The temperatures are slowly rising and will soon have us reconsidering the down comforters and heavy wool blankets that kept us so cozy warm over winter. Late spring brings warmer nights, making a more breathable, lightweight bedding option ideal. Cotton, particularly organic cotton, is a go-to for most people.
Cotton has many qualities that make it the perfect fiber for nighttime comfort. It is highly breathable and water absorbent (for those who sleep particularly hot at night). It is also extremely comfortable against the skin, accounting for its massive popularity worldwide. Cotton is the most important textile fiber in the world, providing 40% of all the textile traded worldwide in 2004. Cotton is grown on 77 million acres across over 80 countries in the world. Cotton is also easy-care (no dry cleaning required!).
‘Conventional’ cotton is grown using modern farming methods. Conventional cotton can, and does, include GMO varieties. Conventional cotton is grown worldwide. Cotton growers would like it to be known that erosion and insecticide use has decreased dramatically over the years. Also, most U.S. cotton is grown using only rainfall, no additional water. It is debated whether or not any residue from insecticide and fertilizer use remains on fabric. For those who want to be sure, there is always the ‘organic’ option.
Organic cotton is 100% free of any residue from the chemical fertilizers and pesticides used to grow conventional cotton. Organic cotton is grown without GMO varieties. It is considered the more friendly version for your skin and the individuals involved in the production of the fabric.
Egyptian refers to any cotton coming out of Egypt but generally consists of the longest staple fiber available in the market. This makes it stronger and less prone to pilling. The longer staple also makes it more durable and longer lasting. It is also a very satin-like, given the density of the weave used with this fiber.
Pima cotton is an American extra-long staple fiber (approx. 1-1/4” in length, conventional cotton, by contrast, is only 7/8”). The long fibers again refer to the strong, durable, softer and higher-end product. Pima cotton is typically grown in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.