Don't you sometimes dream of taking some of the luxury from one of the best 5-star hotels back home with you? Well, we have good news for you - at least when it comes to bed linen, you can enjoy the same level of comfort at home! In most of the top hotels in the world, you will find bed linens made from fine Egyptian cotton, as this fabric is one of the highest-quality materials in the world.
But what exactly is Egyptian cotton bed linen and why is it one of the most valuable and expensive fabrics? What does the thread count indicate about the bed linen’s quality and how is it manufactured? We will answer these and many other questions for you in this article.
What is Egyptian cotton?
Egyptian cotton, often called Giza cotton, is the name for a fabric made of extremely fine, soft and durable fibers. Egyptian cotton is not only used to produce bedding, but also for high-quality garments such as tailored shirts.
The standards adhered to in the manufacture of Egyptian cotton are very exacting and complex, which is why it only makes up a small percentage of the world's cotton production. Although other materials used to make bed linens tend to lose quality over time, this is the opposite for bed linen made from Egyptian cotton. This fabric is incredibly durable and even becomes more delicate with age.
Does Egyptian cotton always come from Egypt?
Egyptian cotton was first imported to the USA in the 19th century by the governor of the Ottoman province of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, and then became known worldwide. Nowadays, the fabric is not only produced in Egypt, but also in other countries such as India, Sudan, Russia, China and in the USA. Egypt, however, still leads the way in production, as 47% of all Egyptian cotton produced worldwide comes from Egypt itself.
The term “Egyptian cotton” refers not only to the fabric’s country of origin, but rather to its quality. Biologically, this type of cotton is known as Gossypium Barbadense and is characterized by its incredibly long fibers.
What is so special about Egyptian cotton?
Egyptian cotton is known for some particular features, which we have listed here for you.
As already mentioned, Egyptian cotton’s fiber length, or staple length, is extremely long and durable. Egypt’s hot and dry climate creates the perfect conditions for the plant to grow.
The cotton fiber’s length determines how long and, above all, how fine a fiber can be spun. Despite its great length, Egyptian cotton does not lose its strength. Yarn made from Egyptian cotton is particularly strong and yet very fine. Egyptian cotton bed linen with a threat count of 1000 is one of the finest fabrics for bed linen.
Cotton is known for its ability to absorb a great deal of moisture. Cotton is obtained from the seed hairs of the plant and is very often used in the fashion industry. The fiber can absorb up to 20% of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet or soaked. The typical rate of moisture absorption for other fabrics is between 7-10% of their own weight. This is only one of cotton’s many special features.
Of course, Egyptian cotton is also extremely absorbent. This absorbency plays a particularly important role when it comes to making good bed linen. Bed linen should be able to absorb sweat, so that sweat doesn’t accumulate under the duvet and we don't wake up covered in sweat in the middle of the night.
Harvested by hand
Cotton harvested by machines leads to more pollution and also damages the plant. Egyptian cotton, by contrast, is picked by hand so that the fibers are fully preserved and exposed to as little dirt as possible.
Staple length and thread density - what do these two factors say about a fabric’s quality?
A fabric’s staple length and thread density are crucial to its quality and durability. Of course, this is also reflected in its price.
Fibers with a high staple length are used for the manufacture of fine Mako fabrics. Cotton is divided into different categories, depending on the staple length:
- short staple length : shorter than 20mm (mainly from India, Pakistan and China)
- medium stacking length : 20 to 28mm (USA, Brazil and Turkey)
- long stack length : 27 to 34 mm (Egypt, Peru, Sudan, India)
- extra long stack length: over 35mm (Egypt, Peru, USA)
Extremely long fibers can reach a length of up to 60mm and can be used for firm and soft fabrics. These fibers are used to produce fabrics of particularly fine quality.
Another important characteristic for a fabric’s quality is its thread density (thread count or thread per square inch). Thread density is the number of a fabric’s warp and weft threads per square centimeter.
Very thin threads must be used to achieve a higher density. The higher the thread density, the higher the quality of the fabric. Fabrics with a high thread density are very tear-resistant and can be used for a long time without any issues. With regards to bedding, the thread density is normally indicated as 'TC'.
- TC 120 (19 threads per square centimeter) = ordinary bed linen
- TC 200 (31 threads per square centimeter) = good bed linen
- TC 300 to 400 (46 to 62 threads per square centimeter) = very good bed linen
- TC 600 (93 threads per square centimeter) = luxury bed linen
Egyptian cotton bed linen with a thread count of 1000 is one of the best bed linen fabrics available. Theoretically, even a thread density of up to TC 1600 is possible, but too high a density will reduce the material’s breathability. Egyptian cotton bed linen with a thread count of 1000, however, offers good breathability and provides for a perfect sleeping climate. Most often you can get them in the shops as bed linen Egyptian cotton 135x200.
What is Mako cotton?
Originally, the term Mako cotton was used to describe fabrics made exclusively from Egyptian cotton. Meanwhile, cotton from other areas of origin may carry the name 'Mako', if it is made from long staple or extra long staple cotton.
Mako Percale and Mako Satin are two different weaves of Egyptian cotton. Satin is made of different fibers, such as silk, polyester or cotton. Mako Satin is made of 100% cotton and feels extremely soft on the skin. Mako Satin is not only ideal for bed linens but also for clothing.
Percale is woven with the plain weave and is very durable. Percale has a thread density of over TC 200 and a pleasantly smooth surface. Percale bed linen is often used for summer bed linens, but can also be used all year round. Egyptian cotton is used for the production of Mako percale and is therefore very high-quality.
Percale bed linen at Zizzz
To help you get the best night’s sleep possible, we offer you bed linen made from high quality organic cotton percale. Percale bed linen provides an ideal sleeping climate and is also suitable for those with sensitive skin. Our cotton is GOTS-certified organic.
In addition to our percale duvet covers, we also offer fitted sheets and pillow cases made from percale in the matching colors. Treat yourself to a little luxury with durable and comfortable percale bed linens. The quality can’t help but convince you.