In this short article you'll learn the ins and outs of Egyptian cotton, origins of cotton, what qualifies as Egyptian cotton and more. Because of laws, lobbyists, and marketing companies, you may inadvertently buy substandard quality Egyptian cotton while paying premium prices. By the time we finish this article, you'll have a good understanding of what to look for, from the origins of cotton to ELS cottons.

First let's clear the air on some of the laws and misinformation propagated by marketing companies.

  • Cotton can be classified and marketed as Egyptian cotton as long as it has 5% cotton grown in Egypt.
  • Being grown in Egypt does not mean it's a high quality cotton.
  • ELS cotton is the best Egyptian cotton, ELS stands for “extra long staple”.
  • The largest portion of Egyptian cotton grown in Egypt is regular cotton, like American upland cotton. Lower quality could be what you are buying if you're not careful.
  •  High thread count Egyptian cotton is likely not ELS Egyptian cotton.
  • Where and how it's processed into thread and then into sheets makes a huge difference in quality.

Considering the information above, let's set some basic rules when shopping for Egyptian cotton sheets.

The cotton must be 100% from Egypt, it must be 100% ELS cotton and if possible, you want the cotton processed and woven into sheets in Italy.

Egypt may grow some of the best quality cotton in the world, but unless it's processed into threads and woven by craftsmen and women, you are lowering quality one step at a time. 

You can still get awesome sheets made from Egyptian cotton that are not processed and made in Italy; they are just the best by far. When you combine a superior resource and mix that with extreme craftsmanship, you get the best of the best. A complete sheet set of the highest quality will cost you from 3k to 7k. These are made with the Giza 45 strain of cotton grown only in Egypt.

One last note. Your thread count should be between 400 on the low end and 800 max, otherwise it's a red flag that they are not real quality Egyptian cotton sheets.