Types of Cotton used in bedding and bed linen. There are three main types of cotton, but we explore one or two more options here. ‘Normal’ – or Upland – Cotton, makes up the bulk of cotton sheets & pillowcases, with the finer cotton varieties – Egyptian and Pima – offering a longer-lasting, softer to the touch and more luxurious option.
Types of Cotton
Cotton is cotton, right? Not really. The characteristics and prices of different cotton can vary quite a lot. 90%-ish of the world’s cotton is called ‘Upland Cotton’ and goes in to all sorts of products from bed linen, through jeans, to heavy industrial tarps. Not surprisingly, we naturally focus on the finest, more comfortable types of cotton for our beds! Upland Cotton produces a very good quality cotton thread, soft to the touch and generally hard-waring. However, the longer threads produced by the Gossypium Barbadense plant, make our Egyptian and Pima Cottons much softer and luxurious to the touch.
Bluntly – and given proper care – Upland Cotton is cheaper and will need replacing quicker. Egyptian and Pima Cottons are more expensive but will need replacing less quickly.
Upland (‘Regular’ or ‘Normal’) Cotton
Upland cotton is the most commonly produced and used type of cotton. Its short fibres make a cotton not as strong, hard-waring or soft to the touch as better quality, longer fibre cottons. Generally speaking, Upland Cotton products are considerably cheaper.
The vast majority of the world’s cotton is Upland Cotton, a huge amount coming from the USA where it makes up almost 90% of cotton production. Upland Cotton (or Gossypium hirsutum) is believed to have originated in south America, and grows a lot quicker and more easily than finest cottons.
Both Egyptian Cotton and Pima Cotton – classified as “extra-long staple cottons” – have much longer fibres, producing a much longer lasting – and considerably softer – cotton. The fibres are the individual tiny strings of cotton, tangled together to make a thread.
Longer thread cottons are much more resistant to fraying, tearing, pilling, wrinkling, and fading. Egyptian Cotton specifically, is predominantly from the Nile region of Egypt, although it is also grown in parts of South America. The increased cost of Egyptian Cotton is as a result of the amount of Gossypium Barbadense cotton grown, and its inherent increase in softness and longevity.
Both Egyptian cotton and pima cotton offer exceptional quality. With proper care, Egyptian cotton will last a long time.
Both Egyptian and Pima cotton offer a fantastic level of comfort, softness and luxury, and equally long fibre lengths. Pima Cotton is predominantly grown in the USA. Both Egyptian and Pima have the same botanical name, Gossypium Barbadense.
The extra-long fibres of Pima Cotton make for a considerably more luxurious touch cotton. Super soft and hard-waring, Pima Cotton will last a lifetime – if you look after it properly! The longer fibres means a stronger cotton, less likely to tear, or fray. Longer fibres mean a cotton less prone to wrinkles, too!
Other Cotton Varieties for Bedding
Apart from Upland, Egyptian and Pima, there are also fine quality bed sheets available in Organic Acala Cottons. We hope to be introducing organic options soon!