fibres are handled more delicately, impacting the quality and durability of the yarn.

Cotton is one of the oldest and most widely produced fabrics in the world, created from a variety of different plants which all have different attributes.  Gossypium barbadense, native to Peru and Ecuador, is now grown widely throughout the world and makes up about 5-10% of the total cotton grown.  It’s first known use dates back as early as 2500 BC where it was used to make yarn and fishing nets in Peru.  

Whilst it’s a tropical plant species, it’s now successfully cultivated in temperate climates and is the main variety of cotton grown in Egypt and the Caribbean but also in Sudan, Peru and the USA where it’s commonly known as Sea Island Cotton.  This variety is also called Extra-Long Staple (ELS), Pima Cotton (named after the Pima people of Southern Arizona) and sold in the US under the trademarked name Supima, and Gallini Cotton.

Little waste - So much of the cotton plant is used.

The fibres of the cotton plant are not only used to make beautiful fabric, but also in other products such as surgical dressing, rope and carpets.

Cotton seeds,  rich in protein, are ground into flour for baking, and the oil from the seeds is extracted for cooking. 

The remaining seed fibre can be used as seed cake, an important source of protein for livestock.

Many parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine as a remedy for various ailments.  Gossypium barbadense is believed to have anti-fungal and anti-tumour properties and the leaves are used in some cultures to treat hypertension and irregular menstruation amongst other health disorders.

There’s no evidence of negative impacts on the environment from production of Egyptian cotton (CABI Invasive Species Compendium (PIER,2102). 

We've extended our sheet collection and in addition to pure linen sheets, a linen/cotton blend, 1000 thread count pure cotton sheets, organic cotton sheets, our signature best selling eco cotton sheets, we have introduced an Egyptian cotton collection which includes Egyptian Cotton Sheet Sets and 900 GSM Egyptian Cotton Bath Towels.

Shop Egyptian Cotton Sheets

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Shop Egyptian Cotton Towels

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