Reading the title, you probably thought, “What do you mean my Egyptian cotton sheets might not be the best? Their Egyptian cotton!!” There are some other questions to ask. Were your Egyptian cotton sheets priced so low that you just had to buy a set?
Do they really feel the way you were expecting? Are they starting to wear out in the first year or two? If these questions are making you suspicious, they should. Manufacturers have found loopholes and other ways to trick you into buying low quality, cheap sheets when you are looking for 100%, high quality, Egyptian cotton bedding. So what can you do about it?
The first objective is to be informed. Egyptian cotton is a specific species of cotton grown in a specific area or climate. It’s valuable not only because it creates soft and strong fibers, but because those fibers are especially long. As with any crop, there’s some product that’s leftover. Sure, it’s cotton, but the fibers are shorter or not as high quality.
Those fibers are sorted out and picked up cheaply by some manufacturers. What they do is take the shorter fibers and twist them into long fibers. This creates a weaker, rougher, lower quality product. But wait, it gets worse.
Thread count is defined as the number of threads in 1 square inch of finished product. With long threads, that can tell you a lot, and a set of 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets made in a high quality way will be very soft. In a lower quality set, the real thread count might be, say 250. But if they used four threads twisted together to create one long thread, the manufacturer might multiply that by 4, creating what they call 1,000 thread count sheets.
Even considering them as 250 thread count sheets, they’d be rougher than you expect, but you think you’re buying 1,000 thread count sheets. It’s a rip off. It’s a shame, because when you get home, you pull then out you soon realize they are not the best Egyptian cotton sheets you thought you were getting, or maybe you have never had any before and can’t really tell the difference.
Even if you can live with the fact that it’s a little rougher than you would have imagined, you still think they are quality, but good Egyptian cotton sheets should last you many years. Part of the way the price of these sheets is justified is that they last for up to 30 years. Your sub-par sheets will probably start wearing out in a year or two with regular use. The stitching will come apart on the fitted sheets first.
So when you go out to shop, here are a few tips. Make sure the sheets say 100% Egyptian cotton. Cotton blends can claim Egyptian cotton, but they only have to use a little of it to do so.
If you’re still unsure, you can buy Pima cotton, also known as suprima cotton. This cotton is grown in the southwest US by the Pima Indian tribe with seeds from Egypt that are ELS or extra long staple. They brought in some of the seeds, and started growing within that tribal land. The only difference between Pima ELS and Egyptian ELS is where it’s grown.
Although the climates are similar with long, extended summers, which is what this cotton needs to mature into ELS and attain the fiber length needed to be considered the best of the best.
Do a little reading about the different brands of sheets. If you are unsure of brands, pick a brand that’s used in or manufactured by a quality hotel. If they’re known for their sheets, that’s a good sign. Lastly, don’t buy the sheets if their regular price is too good to be true or if they always seem to be on sale for a super low price.
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