Egyptian cotton sheets are possibly the most luxurious, comfortable and durable sheets you can find. Real Egyptian cotton is grown in the Nile River Valley. The weather and soil in this region promote the growth of high quality cotton that has become famous the world over. If you're in the market for some new Egyptian cotton sheets, it's important to know that high thread counts may not add up to the best sheets.
Make sure the sheets are woven from extra-long staple (ELS) cotton. ELS cotton has a staple or fiber length of at least 1 3/8 inch that makes yarn that is thin yet strong. ELS cotton is synonymous with the Egyptian cotton that most people think of, however someone could use the term "Egyptian cotton" on lower quality cotton as long as it was grown in Egypt.
Look for a high thread count. The higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the sheets will be. Sheets with a thread count of at least 200 are good; Egyptian cotton sheets are often made with higher thread counts. A thread count of 300 will be distinguishably softer than the 200-count sheet. Thread counts over 300 are considered more than a person can distinguish, but sheets are manufactured with threads counts of 400, 600 and even 1,000
Be aware of different manufacturing processes when buying imported Egyptian cotton sheets. In some manufacturing processes, two threads are twisted together before weaving to create a 2-ply thread. Manufacturers count each ply as a thread, so the 600 thread count sheets you purchase may actually be 300-thread count sheets, woven with 2-ply thread. The thread count of sheets manufactured in the U.S. are calculated by thread, rather than ply.
Make sure the sheets you buy are 100 percent cotton. Manufacturers may try to get away with selling blends. These products may say "Egyptian cotton" on the label, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Egyptian cotton was the only material used to make the sheets. Inspect the label closely before you buy.
Tips & Warnings
- You may notice the term "percale" on some labels. This simply refers to the weaving technique that was used to make the sheets.
- Not only are Egyptian cotton sheets durable, they actually become softer with repeated washings.
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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