What is the difference between cotton and percale cotton?


Everyone has a different idea about what is perfect sleep for them, that’s why at Naturalmat we understand how individual choosing bed linen can be. The most important is trusting your skin to choose the feel you love. Comparing cotton to percale is like comparing apples to oranges. They simply belong to different families. Our Sleep Experts have provided a short guide below to navigate the different terminology and help you when picking your perfect bed linen.

What Is Cotton?

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fibre that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants. The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt and India. The fibre is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. One way of spinning the cotton fibre is percale.

What Is Percale?


Percale is a cotton fabric with a simple and tight weave. It has a medium weight and a firm, smooth, matte finish. It is made from both carded (vertical) and combed (horizontal) long-staple cotton yarns. Percale has a “one-over, one-under” weave that’s tighter, which results in a fabric that holds its shape and has a crisper texture. Percale sleeps crisper and cooler, perfect for hot summer nights. At Naturalmat, our range of Percale duvet covers, pillowcases, fitted and flat sheets come unbleached and undyed, which gives it that supernatural looking colour and feel.

Percale that is 100% cotton can shrink with washing if you do not follow the specified instructions. Percale can also wrinkle a little more than other fabrics. Another benefit for the very tight weave is increased durability. They will remain in great shape after years of use and will maintain their softness and appearance.

Is Percale Better Than Cotton?

Simply put – cotton is not better or worse than percale – cotton is what’s used to make percale weave. 

As Nature Intended?

You will find that, all adult  and nursery  ivory percale bed linen available at Naturalmat online store and at our showrooms is 100% GOTS certified organic, unbleached and undyed – making it a gloriously natural product to touch your skin night after night. As a result of being unbleached and undyed, it is slightly coarser to touch than the majority of commercial sheets and bedding sets you would encounter but with the coarseness comes the reassurance of its natural origin. Percale sheets are a bedroom must-have, especially during the hot summer months.

Are percale sheets soft?

Due to the “one over, one under” tight weave, Percale sheets do not bolster sateen-like softness, however, they do get softer with every wash, so the longer you have them the softer they get. Specific regulations governing what constitutes a cotton percale sheet, requiring them to be at least 180 thread count, which is what we use at Naturalmat. Not only will your ivory percale bed linen from Naturalmat get softer with every wash, it will also get lighter, as all commercial detergents contain whitening particles in them, so with time your percale bed linen will evolve to become an irreplaceable staple item in your bedroom arsenal.

Are percale sheets the best?

Made from cotton, percale feels cool and crisp, with a texture that’s structured yet lightweight, and a matte finish. They are certainly the best on a warm summer’s night, as they are supremely breathable which should help you to remain cool during a hot night! Due to their durability and the tightness of the weave, percale sheets last about 3 times longer than any other sheets and also get better with every wash!

Percale Sheets Pros

  • Crips, cool-hand feel
  • Same weave as 5* hotels and your Granma comfy sheets
  • Durable
  • Breathable and lightweight
  • Easy to care for
  • Will stand the test of time

Percale Sheet Cons

  • Don’t have a glossy and sheen appearance
  • Can wrinkly more than other materials

Your bed linen choice depends on personal preference for a honeyed touch and a luminous shine or a crisp hand on a matte surface, but opting for our natural, organic, unbleached and undyed ivory percale bedding is a sure path for a great night’s sleep!


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