Types of Cotton: for undershirts

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Types of Cotton: for undershirts

Post by clutchied » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:52 pm

Based on another thread I thought i would add some information on Cotton! I used to audit cotton gins and spent about 6.5 years in the ag industry.

There are 2 main types of cotton: Long staple(pima) and short staple(acala). Acala is also known as "upland varieties" There is also another called hazera but that's another issue.

What does staple mean? It's the length of the fiber and that length dictates how the cotton is harvested from the seed and the quality of the thread!

Long staple (pima) is harvested by a "roller gin" It is literally a roller that pushes the seed up against a "knife" and the cotton is sheared off preserving the length of the fiber. Pima is a higher quality cotton due to the staple length and sells at a premium and wears much better over the long term. It feels better to the hand and generally is better overall.

Short staple(Acala) is harvested by a "saw gin" there is a roller with thousands of tiny saw teeth that rip the cotton fibers off of the seed. The fiber length is shorter and the thread is coarser because of this. Most cotton that doesn't feel as nice is made from acala. From a manufacturing perspective saw ginning is cheaper and faster and utilizes more of the fiber on each seed (higher yield).

I always look for pima cotton when I buy as the experience is always superior.

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Re: Types of Cotton: for undershirts

Post by Ndop » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:17 pm

Is there anyway to tell the type of cotton without trying on the item? Would it say anything on the tag/label?

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