What is Pima Cotton? a Complete Guide
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What is Pima Cotton? a Complete Guide

Here is a complete guide to Pima Cotton, including its pros and cons, process of production, and price.

Despite the fact that we have a soft spot for Pima Cotton, many people are still unaware of its superior qualities. Even for well-informed customers, the cotton aisles of your typical home goods store can be confusing because of all the different labels used to describe and market cotton products.

We’re here to provide insider knowledge for those who have done some research but still want to learn more about the history of Pima Cotton.

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What is Pima Fabric?

Long cotton fibers are used in the incredibly soft fabric known as Pima Cotton. The majority of cotton varieties use fibers that are relatively short, but Pima is one of a select few that is classified as extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, meaning that it is made up of fibers that are longer than 34 millimeters.

Along with the other varieties of ELS cotton, Pima fabric is made from a specific type of cotton plant called Gossypium barbadense. Only tropical regions can be found with this type of cotton, which is very vulnerable to damage from frost. It develops into a small tree with brilliant yellow flowers that produce cotton fibers that are unusually long.


  • Very soft and durable
  • Smoother than cheaper sheets
  • Generally good quality and often grown in the USA
What is Pima Cotton? a Complete Guide


  • May be grown abroad
  • Not monitored by 3rd party organizations
  • Not as smooth as Supima Cotton
  • May be blended with cheaper cotton

Types of Pima Cotton

Pima Cotton comes in two main varieties, and a few other cotton varieties also closely resemble this kind of fabric. Some examples of these fabrics include:

  • Supima Cotton: This type of cotton is a high-quality version of Pima Cotton. Supima Cotton is, in practically every sense, identical to Pima Cotton, but it is subject to much stricter manufacturing controls.
  • Sea island cotton: This type of G. barbadense cotton is no longer in mass production, but it played a critical role in the history of Pima Cotton. One of the first sea island cotton planters was a British immigrant to the United States named Francis Levett, and other planters emigrated from Barbados to plant sea island cotton on the barrier islands off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Egyptian cotton: Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton are not the same. The term Egyptian cotton usually refers to cotton products that are made in Egypt; however, some manufacturers of high-quality cotton products label their garments as “Egyptian cotton” even though they aren’t made from G. barbadense .

Where Is It Grown?

Due to the fact that the specific plant that makes this fabric can only grow in hot, arid environments, despite the fact that Pima is very popular, this type of fabric only accounts for 3% of American-grown material and 1% of global production.

What is Pima Cotton? a Complete Guide

The origins of this variety, which is regarded as the best in the world, can be found in the Sea Islands of South Carolina and go all the way back to the early 1790s. Producers used Egyptian varieties in selective cross-pollination in the 19th century to create an extra-long staple variety that was only available in America.

Originally known as American-Egyptian, the variety produced high-quality fiber that resulted in soft, durable, and opulent material. Early in the 20th century, the US Department of Agriculture collaborated with the Arizonan Pima tribe to further develop this young crop. The staple variety was later named “Pima” in honor of the pioneering farmers. The seed quality was further enhanced in the 1950s.

How is Pima Fabric Made?

ima cotton is a naturally occurring form of G. barbadense that is found in a variety of tropical and subtropical regions. Similar to other varieties of cotton, it yields white, fluffy seeds with hundreds or thousands of tiny fibers in each. In all forms of cotton production, these seeds are harvested and then transformed into a highly tensile yarn.

All cotton was once hand-picked centuries ago. The cotton gin was developed because manually picking cotton is a laborious and difficult process. Cotton gin stands for “cotton engine,” and this industrial machine was one of the early heralds of the mass-production industrial era.

The cotton gin greatly simplified the process of producing cotton, but the end result was of lower quality. While doing so is harder, most Pima Cotton producers pick the seeds of the G. barbadense plant by hand to retain the quality of this plant material.

After G. barbadense seeds are picked, they are condensed into bales. These bales are then transitioned to the factory floor, and they are placed in an area called the “opening room.” A cotton opening machine in the opening room removes unprocessed cotton fibers from the bales and transports them to a mixing machine.

Following their mixing, the fibers are carded, which is the procedure by which cotton fibers are drawn into parallel alignment to create a web. This process transforms raw cotton fibers into rope-like strands, and these strands are then sent to a combing machine, which removes impurities from the cotton.

What is Pima Cotton? a Complete Guide

The Pima Cotton ropes are then wound onto spools and loaded onto bobbins. The cotton ropes are then spun into yarn, and finally, they are woven into fabric.

How Much Does Pima Cotton Fabric Cost?

Pima Cotton is significantly more expensive than other varieties of cotton. This kind of cotton typically costs twice as much as short-staple cotton, though textile prices vary depending on the country of manufacture and the manufacturing techniques employed.

Supima Cotton is among the priciest varieties of cotton in the world, so if you want to try it, keep that in mind. Supima Cotton costs as much as three times the price commanded by normal cotton. On the other hand, purchasing Supima Cotton ensures that you will get high-quality material that bears the ASA seal of approval.

Is Cotton Good for Hot Weather?

Make sure you have the appropriate clothing when summer arrives so you can enjoy the outdoors. The clothes you pick out should not only fit well and look great but also keep you cool and comfortable during the sweltering summer.

When it comes to fabric, this is one of the best for hot weather. The fabric is supple, breathable, lightweight, and cozy. Additionally, Pima is regarded as the best type available due to its long and silky fibers.

In hot weather, the breathable fabric will effectively keep you cool by absorbing sweat from your body and allowing it to evaporate into the atmosphere. By wicking moisture away from your skin, its absorbent properties will prevent yeast and bacteria from growing on your skin.

This organic material will also continue to feel cool and soft to the touch. With the many fakes that flood the market today, you should take time to ensure that you are buying a high-quality product.

Conclusion: What is Pima Cotton?

A more expensive, ultra-soft fabric with longer fibers than common varieties is called Pima. Pima Cotton is well-liked as a fabric for high-end apparel and bedsheets because of its unusual softness. The material is also frequently used in towels because of its absorption capacity and resistance to pilling.

Pima Cotton, according to the manufacturers, has a 50% longer lifespan than other cotton products. Additionally, it’s fantastic for those with sensitive skin!


Is Pima Cotton Better Than Cotton?

Pima cotton is the highest quality cotton available, thanks to its long, silky fibers. This implies that Pima cotton t-shirts, dress shirts, or polo shirts will not only be some of the most comfortable items in your closet, but also be softer, stronger, and more colorfast.

Does Pima Cotton Make You Sweat?

It is made of a comfortable, supple material that breathes well. Additionally, Pima is regarded as the best type available due to its long and silky fibers. The breathable fabric will absorb sweat from your body and allow it to evaporate into the air, effectively keeping you cool in the hot weather.

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