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Different Types of Cotton That You Need to Know

Cotton is the purest form of natural cellulose. It is the seed hair of the plants of the genus Gossypium. Types of cotton may include cellulose, mono-cellular, natural and staple fibre. Cotton is being used for textile purposes for 5000 years. Cotton was grown and used for textile purposes in the Indus Valley before 2100 B.C. and in Mexico by 3500 B.C. In modern days, cotton is being used for many other purposes in addition to textile and new uses are continuously being discovered.

Different kinds and types of cotton are grown in different parts of the world. Cotton fibres vary from one to another because of growth conditions including such factors as climate, fertilizers, soil and pests. The quality of cotton fibre mainly depends on its color, staple, fineness and strength.

The particular kind of cotton is often identified by the name geographical area or country where it is produced. Though many species of cotton are grown commercially, they may be conveniently divided into the following three types of cotton:

Upland Cotton:

These types of cotton fibres are fairly white, strong and dull and range in staple length from 22-32mm. the Upland cottons are usually categorized as short-staple, medium-staple and long-staple. The short staple are less than 25 mm and are produced in Oklahoma and Central and West Texas. The medium-staple cottons are of 25-28 mm in length and are produced in the Southeast, the Mississippi Valley and the low Valley of Arizona and California.

Pima (Supima) Cotton:

Pima cotton fibre is fine, strong, lustrous, silky and creamy-brown-white in color. This fibre has the staple length from 25-28 mm. Pima fibre is used primarily for sewing thread and also used in high quality broad cloth and other fabrics where silky smoothness, softness and luster are desired.

Egyptian Cotton:

Egyptian cotton fibres are light brown, fine strong and 32-38 mm in length. They are used in the same application as American Pima cotton.

In addition to the above types, cotton can also be classified under the following three sections:


This type of cotton fibres have staple lengths (i.e. average fibre length) varying from 25 to 60mm. it includes high quality fine cottons such as the Egyptians, Sudanese and Sea island varieties.


This type are coarser species which form the bulk of the world crop with shorter lengths (about 13-33 mm) such as American Upland cotton.


This types of cotton fibres are of still shorter staple length (about 9-25 mm) commonly produced in various Asian countries.

I expect the aforementioned discussion will help you better understand about the types of cotton fibres. If you have any question or suggestion, you can give us your feedback through commenting bellow.

Textile Education
April 10th, 2013 at 5:11 am

This is really helpful for textile learners, but as i know there are a large number of cotton available in textile industry, need those types cotton list and their short description. Thanks for sharing this.



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