Linens - Fiber Quality

So you are out looking for new sheets for your bed and I would venture to guess that one of the first things you thought about was the thread count. Sure thread count matters, but there are several things aside from thread count to consider when you are buying linens for your home. I am going to break down these points so you can make more informed decisions and not pay for anything more than you need to.

Our first topic is fiber quality. 100% cotton sheets are by far the most popular and widely used type of sheets. There are massive variations in the quality of 100% cotton sheets. The highest quality cotton is long staple cotton. Staple refers to the length of the cotton fiber; the longer the fiber the better because it creates stronger and finer yarns. Among long staple cottons, the longest are Egyptian extra long staple and Pima (sometimes called Supima). Egyptian Cotton and Pima cotton are basically one in the same.

Egyptian cotton, or extra long staple cotton is produced in Egypt and used by luxury and upmarket brands worldwide. In fact, the cotton species which produces extra long staple "Egyptian" cotton is the native American species Gossypium barbadense was introduced in the 19th century during the American Civil War.

With heavy European investments, Egyptian-grown cotton became a major alternate source for British textile mills. Most of what is labeled "Egyptian cotton" today, however, also includes long staple cotton, the product of the other native American species Gossypiam hirsutum.

Gossypium hirsutum, also known as Upland Cotton or Mexican Cotton, is the most widely planted species of cotton in the United States, constituting some 95% of all cotton production. Worldwide, the figure is about 90% of all production for this species.

Interestingly enough, ancient Egyptians made their clothing from linen, a product of the flax plant - not cotton.

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