What is Pima Cotton?

Published by Phyllis Smith on

What is Pima Cotton?

Hot summers call for cool drinks and soft cotton clothes. Nothing says breezy and easy that cotton. No other material offers your skin comfort and breathability like cotton. Sheets made of cotton gives a different level of coolness and comfort.

But there are many different types of cotton that we might not even know about. One such variety of cotton is “Pima cotton”. What is Pima cotton, you might wonder? Well, in short, Pima cotton is just another type of cotton. But it doesn’t stop there. It is a high-end type of cotton that stands out from other types of cotton such as the Egyptian one etc.

What is Pima cotton all about?

One of the differences is in the fiber- Pima cotton contains longer fiber than other conventional kinds of cotton. This function allows it to be used to make sheets that are not only very soft to touch but also wrinkle-resistant and very durable. Products made from Pima cotton even lasts longer than other cotton products!

Products made from Pima cotton are very popular all over the world. Some loyal consumers wear clothing and use sheets etc. made only of Pima cotton. Such is the quality of the fabric! The richness and softness of the fabric’s texture is the secret to Pima cotton’s popularity. Now you have an answer to the question of what is Pima cotton.

what is pima cotton

  • Origin of Pima Cotton

Firstly, we need to understand where cotton comes from. Cotton is mainly produced by two different types of plants. One such species helps in producing the Upland cotton type. This type is what makes up almost 90% of all the cotton used in the whole world.

Now the remaining 10% of cotton used around the globe consists of 2 higher-end types of cotton- Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton. Both of these types of cotton are “long-staple” cotton. The longer fibers in both make sure that the cotton material produced from these 2 types is softer and silkier than otherwise.

It is these properties that make such materials more premium and luxurious than other cotton materials. Pima cotton is known to have originated in Peru. Its name comes from the group of people who helped raise this particular type of cotton in the USA- Pima Indians. Nowadays, Pima cotton is grown in Australia, Peru and the south western regions of the USA.

No matter where it is grown, it can be seen that Pima cotton has made its way across the whole world. Customers flock to buy things made of Pima cotton. The way the material from Pima cotton feels is what makes them so special and different from others.

What is Pima cotton made of?

This type of cotton, the Pima cotton, produces an ultra-soft material and fabric. Made of long cotton fibers, Pima cotton is extra-long-staple cotton (ELS Cotton) type. This means that the cotton fiber it contains is more than 34 millimeters long. This cotton variety is harvested from (Gossypium Barba dense ) – a particular species of cotton plant.

It is usually grown only in tropical areas and is very much susceptible to frost damage. Extreme care has to be taken during the growth and harvest of this cotton crop. Usually, this cotton crop is a small tree and has bright yellow flowers. This is what yields the long cotton fibers that eventually makeup Pima cotton.

Most of the ELS cotton types, including Pima cotton, are often called “sea island cotton”. Soft, wrinkle-resistant and resistant to pilling, Pima cotton is very much prized and popular all over the world. The long cotton fibres that makeup Pima cotton are the only secret that it holds.

What is Pima Cotton

How is Pima cotton made?

These long cotton fibers are what make this material stand out from any other cotton material you can find all over the globe. The process of making Pima cotton involves a lot of steps. Here is how Pima cotton is grown, harvested and made ready for use:

One of the first steps to make Pima cotton is “seed picking”. Cotton needs to be handpicked but this is a very hard and arduous process. Once the seeds are picked, they need to be condensed into what is called bales. These bales are sent to the factory floor. There, they are transferred to an “opening room”. In this room, the raw cotton fibres are pulled out of the selected bales.

These fibres are moved to a mixing machine for further processes. These cotton fibres are pulled together into a parallel alignment and are made to form a web. Then these strands are combed to remove any kind of impurities. These cotton ropes of Pima cotton are later wound into spools using bobbins.

Lastly, these Pima cotton ropers are spurn into yarns and woven into fabrics. This is how the process of making Pima cotton sheets, shirts etc. starts.

What is Pima cotton used for?

Pima cotton can be used to make many different things. As the cotton made by Pima cotton is luxurious and extremely soft, the things made from it could be expensive but of the highest quality. This type of cotton is used to make things that require cotton, just like other types of cotton.

Pima cotton is used to make casual clothes such as shirts, dresses, t-shirts and other types of clothing too. They are soft and durable compared to others. Even hoodies can be made using this type of luxurious cotton. Pima cotton is also often used in bedroom and bathroom uses.

Not only can Pima cotton be used in the material for bed sheets and towels, but they are also used in luxury-oriented clothing like loungewear, nightgowns and bathrobes. In short, Pima cotton can be used for a variety of thing. Its softness and durability are what attracts customers to buy Pima cotton stuff.

What is Pima Cotton

What is Pima cotton sheet?

Pima cotton is used a lot in the making of bed sheets and such sheets are very popular. The extreme softness of the fabric is one of the main reasons that make Pima cotton sheets so popular. But there are other reasons too as to why so many people prefer bed sheets made of Pima cotton.

The first question to ask would be what is Pima cotton? Once you answer that question and understand what makes it different, you will realize that it has many amazing properties. One of them is how fabric made from Pima cotton is resistant to pilling. Now what is pilling, you might ask.

Pills are usually tiny balls of tangled fibre, here cotton. Though other types of cotton fabrics might show this unwanted property, Pima cotton is resistant to this. Even after multiple washes, Pima cotton sheets will not show this property. This makes it perfect to be made into anything, including cotton sheets.

The reason why Pima cotton is resistant to pilling is all thanks to its long fibres. They are what prevent Pima cotton from pilling even after being washed many times. Also, the fact that the Pima cotton sheets can be machine washed using warm water is a bonus for its users. Another great property of Pima cotton sheets is that they can be tumble dried and it will not damage the fabric in any way.


1. How costly is a fabric made from Pima cotton?

Due to all the amazing features of the Pima cotton fabric, it is more expensive than other types of cotton. It is costly to the point that its price is almost always double that of staple and usual cotton fabric. But the quality, softness and durability of this Pima cotton fabric make it worth the high price that comes along with it.

2. What are the different types of Pima cotton that is available these days?

Pima cotton has a lot of varieties that are available in the market these days. Each of these varieties stands out due to their unique features. Here are some of the types of Pima cotton you can choose:

  1. Supima Cotton: This has to be the most high-quality version of Pima cotton that is used nowadays.
  2. Sea Island cotton: Another type of Pima cotton, this variety is no longer produced in mass quantities.
  3. Egyptian cotton: This, in simple terms, refers to all long fibre cotton products made and produced in Egypt.

Among these, the most popular and the most expensive type of Pima cotton have to be the Supima cotton variety.

3. Why is Pima cotton so popular?

The demand for this Pima cotton is increasing day by day. Be it shirts or sheets, fabrics and clothes made of Pima cotton have a huge fan base these days. One of the reasons for this is that many people are very particular about how their shirts and sheets feel. As Pima cotton is considered as one of the softest and durable fabrics around the world, they are preferred to be made into clothes, sheets and towels.

4. Why should I buy Pima cotton?

Apart from all the features of the Pima cotton fabrics- the softness, durability etc. – there is one more reason to choose this cotton. Pima cotton is known to have much less negative impact on the environment than other varieties of cotton production. This is mainly because of how Pima cotton is handpicked during the process.

So the next time you are planning to buy Pima cotton, keep in mind- what is Pima cotton, how is it produced etc.?

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Phyllis Smith

I am Phyllis Smith, and I'm on a mission to help you learn how to sleep better. I'm the founder and head writer of MySleepingGuide. I'm a native of California and am excited to share everything I've learned with you! Follow us for the best tips to help you get better sleep at night.