The Difference Between Supima & Egyptian Cotton Bedding

Written by bridie cavanaugh
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The Difference Between Supima & Egyptian Cotton Bedding
Supima and Egyptian cottons are known for their quality. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Luxury bedding and high-quality sheets are often first experienced during a stay in an upscale hotel. Guests enjoy the good night's sleep afforded by smooth, soft, comfortable sheets and, once home, decide to buy high-quality sheets for their own bedrooms. The best hotel sheets are often made of Egyptian or Supima cottons, so these have become synonymous with high-quality bedding.

Location - Egyptian Cotton

Egyptian cotton, as you would expect, is grown primarily along the Nile river in Egypt. Any cotton grown in Egypt can be referred to as Egyptian cotton, however; there is no quality standard attached to the use of this label.

Location - Supima Cotton

American Pima cotton is grown primarily in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California. The American Pima cotton growers' association's promotional arm is referred to as "Supima," a marketing name derived from the shortened form of "superior Pima." This group issues trademark licences, which indicate whether a product is comprised of 100 per cent American Pima cotton.

Extra-Long Staple

The cotton fibre used to make high-end sheets usually consists of cotton with an extra-long staple, or ELS. ELS cotton fibres are at least 1 3/8 inches long. Long fibres result in a strong, smooth, luxurious sheet.

Fibres - Egyptian Cotton

Egypt does produce the largest amount of ELS cotton in the world. However, not all Egyptian cotton is ELS cotton. Quality Egyptian cotton fibres are usually 1/2 inch longer than standard cotton fibres. Egyptian fibres are also thinner than many other types of cotton fibre.

Fibres - Supima Cotton

All Supima cotton is, by definition, ELS cotton. According to the Supima Association, a standard staple of Supima cotton is 35 per cent longer and 45 per cent stronger than standard cotton fibres. This makes sheets manufactured with Supima cotton durable and comfortable.

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