Egyptian Cotton-Really

Published: 03rd September 2009
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Consumers should always be looking for the best quality cotton products made from an extra-long staple cotton ( ELS cotton). The long fibers of ELS cotton make a stronger and more softer yarn, and, in turn, weave into a much stronger and softer fabric. Among the ELS cottons are Pima, Supima and Egyptian cotton. ELS cotton is grown in most countries in the world that produce cotton.

Egyptian cotton is a fine, lustrous, long staple cotton grown in Egypt. Usually staple length of 34mm-37mm. Extra-long staple cottons are more expensive than the commonly available cottons, because they are synonymous with quality and softness. The extra-long staple give the towels and sheets a rich luster and superior softness.

Just because the label says the cotton is Egyptian cotton does not mean that it was from the best Egyptian cotton, it could very well have been made from short fiber cotton grown in Egypt and not be any better than the cotton grown in any other country.

First, we have to understand that in Egypt, just like in every other country that grows cotton in the world, there are cotton plants that grow short staple, medium staple, long staple and extra long staple cotton. So just because the cotton came from Egypt, does not mean that it is the fine extra long staple cotton you would expect.

For example, the label on the towel may say the cotton was from Egypt. But there are many kinds of cotton grown in Egypt such as Giza 45, 70, 88, 76, and 77 in the long staple category, Giza 67, 69 and 75 in the Long-Medium category and Giza 66 and 72 in the Medium category for staple length.

Example would be Giza 87 is a Extra Long staple length of 35.2-37.2 mm or Giza 88 cross between Giza 45 and Giza 77 has a 34.0-35.1 mm staple length. Notice an over 3.0 mm difference in the staple length of the cotton, that makes a difference in the softness of the towel or sheet.

On top of that, the length of the staple of every kind of cotton changes from year to year.

The fiber length, the micronaire (avg. thickness of the fiber), the percentage of mature fibers and the percentage of trash in the bales will vary from year to year. This is true of all cotton producing fields, all over the world.

Second, we must remember that towel mills in Egypt can import cotton from other countries, as well, so they could have imported cotton from the Sudan, Pakistan or Greece and made your towel from that cotton and put "Made in Egypt" on the towel. Just because the label says "Made in a country" does not mean the yarns came from that country, they could have been imported from some other country.

Third, many factories have been known to blend Egyptian cotton with lesser quality or lower cost long staple cottons to make the product less expensive. A home textile product may say on the Sew in Label that the product is of 100% Egyptian Cotton Loops, but in reality, the Egyptian cotton was only 30% and the other 70% was of a lesser quality cotton or another local ELS cotton to reduce the cost. I do not want to put all of the blame on the factory, the retailer must assume part of the responsibility as they may have forced the factory to meet a price point that was unreasonable. However, that local ELS cotton that was blended with the Egyptian, may have been just as good of quality cotton as the Egyptian cotton. You might not even know the difference.

Fourth, in the case for towels, no factory in the world would make a 100% Egytpain Cotton towel, The warp of the towel would be made with locally grown cotton yarns. Since the warp does not touch the body when drying, only the loops touch the body, it would be foolish to spend the money on expensive yarns in the warp of the towel. It is what the lopps are made of that give the towel is softness and luster.

Your best bet to secure good Egyptian cotton is to look for the Pyramid with the eye at the top logo of the Egyptian Cotton Council. This usually means that the cotton being used is of the best quality and not blended with another quality of cotton.

If you want to learn more about Egyptian cotton please visit

Louis Cooper is a veteran of the Home Textiles Market for over 30 years. He has worked with all of the major US retailers to develop creative and unique products and ideas. His web site will educate you about the different types of yarns that best best for towels, inform you about how towels are made and what are the best towel products in the market today for you to purchase.

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