Egyptian cotton sheets are among the highest quality of luxury bedding in the world, but before making an investment into your own purchase of Egyptian sheet sets it is imperative to confirm that the products you’re buying are not fake Egyptian cotton.
This may not be as easy as it seems. In the year 2009 and 2012 the Applied DNA Sciences published studies and special reports to reveal that 80% of the labels on luxury bed sheets were incorrect and misleading. Using scientific testing and DNA plant analysis on industry products that claimed to be luxury cotton, their studies showed that many products labelled ‘100% Egyptian Cotton’ were actually Egyptian cotton blended with other lesser types of cotton. [source] The amount of counterfeit Egyptian cotton in the industry was revealed again in 2016 when a large Egyptian cotton manufacturer was brought into disrepute and the origin of its cotton was brought into question. The investigation lead to all of Target and Walmart stores removing the products from their shelves, an estimated cost of close to $90 million to each company. [source]
Why is it important to spot fakes?
Unlike Target and Walmart, fake Egyptian cotton will not set you back millions of dollars, but it will cost you significantly. When you buy Egyptian cotton sheets, you’re making a good investment and one that should last a long time. If, however, your product is not authentic, you will not get the benefits and quality that you’re paying for.
It is the ‘Egyptian’ part of Egyptian cotton that makes it better than the rest, and the reason why the cotton’s origin is so important. Grown in the region of the River Nile, the heat of the local Egyptian environment makes the plant fibres stronger and studier than other cotton plants. This means that when the fibres are turned into yarn to make fabric for bed sheets, each fibre is longer resulting in less ‘splices’ and joins between fibres. This is what makes Egyptian cotton feel so soft and smooth. Having less joins between fibers also means the Egyptian cotton threads are finer, giving them a very high thread count because more fit in each square inch of fabric.
Egyptian cotton is also processed and made differently to other types of cotton. It is hand picked and treated only with organic substances, unlike most other cottons that involve pesticides and mechanical processing. This makes Egyptian cotton more sustainable, with the treatment and care it receives in processing resulting in less stress on the cotton fibres, making them stronger and a higher quality.
This is just a few reasons why the authenticity of Egyptian cotton is important. To read more information about why Egyptian cotton is better for bed sheets than other types of cotton – click here.
Here are our tips on how to make sure your Egyptian product is authentic…
Read between the lines
The first step to ensuring you are not buying fake Egyptian cotton is to read the label wording closely. Clever marketing and tricky wording can easily make it look like what you’re buying is authentic Egyptian cotton, however, if the product does not specifically use the words ‘100% Egyptian cotton’ then that is a good sign to search elsewhere.
Take a close look at the words used and make a special note that 100% cotton and 100% Egyptian cotton are very different things. The product may still have a high thread count, and may look real, but if the Egyptian cotton is mixed with other types of cotton fibres it will not have the same quality it is known for – but will still be technically 100% cotton.
In the case that the Egyptian cotton is blended with other fibres, manufacturers may still also say it is Egyptian cotton – because technically there is Egyptian cotton within it. If it does not say ‘100% Egyptian cotton’, then there is a high chance it could be blended with another fibre. This is one of a number of ways consumers can be misled, because one line of marketing may say ‘100% cotton’ while another line says ‘Egyptian cotton’ – but that still does not make them 100% Egyptian cotton sheets.
How much you pay is a very good indicator of whether the sheets you buy are authentic or not. A lot of the qualities that make Egyptian cotton bedding the best in the world are what contributes to it having a higher price tag than other types. For example, Egyptian cotton products are in high demand all around the world but can only be grown in one small region. The process involved with the cotton’s hand picking, and the way the it is processed is unique and very labour intensive which also adds an additional expense.
When buying Egyptian cotton sheets, you should expect to pay on average close to $500 as a minimum. If you are a bargain hunter then beware! If something seems too good to be true, chances are it is. If you use a search filter based on price while online shopping, then make sure your search begins close to the $200 range to avoid being misled.
Cotton Egypt Association
The Cotton Egypt Association are an Egyptian government lead company committed to maintaining the purity of Egyptian cotton and its associated bedding and products. They help by providing a way for customers to find the truth about the way their product is sourced and made. To do this they have two main tools to help determine the authenticity of Egyptian cotton sheets or bedding.
Firstly, the Cotton Egypt Association’s logo can be found on the packaging of most authentic Egyptian sheet sets. This symbolises that the company has been accredited by the Egyptian Cotton Association and that the products have been made and confirmed to be authentic.
Secondly, the Cotton Egypt Association’s website has a search function where you can look up a manufacturer to ensure that they’re licensed and accredited. There is also a list of suspended licensees and a black list to check your products against. In the instance that you cannot find the manufacturer on their database – it is likely that the sheets will be fake.
These are a few crucial ways of how to ensure your new linen and new Egyptian cotton purchase is authentic – and that you are getting the quality you are paying for. This will help you shop with confidence while making a positive investment in a good night’s sleep with the best Egyptian cotton sheets.
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