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What Is Egyptian Cotton?

  • by Mary Babinski
  • 6 min read

In the world of luxury linen, Egyptian cotton stands alone as the superior fabric for bedding and bath linens. Egyptian cotton is grown to exacting specifications in a unique and fertile climate; when ready for harvest, each boll is carefully picked by hand from the cotton plant to protect the integrity of fiber. The result is the strongest, softest, and most beautiful cotton on Earth that delivers the ultimate look, feel, and performance.

The world’s premiere linen manufacturers -- including SFERRA, Matouk, Graccioza and Abyss -- choose Egyptian cotton for their sheets and towels. And it’s an absolute favorite among our clients and the design team at Fine Linen and Bath. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Egyptian cotton so special.

What is so special about Egyptian cotton?

Egyptian cotton fibers are unique among all varieties of cotton. Egyptian cotton is grown under specific geographic and climate conditions of heat, sun, humidity, and rich soil. This makes Egyptian cotton fiber (or “staple”) longer, stronger, and more durable. This long-staple (LS) and extra-long-staple (ELS) Egyptian-grown cotton yields a finer yarn that is smaller in diameter yet stronger than other cottons. This fine, long-staple yarn is woven into fabric with proportionately more threads per square inch of material (high thread count) for a softer, more luxurious feel.

Cotton plant field, attribution: Kimberly Vardeman

Why Choose Egyptian Cotton Bedding?

With finer yarn, Egyptian cotton fabric is denser, and frequently boasts a higher thread count than standard cotton sheets. At the same time, Egyptian cotton is more luxurious, stronger, and lighter in weight. Pure Egyptian cotton breathes exceptionally well; an Egyptian cotton sheet set or cotton bedspread will feel supremely comfortable, while Egyptian cotton towels are wonderfully absorbent.

The Durability of Egyptian Cotton

Fine Egyptian cotton is truly heirloom linen; it improves with age and grows more comfortable as you use it. Bear in mind that the initial feel of Egyptian cotton bed linen is a bit “harder'' than other cottons when the bedding is new. This is due to the tight weave of the cotton used in the bedding set, and will be more noticeable with percale weave sheets (sateen weave will typically be softer). Rest assured that your Egyptian cotton bed sheets, pillowcase, duvet cover, and bedspread will grow softer with every wash. The feel of Egyptian cotton bedding definitely improves with age and -- unlike regular cotton sheets that wear out -- you will prize it more and more with time and use. If properly cared for, fine linen bedding produced from Egyptian cotton can last for decades. When shopping for luxury bedding or bath towels, look for products labeled "Egyptian Cotton" and the words "long staple cotton" or "extra long staple cotton." This helps ensure the towels and sheet sets you purchase are genuine Egyptian cotton.

What is Giza Egyptian Cotton?

Giza cotton is a special type of Egyptian cotton variety that is grown in the Nile Delta, where the soil is nourished by the nutrient-rich waters of the river. Giza is graded based upon the staple length and diameter of fiber as well as its condition. Like all Egyptian cotton, long-staple (LS) and extra-long-staple Giza cotton can be spun more finely. Giza cotton fibers are also exceptional at holding deep, intense dyes; this means Giza bedding and bath linen can be manufactured in a wide range of colors, one more brilliant than the next. Giza cotton products are known for retaining their vibrancy, wash after wash.

Giza cotton is a special type of Egyptian cotton variety that is grown in the Nile Delta region

While Giza cotton is generally divided into LS and ELS varieties, you may have heard the name of one specific variety, Giza 45. Often referred to as “The Queen of Egyptian Cotton,” Giza 45 is the absolute best of the best. Giza 45 is the longest of all long-staple cotton and its fibers possess outstanding uniformity and fineness. Giza 45 is rare, and represents only half of one percent of all Egyptian cotton grown annually. Learn more about Egyptian Giza cotton here.

How to Care for Egyptian Cotton Bedding

With proper care, your Egyptian cotton bedding will last and grow more comfortable and beautiful over time. We always recommend carefully reading and following the manufacturer’s directions. The good news is that almost any Egyptian cotton sheet set can be laundered at home in your washing machine. Follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Launder your Egyptian cotton bedding prior to first use with minimal detergent on a cotton pre-soak. This initial wash will help “set” the threads. Tumble dry lightly. Remember that your cotton WILL wrinkle, so smooth out on the bed.
  2. For regular washing, sort your linens by color and weight. Don’t wash Egyptian cotton sheets with heavy or bulky items like a mattress pad, or items with zippers that can damage the sheets.
  3. Choose a laundry detergent specially formulated to clean and care for fine linen. We recommend Heritage Park Luxury All-Purpose Detergent, a concentrated, enzyme-based formula that can remove tough stains while protecting the integrity of your fabric.
  4. Pre-treat stains prior to washing. Never pour the detergent directly onto the fabric; instead, add it to the water as the wash tub fills, or dilute detergent with water and then add linens. Don't overload the washing machine, as this can cause unnecessary abrasion to the fabric. Wash Egyptian cotton sheets linens on a gentle cycle in warm water, with a cold-water rinse. If possible, dry linens on a line in soft outdoor sunlight, which is gentle on fabric and provides natural “bleaching.” Never use fabric softener or chlorine bleach; oxygen bleach is permissible if the care label says so.
  5. If you’re using a dryer, shake your sheets out and dry on low heat. Never use dryer sheets. If you prefer not to iron, put sheets on the bed while they’re still slightly damp and smooth out wrinkles.

Click here to learn more about caring for luxury bedding; here to learn how to care for luxury bath linen; and here for guidelines on caring for luxury bath rugs.

Fine Linen and Bath: Your Source for Egyptian Cotton Bed and Bath Linens

At Fine Linen and Bath, we proudly carry Egyptian cotton products from the finest home linen manufacturers. We welcome you to browse the many styles of Egyptian cotton bedding and bath linen on our site. Below are just a few suggestions to begin your journey.

Egyptian Cotton Bedding

For those who love the rich, silky feel of sateen, Sferra's Giotto bedding is the ideal choice.

SFERRA Giotto Sateen: SFERRA Giotto’s luminous sheen and luxe drape are simply stunning in a 590 thread count. Available in White and ten colors.

SFERRA Celeste: SFERRA's best-selling percale bedding, Celeste, is woven from pure, extra-long-staple cotton in a chamois-soft 400+ thread count. Available in white, ivory and seven other solid pastel tones.

SFERRA Giza 45: Made from the finest cotton on the planet, SFERRA Giza 45 sheets are the ultimate in opulence and comfort.Available in White and Ivory, 500 thread count.

Matouk Luca (Satin or Hemstitch): Made from soft Egyptian cotton percale woven for the ultimate smooth touch, Matouk Luca is an indulgent and versatile 500 TC percale available in hemstitch and satin stitch.

Matouk Nocturne Sateen:Matouk's Nocturne Hemstitch Bedding is a delicate hemstitch that frames this signature sateen in 600 thread count Egyptian cotton. Available in White and four stunning neutrals.

Egyptian Cotton Bath Towels

The Abyss Super Pile bath towel is a thick 700 GSM long-loop Egyptian Giza Extra Long Staple Cotton delivers unparalleled absorbency and performance.

Abyss Super Pile Towels: Thick, thirsty, 700 GSM long-loop Egyptian Giza ELS Cotton delivers unparalleled absorbency and performance. Abyss Super Pile comes in sixty colors to suit every decor and mood. Read our comparison blog on Abyss’ best selling Egyptian cotton luxury towels.

Gracciozza Egoist: Made of 800GSM 100% ELS Egyptian Giza Cotton, Gracciozza Egoist provides a wonderfully soft feel and the highest absorbency. Thirty-two color options.

Many of our luxury bath rugs are also available in Egyptian cotton. Browse collections from Habidecor and Graccioza Egyptian cotton bath rugs.

As always, the Fine Linen and Bath design team is here to assist, answer questions, and offer personalized recommendations. We also welcome you to take advantage of our complimentary swatch program, which allows you to evaluate a fabric sample at home before you purchase. It’s just one more way Fine Linen and Bath lives our commitment to complete client satisfaction.

Fine Linen and Bath: An In-Store Shopping Experience Delivered to You Online 

At Fine Linen and Bath, our mission is to deliver a concierge luxury linen shopping experience with online convenience. Browse our website to access an expansive collection of bedding, bath, table linens, and accessories from the world's premier brands.

When you need answers, consultation, or help to narrow your choices, our team of expert design consultants is here to assist you. We offer individualized recommendations, personal consultation, and even complimentary swatch samples for your review. We'll help you make the right buying decisions for your style, budget, and design goals.

Please connect with us online or -- even better -- give us a call at (866) 352-4522. We'd love to get to know you!