How to Choose the Best Cotton
for Bedding and Towels

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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.

Consider the Type of 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 linens.

  • 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) certifications.

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.

Things to Consider When Choosing Cotton Bedding

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 fabric:

Cotton Voile

  • 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

Cotton Percale

  • 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

Cotton Sateen

  • 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

Cotton Flannel

  • 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.

Questions to consider When Choosing Cotton Towels

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.