What Is Long-Staple Egyptian Cotton?
When Ariel Kaye, our Founder and CEO, set out to give the world a better night’s sleep, she knew it would have to start with the best fabric: Soft, breathable, durable cotton. Also known as nature’s most beloved plant. So in January 2014, Parachute launched with a core assortment of bedding made with 100%, long-staple Egyptian cotton. But what, exactly, makes Egyptian cotton the cream of the crop? There are other types of cotton, after all. Here we break down why we sought cotton from this region and how it makes the Parachute difference.
Cotton is famously smooth and soft, two qualities that are essential for a great night’s sleep. However, what you may not know is that cotton is also breathable. This means cotton sheets don’t trap heat – so long night sweats! Add low maintenance to the list of benefits because pure cotton is odor resistant and machine washable, so you can launder the fabric every seven to ten days. Cotton bedding also maintains its shape well (that fitted sheet will actually stay fitted) and is extremely durable, so you can rest assured your investment will last.
Types of Cotton
Upland: This staple variety of cotton originated in Mexico from the Gossypium Hirsutum species and makes up 90% of all cotton production worldwide. Its fibers are 2.1 – 3.2 cm long (the shorter the fibers, the weaker the fabric). The fibers are collected through a saw gin – a machine that uses a series of circular saws with fine teeth to remove the fibers from the seeds – which is hard and often results in tears.
Pima: Also known as extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, Pima cotton is grown in the U.S., Australia, Peru and a few other locations around the world. Made from the Gossypium Barbadense species and with a length of 3.5 – 4.1 cm, its strength and uniformity measurements are considerably higher than Upland cotton. To separate the fiber from the seed, Pima cotton uses a roller gin. This method involves a rotary knife in conjunction with leather rollers that extract the fibers from the seed and is ultimately more gentle on cotton than saw ginning, which results in a stronger fabric.
Egyptian: Grown along the Nile River Valley in Egypt, this cotton produces the finest and longest staples and has been used for over 140 years. Because this cotton is hand picked (in contrast to saw or roller ginning), it does not put any stress on the fibers, leaving them straight and fully intact. Long-staple Egyptian cotton also comes from the Gossypium Barbadense species (like Pima), but it is stronger and softer due to the hot and dry climate of Nile River Valley’s climate. At 3.8 – 4.4 cm long, this staple has a texture that improves with age and use, making it the finest cotton available.
The Parachute Difference
Manufactured in Portugal by artisans who have been making world class linens for over 80 years, our Percale and Sateen bedding upholds a long tradition of excellence and is woven using the finest long-staple Egyptian cotton (more information on Sateen and Percale weaves here). We believe in the benefits of using the purest fabrics, which is why our bedding is Oeko-Tex certified – made without chemicals or synthetics – and get better with time. We’ve considered the environment, your investment and personal comfort – so go on, get between the sheets and discover the Parachute difference.