How to Care for Your Egyptian Cotton Sheets

by Nina

Find out how to take proper care of your Egyptian cotton sheets. Here are simple tips on how to wash and dry your expensive cotton linen properly.

Before you wash your Egyptian cotton linen, it is important to separate it to prevent entanglement with pieces of clothing particularly smaller ones. This is because smaller items such as undergarments have hooks which can get entangled in the Egyptian cotton and easily damage it. Because of this, it should not be combined in a single load with other pieces of clothing.

It is common practice to wash light colored clothes with pieces that are also light or dark pieces with ones with the same tone. However, this is not applicable to Egyptian cotton. In fact, it is best to wash it by itself. The color of your shirt or dress can be transferred to the cotton sheet, particularly white linen, and in turn affect its appearance. If you have Egyptian cotton at home, here are simple washing and drying tips that you will find useful.

 Egyptian cotton is often associated with luxury and comfort. It is a very special type of cotton that is, as its name suggests, grown in Egypt and other parts of North Africa. What separates it from other cottons is its fine, long stable that makes it very smooth and durable. Egyptian cotton sheetsare expensive. It usually costs somewhere between hundreds to thousands of dollars. The handpicked variety is even more expensive as the handpicking process ensures the cotton fibers are not damaged. It is important to know how to care for it as this type of linen is an investment, considering how expensive it is.

Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Egyptian Cotton Sheets

Washing Your Egyptian Cotton

It is common sense to not wash white clothes with colored items. As mentioned, the color can easily be transferred to the cotton linen. There are individuals who think this is true only if the cotton sheets have a light color. However, you may want to wash it separately to be sure.

Egyptian cotton usually shrinks after the first wash. This is common with all-natural fibers. Besides that, the excess dye also gets released when you wash it for the first time. There are some brands that usually treat their cotton products with a pre-laundering procedure so that their customers won’t have to wash it prior to using it. If the product you purchased is not pre-washed, you should launder it before use. This is to get rid of excess dye which can be a problem for people with allergies.

It is important not to use harsh detergent and chlorinated bleach when washing cotton items. It can affect the cotton fibers and impact the longevity of the cotton. Detergents can form residue in the pores of the cotton which can be difficult to remove. This can also make Egyptian cotton sheets stiff and more difficult to clean. While it might seem logical to do so, fabric softeners should also be avoided. This is because it can clog the pore of the fabric and it can lose its shine and softness if it is used continuously. 

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Drying Your Egyptian Linen

Egyptian cotton sheets should be dried on a warm temperature setting. Set the dryer to a short cycle and take the linen out before it is completely dry. Allow it to dry normally to prevent wrinkles.

If you want to prevent excessive wrinkles, you may want to shake our cotton clothes and bedding before you dry it. Tumble dryers are great for items made of cotton except for Egyptian cotton. While you can use a dryer, line drying would be better as this ensures the sheets will have little wrinkles or perhaps not a single one.

Water Temperature

One of the most common mistakes people make with their Egyptian cotton sheets is washing the fabrics in very hot water. This is not a good idea as it will shrink the material excessively and it can also burn the fiber tips. In fact, hot water can damage not only Egyptian cotton but other types of it as well such as Pima cottons. When it is damaged, it can reduce the linen’s ability to allow the body to breathe. The recommended temperature for washing cotton products is 40 degrees Celsius.

Egyptian cotton should be washed using cool or mildly warm water. The temperature should not exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit which is considered as warm. As a rule, if the water is hot to touch, it is too hot for your cotton sheets as well. The reason why many consumers prefer to wash it in hot water is to get rid of bacteria. However, it will only do more harm than good to the cotton sheets. Drying it in very hot dryers is also not recommended.

How to Buy the Best Egyptian Cotton Sheets

There are different varieties of Egyptian cotton sheets in the market. However, some are softer and more luxurious than other depending on how pure the material used to make it is. You may want to make sure that the linen is woven from ELS or extra long staple cotton. This type of cotton has a staple or fiber that measures at least 1 3/8 inch. This makes it thin yet very strong. There are products labelled as Egyptian cotton but are made using lower quality materials. If you want to ensure its quality, buy one that is made of extra long staple. There are cheaper Egyptian cotton sheets in stores but these are probably made of cotton blend.

An important factor when shopping for Egyptian cotton sheets is its thread count. As a rule the higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the linen. Cottons that have a thread count of 200 are considered good but Egyptian cotton usually have higher thread count. There are experts who prefer Egyptian cotton linen with a thread count of 300 because individuals are not able to distinguish the difference with products that have an even higher thread count. If you would like to invest in luxurious sheets, you should invest in Egyptian cotton linen with 600 or even 1000 thread count that can cost thousands.

Updated: 12/07/2011, Nina
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