Pima Cotton: How it is Different from others?
Pima Cotton: How it is Different from others?

Fabrics that we wore or are used in our homes and offices as a part of our daily life are mostly made of cotton. However, very few of us are having the right idea about its different types like Pima cotton and their uses.

Cotton is categorized depending on its country of origin or species. There are many kinds of cotton grown in different areas of the world. Cotton is in use by humans since ancient times in a variety of products.

A fiber of longer length generally possesses fewer raw edges when it is spun into threads. Hence these threads can be used to make soft fabrics with more life than standard cotton that can even be compared to the touch of silk cloth.

Among many varieties of cotton, Pima has long fibers with more durability, softness, and absorption than others. Before moving ahead let us get familiar with the Pima cotton definition.

What are the Different Types of Cotton?

Here are 4 main types of Cotton that are commercially grown on the earth:-

a) Gossypium Arboreum:-

It is also known as Tree cotton and is commonly grown in Pakistan and India. These kinds of cotton share even less than 2% of the global cotton production. Its fibers are used to make a plain weave, muslin, a gauzy fabric.

The fiber is known to provide high tensile strength to the fabric like Muslin that can be used for medical or cooking (as the filter) purposes. Muslin is known to maintain its form with time and offers much breathability.

b) Gossypium Hirsutum:-

These are also recognized as Upland cotton and are usually found in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. About 95% of the US and 90% of the world’s cotton production is upland.

Due to the short cotton fibers these are highly preferred to make high quality and economic daily products. These are having short fibers as compared to other cotton types. These are normally used to make different kinds of consumer items to add purity and quality to an all-natural fiber product.

It is commonly found in varieties of nonwoven products under baby care and feminine hygiene categories. San Joaquin Valley Acala is the special and more expensive variety of Upland cotton, especially in America.

c) Gossypium Herbaceum:-

The simple term for this is Levant cotton and is grown in the Arabian Peninsula and southern Africa. It also shares less than 2% of the total global cotton market. These cotton are mostly spun into yarns and useful for the preparation of fabrics.

It originates from the perennial shrub. The common applications are to make clothes. It can also be meant for medicinal purposes like the treatment of diarrhea, fevers, nausea, hemorrhages, and headaches.

d) Gossypium Barbadense:-

They are also called extra-long-staple cotton and are normally found in tropical South America. It attains only 8% of the worldwide cotton output that is used to make the products based on the finest fabrics.

These are also known as Pima cotton. The properties of this cotton include resistance to fading, wrinkling, or pilling with being a bit stronger and very soft. The common application of this cotton is to make bedding and apparel.

What is Pima Cotton?

It is real luxury cotton that can resist wrinkles so you can easily found them in different premium clothing and bedding products. Originally cultivated in Peru and Ecuador. It is also grown in California, Australia. Pima is among few kinds of cotton having fibers of more than 34 millimeters.

It is the superior blend of ELS (extra-long staple) cotton. The fabrics made from Pima are highly suggested for people with sensitive skin. Its plant is found mostly in tropical areas and is most susceptible to be damaged from frost. The long cotton fibers can be yield from its bright yellow flowers.

Possess 50% more life expectancy. They are commonly found in Sheets, Towels, Sweaters, and Shirts. The name is based on the Pima people belonging to Arizona, America. A Pima fiber i.e. of 1 ¼ to 2-inches is 50% longer as compared to regular cotton. Today China and India are among the biggest producers of fabric made from Pima cotton.

Here are the striking features of Pima Fabrics; 1) Very Breathable 2) Lower heat retention ability 3) High Moisture wicking capability 4) Less prone to see bubbling or pilling in fibers 5) Medium stretchability.

Due to the oppressive and hot climate of India, fabrics made up of Pima cotton prove to be much breathable wear. Generally, high-end fabrics are made from Pima that can be easily washed using warm water and further tumble dried. The richness of texture and incredible softness can make Pima highly prized.

The production of Pima cotton is usually more environmentally friendly as compared to growing other types of cotton. Most of the cotton production all over the world is done using machines, but. In the case of Pima, it is generally handpicked and hence it retains the cotton fiber’s integrity. So less waste is left and hence less impact on the environment to produce this kind of fabric.

What are the Different Kinds of Pima?

Following are the Subcategories of Pima Cotton:-

i) Egyptian

The cotton products that are produced in Egypt are commonly known as Egyptian cotton. However, a high-quality cotton product with a label like ‘Egyptian cotton’ doesn’t guarantee that it is made from G. barbadense.

There are many varieties of FLS Egyptian cotton are there like Giza 45 that consists of thread counts to 1000 ins a square inch of space. Hence, these are the most luxurious and softest forms of cotton found on the earth. In comparison, Egyptian cotton also has extra-long staple fibers, so they are good in performance, vibrancy, and softness.

The name is given due to fact that they are commonly grown in dry and hot climates found in the Nile River Valley of Egypt. The majority of Egyptian cotton is of regular variety or belongs to long –staple.

ii) Sea Island

It is no more in mass production but has a great history. One among the first planters of this cotton was Francis Levett, a British immigrant to the US. Similarly, other planters came from Barbados to grow sea island cotton off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia on the barrier islands.

It was one among the highly-priced varieties of colonial cotton and generally mixed with silk due to its softness. At the end of the 1700s, the cotton gin was invented and many planters were switched to the short-staple cotton. ELS cotton fabrics derived from G. barbadense are also sometimes known as “sea island cotton”.

The main reason is the fact that this kind of cotton was initially grown on tropical islands such as Barbados by the Westerners. However, as per radiocarbon evidence, cotton farming is common in West Indies and South America right from 3,000 BC.

iii) Supima

The top-quality version of Pima and is subjected to many stringent manufacturing controls. If you found the term Pima mentioned on any retained product then this does not prove that it is made using extra-long-staple cotton.

However, Supima is a trademark to identify and promote extra-long-staple cotton found in America. Products need to pass via a licensed supply chain to get the Supima trademark.

The best part about this cotton is that the more you wear and wash, the more you will feel its softness. Supima cotton, a portmanteau of ‘Superior’ and ‘Pima’ is grown in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and California. It is known as the trademark of ASA (American Supima Association).

Final Thoughts

Cotton is a natural product or just a Plant that can be used to make a huge variety of products. The list of its end products includes upholstery, bedding, clothing, personal care, and many more. Pima cotton is the finest cotton among all due to its long fibers making it extra strong and soft. Hence it is generally mentioned by the fabrics brands to have pure Pima in their luxurious smoother products.

You can found Pima's name used by different cotton-producing nations like Israel, Australia, and Peru. However, it is often grown in southwest America. The fact is that not all such products are made using the finest cotton.

By the way, the ELS or extra-long-staple Pima cotton found in America is trademarked with Supima. It comprises even less than 1% of the total cotton production of the world.

The main properties of Supima cotton are their high level of color retention, softness, and strength. The cotton can also absorb the dyes better so they can retain their color for many years.

If a product has a mark ‘100% cotton’ then it is most likely prepared using Upland cotton of America. It is a widely used fiber and can vary from short to long staple length. Turkish cotton also shares some qualities of its superior Pima and also comes under the category of long fiber cotton.

After exporting huge Pima cotton, the manufacturers of America need to maintain their claim on Pima fabric mythos. They also want to differentiate the Pima fabric of America from that of what was in production in other nations.

Hence, ASA was formed to guarantee any textile or garment with its insignia will consist of the original Pima cotton of Arizona. Not just the genuine certification from ASA, but high cotton can also be certified as Organic by the EU’s Organic Agriculture agency or by USDA.