It’s a phenomenal pain; the number of ‘this cotton quality is superior’ labels that you find on bedsheet sets.
100% cotton, Organic Cotton, Long Staple Cotton, Egyptian Cotton, Supima Cotton, Pima Cotton, Combed Cotton, Cotton Blends and Micro Cotton
How do you manoeuvre through the claims and come to a rational conclusion? Why; Education of course!
This applies to every façade of life. You don’t get educated about something; you are going to have to depend on ‘faith in humanity’, and start believing whatever you read. The simpler way is to just invest a little time to understand the basics.
Let’s gather a little education before we get to the cotton varieties.
Here is the biggest secret about cotton. Cotton is cotton. It does not vary in how it feels no matter which country its produced from. Yup! Bummer…
So, what are all these claims about? Read on!
A cotton ball is extracted from the cotton plant. Imagine a ball of white cotton candy. That’s exactly it. You then pull this ball apart and stretch it out to separate and reveal its fibres.
It is at this point where the quality differs!
It is the length of the fibres also known as staple that determines the quality of your fabric. Again, the cotton itself feels the same, but the length determines the quality of the end fabric. Confusing? Let’s probe a little further.
The longer the cotton fibres, the fewer joints there will be, the finer and stronger will the final thread be. Threads with shorter fibres also have more loose ends at the joints causing the thread to pill, making it uncomfortable. (Go ahead and google pilling. You’d know what is it when you see it)
Long story short, longer fibres create a better quality thread; not better quality cotton!
Varying climatic conditions coax the cotton plant into producing long cotton staple. It is, for this reason, Egyptian cotton is the king of cotton as it can grow up to 1 3/8-inch, if not longer.
In essence, all the claims you read on the labels are just justifying one thing, and one thing alone; that their sheets are made of long cotton fibres or staple and this is where the problem starts; how exactly do you know if they are indeed made so?
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