The Difference Between Egyptian Cotton & American Cotton

luxuriously soft egyptian cotton

Egyptian Cotton is one of the most luxurious and timeless textile materials used today and has been since 1822.

 

While Egyptian and Pima cotton are genetically the same, the climate in which the plant is grown greatly affects what’s produced. They’re both considered extra-long staple cotton, referring to the length of the cotton fibers that make up textiles. However, both cottons are grown in extremely different climates.

 

Pima cotton is primarily grown in the United States and certified Egyptian cotton is grown in the Nile River Valley in Egypt. Both cottons originate from Sea Isle cotton, which comes from the Sea Islands of South Carolina.

 nile river valley

The Nile River Valley is rich in nutrients, making the soil extremely fertile. Egyptian cotton farmers use extensive irrigation when farming so that the cotton plants can receive a continuous supply of the necessary nutrients which are responsible for the growth of the extra-long staple fibers. Egyptian cotton also needs stable, warm weather. Egypt is perfect for this, especially during their summer months when it can sit in a consistent, hotter temperature. Egyptian cotton is also meticulously handpicked by its farmers. No machines are used in the harvesting of the delicate crop. By handpicking, farmers ensure that the cotton is never compromised and the extra-long staples stay intact.

 machine harvesting cotton field

While Pima cotton is also made up of extra-long staples, it is more often picked by machines during its harvest. Roller gins are used to separate fibers from the seeds, although they are still susceptible to breakage and damage while being picked, weakening the fabric before the process of spinning the cotton threads into the desired material. Pima cotton is primarily grown in the southern regions of the United States, like southern California, the Carolinas, and Texas. While the soil in these places is fertile, it is not as fertile as the Nile River Delta, one of the most fertile places in the world.

 

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