What is Egyptian Cotton
Egyptian cotton is obtained from the plant Gossypium Barbadense, which is also known as Gossypium Hirsutum. It is said that these plants are native to the United States, but were introduced to Egypt during the nineteenth century, by the then king of Egypt, Mohammed Ali Pasha. It was he who had started the commercial cultivation of cotton, so as to make Egypt a part of the lucrative cotton trade. It has been noted that this crop was very profitable for Egypt, during the American Civil War.
Egyptian cotton is said to have extra long, strong, and thin fibers. Threads made with this cotton are found to be thinner and longer than those made from other types of cotton. Cotton threads made from Egyptian cotton can be woven closer, and the fabric made would be soft, yet strong and durable. In short, Egyptian cotton is considered the softest and strongest of all types of cotton. So, such fabric is perfect for bed linen, cushion covers, etc.
Egyptian Cotton Sheets - Features
Egyptian cotton is highly valued for its thread count. The thread count denotes the number of threads per square inch of the fabric. In fact, the thin and long fibers of Egyptian cotton form more continuous threads, and yarns that are smaller in diameter. However, fabric made with such yarns will have a high thread count, which makes it strong and durable. Such fabric will be lightweight and breathable too.
Usually, pilling is not observed in fabric made with this cotton. Though Egyptian cotton sheets are found to have a rough feel, the fabric becomes softer after every wash. It is said that good quality sheets made of Egyptian cotton can last for 40 to 50 years.
Higher thread count is one of the reasons for the popularity of this fabric, which is available in different thread counts, like 400, 600, 1000, etc. In general, a thread count of 200 is required for a cotton sheet, but a higher thread count is always preferable. However, some people believe that there is no need of a high thread count, like those above 600.
In short, Egyptian cotton sheets are among the most preferred choices, as far as bed linen is concerned. As these sheets are very expensive, you have to make sure that you are buying authentic ones by checking the following factors. Make sure that the sheet is made of ELS (extra long-staple) cotton, as you may also come across some low quality cotton in Egypt. Another factor is that the thread count has to be higher. Go for those sheets that are tagged as 100% cotton, and not those made of cotton blends.