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It is rightly said that the biggest key to staying healthy is nothing but a good night's sleep. But to promote better sleep and unwind, one is recommended to invest in a firm mattress, plush pillows, and comfy bedding. So, do you know which material is used to make the most luxurious, softest, and breathable bed sheets in the world? It is 'Percale' – made from 100% Egyptian and Pima Cotton.

Percale Cotton is a fine cotton fabric used to make bedsheets, pillow covers, and other bedding materials. Raw materials like Egyptian and Pima Cotton are weaved with the traditional basket threading method to make high-quality Percale bed sheets. Percale fabrics have a thread count of 200 or higher and are medium-weight, durable, soft, smooth, strong, and highly breathable.

A three-piece (bedsheet and two pillow covers) cotton percale bed set can cost you anywhere between $50 to a whopping $1,000. The quality depends on the type of cotton used and the weave (pattern and thread count). When buying percale, ensure that the material used is at least certified organic cotton. Continue reading to find out what percale is and what are some of the best percale sheets to buy for regular use.

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What Is Cotton Percale Fabric?

Going with the dictionary meaning, 'Percale' refers to a 'closely woven fine cotton fabric.' It is made by weaving one thread over another or with the traditional 'basket' threading method. This unique weaving pattern is called Percale. The term was first used by French people who imported high-quality cotton cloth from India in the 18th century. The word originates from 'Pargalah' in Persian, which literally means 'rag.'

For centuries, percale fabric has been used to make bedsheets, pillowcases, bed covers, and other bedding accessories. The best-quality Percale fabric has a thread count of at least 200 per square inch. The higher the thread count, the thicker and the stronger the fabric will be.

Types Of Sleepers For Using Percale

Every type of sleeper can use the medium-weight and durable Percale fabric. It is definitely the best choice for children's beds and hotels. The fabric is breathable and creates cool and crisp sheets year round. Its natural breathing ability makes it highly suitable for hot sleepers and for those who live in hot weather conditions.

The Pros And Cons Of Using Percale Cotton Sheets

Percale cotton fabric sheets are soft, smooth, and medium-weight, but at the same time, the fabric is very strong. They can be used year-round but are particularly recommended in the summer months. Caring and laundry are easy. They can be both machine-washed or hand-washed, and the fabric gets softer after each cycle. Cotton Percale is breathable and gives a nice, crisp feel when laid out as a bedsheet. A set of sheets and pillow covers will last you for years to come.

On the downside, the initial crispness of the fabric will go down, and it will become softer after every use. They do not have any gloss or sheen. The bedsheets may also wrinkle in the first few cycles. So in the bigger sense, the benefits of using Percale cotton sheets outweigh its demerits.

What Are Cotton Percale Sheets?

The best quality cotton percale sheets have a thread count of 200 or higher, and their weave pattern is noticeably tighter than other bed sheets made with inferior-quality materials/ weave patterns. The standard range of thread count of cotton percale sheets can be from 180 to 400. However, there is no upper limit for the thread count. Some Percale bed sheets can even have a 750 thread count!

Cotton Percale sheets have a luxurious soft feel. They render a matte finish and an elegant look to the room. Made with breathable material, Percale sheets naturally absorb body heat and thus, make you feel cool and comfortable during your good night's sleep.

How To Buy Percale Cotton Sheets?

Always buy high-quality percale cotton for softness and long-lasting durability. Real percale cotton is made of 100% cotton fabric, but it is not uncommon to find blended fabrics with rayon, synthetic, bamboo, or rayon – all of which you should avoid. Blended fabrics do not offer the same benefits and softness as pure quality percale cotton.

What Is The Material Used For Cotton Percale Sheets?

'Long Staple' or 'Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton fibers are used to make the best quality cotton percale sheets. The extra long length of these cotton fibers is highly suitable for the unique percale weave pattern. Such bedsheets can also be made from blended cotton or organic cotton.

Standard cotton bed sheets are usually made from 'Upload Cotton,' which includes about 90% of the cotton produced from all over the world. But, when it comes to better strength and durability, the two available options for high-quality ELS cotton are – 'Egyptian Cotton' and 'Pima Cotton.

Egyptian Cotton is grown and handpicked in Egypt. They are known for their extra strength and durability, and it literally does not matter how many times you wash or soil them. On the other hand, Pima Cotton is usually grown in the US, and it shares almost the same premium features as Egyptian Cotton. Both Egyptian and Pima Cotton are resistant to tearing, piling, wrinkling, fading, and fraying after each subsequent washes. Needless to mention, organic cotton has the best breathability and is highly recommended for clean and sustainable living.

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Best Percale Sheets

So now that you know what cotton Percale fabric is, it is time to buy one for a luxurious sleep. For the best Percale cotton bed sheet, always look for tags such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). This ensures that the raw material is authentic and organic. Organic cotton is also free from chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The following is a list of some of the best percale sheets that you can buy online:

    1. Parachute Percale Venice Set

The Percale Venice Set from Parachute comes in a variety of sizes and colors. The fabric is made with 100% long-staple Egyptian Cotton and gives your bed a crisp, clean, and classic feel. The fabric is incredibly soft and breathable. Getting the top sheet is optional. On the downside, the sheet may wrinkle in the first few washes (a sign of its authenticity) and is expensive.

    2. Coyuchi Organic Crinkled Percale Cotton Sheet Set

If you are looking for a budget-friendly percale bed sheet set, then this one is a great option. The sheets are GOTS 5.0 certified and are available in different neutral shades such as steel blue, ginger, alpine white, undyed, and others. The Coyuchi Percale Bed Sheets have a thread count of 180 and are breathable, comfortable, and naturally rumpled to last for a long time.

   3. L.L Bean Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set

Another great budget-friendly option is the 280 Thread Count L.L Bean Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set, which is made of 100% Pima Cotton. The product also has OEKO-TEX Certification. It is available in standard Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King bed sizes, and all of them come in 9 neutral shades. The bed sheets also have hemstitch detailing, which renders a sophisticated look. The set also includes pillowcases.

  4. Saatva Organic

When it comes to bedding, bed sets, and accessories, Saatva is a premium brand to look out for. Saatva Organic Cotton Percale Sheets are made with 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton. The bedsheet is highly recommended for hot sleepers because of its luxurious feel, breathability, and softness. The bedsheet and the pillow covers have a thread count of 200 and are available in six sizes. This product is the best choice for people who prefer to buy organic materials and have a mattress of up to 16-inch thickness.

Some of the other brands that manufacture good quality percale bed sheets are Crane & Canopy, Sweave, Drumi, and Casper.