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What are Egyptian Cotton Sheets?

Egyptian cotton sheets can last for decades if properly cared for.
Today, Egyptian cotton sheets can be found in most department stores.
A field of cotton.
Egyptian cotton sheets.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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Egyptian cotton sheets are the standard in high quality bedding. It is considered the “king of all cottons” due to its luxurious feel and its durability. Egyptian cotton is a very breathable fabric. It also resists piling, as the cotton plants used to make it don’t produce a lot of lint. Even though new sheets may start out a little coarse, they will become softer with each washing.

Egyptian cotton is mostly made from a cotton plant called gossypium barbadense. It can also be made from Gossypium hirsutum, another type of cotton plant. Both of these plants are native to America. They were introduced to Egypt in the nineteenth century by Mohammed Ali Pasha, the ruler of Egypt at the time. He developed these plants as a cash crop to support his army.

Egyptian cotton is known for its ability to create extra long staples, or fibers. These fibers can produce thread that is thinner than other cottons because of their longer length. Thinner threads result in higher thread counts. Thread counts measure the number of threads in one square inch (2.5 cm) of material. The higher the thread count is, the more luxurious the sheets will feel. Because the threads in Egyptian cotton sheets are longer and closer together, the sheets can last for decades, if they are properly cared for.

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Egyptian cotton sheets are considered to be some of the finest sheets available. Because they can be made with very high thread counts, usually around a thousand threads per inch (2.5 cm), they tend to sell for prices much higher than regular cotton sheets. It is not uncommon to pay well over $100 US Dollars (USD) for a sheet set. The high price, however, will be worth it in the long run because of how long these sheets can last. You can expect these sheets to last forty to fifty years, or more.

When buying Egyptian cotton sheets, there are a couple things you should know. The first is to understand the differences in thread counts. The second is that some sheets labeled as Egyptian cotton are really made from cotton blends. If you want the real thing, look for sheets that state that they are made from 100% cotton. Pure cotton sheets will cost a lot more than a blended fabric, but they will be of a much higher quality.

Although Egyptian cotton sheets used to only be available from high end specialty shops, they are now available at most department stores. Most online marketplaces carry Egyptian cotton in a range of thread counts and colors. It is not hard to find a decent set of sheets. However, like most things, you get what you pay for. A cheaper set of sheets are likely to be made from a blend of fibers. These sheets will still be nice to use, but you won’t get the full quality and feeling that Egyptian cotton is known for. There is no substitution for pure Egyptian cotton bed sheets.

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appcourt
Post 22

The thing with Egyptian Cotton Sheets as well as most sheets is that the thread count idea is so miscommunicated. The best breakdown is:

300 Thread count = extremely soft, very thin

650 Thread count = very soft, medium thickness

1500 Thread count = very rough (until multiple washes), very resilient

The more thread count the more resilient, thicker, and generally warmer the sheet.

With Egyptian Cotton Sheets also they will wrinkle unless they are:

a: treated with chemicals

b: not 100 percent and have an extra material added to the weave

I just went through a very long, very detailed conversation with a company on this.

anon941202
Post 21

Target's 600 thread count Fieldcrest brand Egyptian cotton sheets are phenomenal for the price under $100 for the king and absolutely wonderful in feel and colors.

anon333536
Post 19

"the higher the thread count the higher the luxury" just isn't true. it's a marketing scam. 1200 threadcount sheets aren't twice as nice as 600 thread count, and 300 thread count aren't half as nice as 600; it just doesn't work that way. Thread count adds weight and thickness. I love my 600 thread count sheets in the winter, but also love my 300 in summer. Watch out for "good deals" on high thread count sheets; often times they're just two ply lower thread count, and of low quality. I don't think anyone would complain about sleeping on 450TC 100 percent organic cotton sheets! Focus on material, not thread count. You'll save a few bucks and be happier in the long run. Organic bamboo sheets are really soft too!

anon260904
Post 16

Most one hundred per cent Egyptian cotton sheets are available at reasonable prices but only in 500 or 600 thread counts. They're beautifully soft but, in my experience, only last about ten years.

I launder my sheets myself and then have them pressed at the dry cleaner/ laundry. That's living -- oops -- sleeping!

anon199492
Post 14

I just bought Anichini flat, white, king size, egyptian cotton sheets; 5 for $50 at the Powerhouse Mall in Lebanon, NH. That store is going out of business. They are wonderful. I'm not sure what the thread count is.

anon136714
Post 12

Can anyone answer this question from experience: If I buy 1500 count 100 percent cotton Egyptian cotton sheets, will they be terribly wrinkled when I wash them? These are the highest thread count I can find and very expensive. But will they be horribly wrinkled when washed?

lieflinens
Post 7

My uncle bought a very fine "Egyptian cotton Sheets" and they are great. I heard he got great discount on it.

anon129048
Post 5

I just bought a queen size set of 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and I washed the today so I could put them on my bed and they are so wrinkled I couldn't believe it.

anon113919
Post 4

I only wish I read this article before purchasing my so called "egyptian cotton" sheets. Apparently I was scammed into buying nice fake sheets at the Big E (a big fair every year in Springfield MA). After inspecting the tag when I got them washed and on my bed, I found they are 100 percent microfiber.

FirstViolin
Post 3

Where can I get discount Egyptian cotton king-size sheets? I really want to get a good thread count at a not-terrible price, but that's really hard to do with a king size bed.

Does anybody have any good inside sources?

zenmaster
Post 2

Let me tell you, Egyptian cotton sheets are Queen-level comfort. I never thought I could sleep as well as I have with my Egyptian cotton sateen sheets.

They are just so soft -- I would definitely recommend people to get them, a true investment.

Right now I've got discount 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, but I'm really hoping to get some nicer ones. I can only imagine how much more comfortable the higher thread counts can be!

yournamehere
Post 1

I am so glad that you said that about Egyptian cotton sheet sets being a little rough to begin with.

I just ponied up for 1000 thread count king size Egyptian cotton sheets, thinking that they would feel like a cloud, and they were distinctly uncloud like.

It's not like they were terribly rough, but I was just expecting it to be super soft. And since the store assured me that they were their luxury Egyptian cotton sheets I thought it might be weird to go back and tell them they weren't soft enough.

Anyway, now I know that I just need to wash them! Thanks, wisegeek!

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