How to Choose the Best Cotton for Bedding and Towels
Cotton is the most popular material for bedding and bath towels, and for good reason. The natural fiber
is breathable, durable, comfortable, and easy to care for—not to mention versatile, with a range of
cotton types and weaves available. Such abundant options can easily overwhelm, but we’re here to help.
Demystify the differences between Supima®, Turkish, Egyptian, organic, and other cotton options in our
guide to choosing the best cotton for bedding and bath towels.
Consider the Type of Cotton
There are several types of cotton grown around the world,
and they all boast the same basic benefits, including comfort, breathability, and durability. Some
varieties, however, produce higher quality fibers for better, softer fabric. All of our cotton bedding
and bath towels are made with long or extra-long staple fibers for superior softness and strength.
WHAT IS LONG STAPLE COTTON?
“Long staple” or “extra-long staple” refers to the length
of fibers harvested from the cotton plant. Certain varieties of cotton plants—those that grow best in
hot, dry climates—produce longer, thinner fibers. Those longer fibers require fewer joins when spun,
creating smoother yarn for softer fabric that only gets better over time. In general, the longer the
fibers, the better the cotton. Long or extra-long staple cotton fabrics resist pilling, and they are
stronger and more durable than those made with short-staple cotton.
Supima® vs. Egyptian vs. Turkish Cotton
It’s the quality of fibers that determines which cotton is best, not
location of origin—but the primary difference between Turkish, Egyptian, and Supima® cottons is where
they’re grown. The hot, dry climates in Turkey, Egypt, and the Southwest US are perfectly suited for the
long staple varieties that are considered the finest cottons in the world. These premium long and
extra-long staple cottons are more expensive than regular cotton, but in turn offer incredible softness,
strength, and absorbency.
Supima® is the branded name for a type of pima
cotton grown in the Southwestern United States. The Supima® trademark guarantees
that the cotton is made exclusively with extra-long staple fibers produced in the US
by licensed sources.
Qualities: Super soft and absorbent, durable, excellent color retention
Best for: Bedding, bath towels, robes, apparel
Did You Know? Supima® cotton
represents less than 1%
of cotton grown in the world.
The extra-long staple Egyptian cotton grown along
the Nile River valley has long been considered the best, but not all fabric labeled
Egyptian cotton is exceptional—any cotton exported from the country can be labeled
Egyptian cotton, even if it is not an extra-long staple variety. We intentionally
source only extra-long staple Egyptian cotton to ensure the highest quality.
Qualities: Super soft, absorbent, durable
Best for: Bedding, bath towels, robes
The finest long-staple Turkish cotton is grown exclusively in the Aegean
region and is known for its absorbency, making it a popular choice for bath
Qualities: Ultra-absorbent, durable, soft, and fluffy
Best for: Bath towels, bath mats and rugs, robes
What Is Organic Cotton?
Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic
pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, with harvesting and production methods that do not harm the
environment. Egyptian, Turkish, and Supima® cotton can be organic, but are not necessarily. Check the
labels: our organic products are reviewed by third-party organizations, so
look for pieces with STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
Things to Consider When Choosing Cotton Bedding
Choosing the best sheets and
bedding is often a matter of personal preference. Consider these factors to find a cotton fabric that
suits your sleeping and decor styles.
Types of Cotton Fabric
A fabric’s weave or knit affects how it looks and feels.
To make a bed perfect for your preferences, choose bedding made with the right kind of cotton
Looks slightly sheer; feels airy and light
Best for: Hot sleepers and warm temperatures
Used for: Lightweight bedding layers like quilts, bedspreads, or coverlets and apparel
Feels smooth, crisp, and cool—like the best hotel sheets
Best for: Hot sleepers and warm temperatures, year-round comfort
Used for: Sheets, duvet covers, comforter shells
Looks elegant, feels buttery soft, and resists wrinkles
Best for: Cold sleepers and cold temperatures, year-round comfort
Used for: Sheets, duvet covers, comforter shells, quilts
Cotton Jersey Knit
Feels soft, comfortable, and slightly stretchy—like your favorite worn-in t-shirt
Best for: Cold sleepers and cool temperatures, year-round comfort
Used for: Sheets, duvet covers, comforter shells, quilts
Feels soft, fuzzy, and cozy
Best for: Cold sleepers and cold temperatures
Used for: Sheets, bedding, and apparel
Does Thread Count Matter?
Thread count is the number of threads per square inch in a woven fabric. The higher the thread count, the
tighter the weave—and the warmer the sheets. But thread count is not the only
indicator of quality. While a higher thread count means softer sheets, even our lowest thread count
bedding is made with high-quality, long staple cotton, so it’s super soft and durable, and gets better
with each wash.
Questions to Consider When Choosing Cotton Towels
There is more than material to take into account when choosing bath towels. Consider these other factors to find the best
cotton towel for you.
What Are the Most Absorbent Bath Towels?
The most absorbent bath towels are made from naturally
absorbent cotton—and the heavier the cotton towel, the more absorbent it will be. Towel weight is
measured in GSM, or grams per square meter.
Our thickest, most sumptuous towels are made from extra-long staple Supima® or Egyptian cotton and feature a GSM between 700 and 900. Thick, absorbent towels take longer to dry, but we think the “weight” is worth it.
Medium-weight towels with a GSM between 500 and 600 are absorbent and soft enough for everyday use, but dry more quickly than their super-plush counterparts.
Made with a proprietary spinning technique for yarns that are lighter but not less absorbent, our Micro Cotton® towels are some of the quickest drying.
Are Cotton-Blend Towels Good?
Cotton-blend towels boast all the benefits of pure cotton, plus the perks of any other included materials. Bamboo-cotton towels are silky soft, quick to dry, and antibacterial, while wool-cotton towels are decadent, thick, and sumptuous. We offer cotton-linen towels with a distinct texture that helps you dry off quickly, as well as towels made with a blend of cotton and TENCEL™ Lyocell. Whichever you choose, a cotton-blend towel made with natural materials is a good choice for your bathroom.
Cotton is comfortable, durable, breathable, and absorbent, making it an ideal fabric for restful sleep, after-bath comfort, and apparel that keeps you cozy all day long. For more tips on choosing the best products for the bed and bath, explore our Inspiration Guide.