Elite Pima cotton : A complete guide

by | Dec 7, 2022

Welcome to the discussion of the world’s best cotton. Pima Cotton is the highest quality cotton. That’s why it is called the king of cotton.
We Muslin dhaka team, having cumulated 25 years of experience in fashion. We share all our experience about Pima for you. In this article we cover all basic knowledge about Pima Cotton.

What is Pima cotton?

The scientific name of Pima cotton is Gossypium barbadense. This plant is grown in tropical and subtropical areas. It is quite expensive, and for that very reason, some mills adulterate the fiber with inferior cotton. Manufacturers say that Pima is 50% more durable than other cotton products.

What makes Pima so special?

Fibre Length is one of the main parameters to define cotton quality apart from maturity levels, trash percentage, and color. The longer the staple fiber is, the more it can produce super fine yarns. Long fiber helps more recovery in spinning and better appearance and long-lasting life of the fabric. Pima cotton, also called American cotton, has a staple length of more than 34mm- 38mm.

History of Pima Cotton

Pima is still cultivated without pesticides or fertilizers, which is why it is Natural. Pre-Columbian people have been growing this fiber in the north of Peru and, more precisely, in the region of Piura.
The Peruvian Andes have been cultivating Pima cotton for more than 5000 years. But you will be astonished to know that Pima represents only 3% of the world’s cotton production.

Let us see the brief history:

Back then, people grew cotton to make fishing nets and clothes. They exchanged these products in fishing villages for fish.
Pima cotton is named in honor of the Pima Indians. This tribe was the first people to grow this type of cotton in the United States. But the origin of this plant is in South America. In ancient times, the coastal valleys of Piura and Chira of Peru had grown Pima cotton. The fertile soil, seasonal rainfall, and long sunny days are ideal for cotton cultivation.
The whole climate condition around the upland coastal areas is optimal for Pima cotton. For thousands of years, Pima has been harvested by hand around the coastal valleys of northern Peru. This manual harvesting technique avoids all impurities and imperfections of a machine harvest.
The Incas weaved Pima cotton thousands of years ago. They used to make sacred blankets at that time which exist today. You can tell that this cotton is very resistant. The fiber only requires a limited treatment with pesticides. It is also resistant to fungi. That is the reason why those blankets are still okay.
The fiber grown from Gossypium barbadense is bright yellow in tone. That is why they are easy to recognize. Pima is famous for its long staple cotton grown primarily in California and Arizona. But the four producing states are Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.
Previously, Pima was called American-Egyptian cotton. But to honor the Pima Indians, who were actually growing the fabric, it was renamed.
Pima & Supima

Pima & Supima

Pima and Supima Cotton:

You can ask what Supima cotton is.
Supima is basically the brand name of Pima cotton. It is named ‘Superior Pima Cotton. Whenever you buy a shirt of Supima cotton, you will notice a tag or label of Supima. They authenticate the purity of the fabric.
On the other hand, if you buy any other type of fabric, suppose you buy a bed sheet made of Giza or Egyptian cotton, you would not find any label or anything.
Supima garments are luxurious and soft. Supima often used as a substitute for silk.
Supima cotton is grown throughout the southern half of the USA. Supima represents less than 1% of cotton grown in the world. It is usually three times more expensive than any other cotton.
Giza and Supima are made from similar types of fiber, so the brand value speaks for them. Most Supima is DNA coded so that even on a retail shelf, it’s purity can be proven.
Many brands and retailers look for Supima to ensure the quality of the product and get a better experience they are gonna have. When you are looking for bed sheets to sleep in, you must be looking for the most comfortable one. That is when people look for Supima products.

Pima cotton industry:

As people had ancestral knowledge of how to grow Pima cotton. They shared their knowledge with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its pilot G.barbadense project in the 1900s.
The Americans kept the Pima cultivation process isolated until the last few decades of the 20th century. But the vast majority of this type of cotton is now produced overseas.
China was the largest exporter of Pima cotton, and now India has taken its place. You can also count Bangladesh in this. These countries remain neck and neck in the race to be the biggest producer of Pima.
Cotton is grown under many different agricultural and economic conditions. But it becomes crucial when it comes to sustainability and responsibility. Because, in the fashion industry, one of the most important things is sustainability.
Pima is also called the South American Silk. This cotton is distinguished from other cotton fibers by its length and the resistance of its fibers.
Characteristics of Pima

Characteristics of Pima : How is it feeling?

Characteristics of Pima Cotton : How it feel?

● Pima is famous for its breathing quality. Pima delivers absolute casual comfort. If you have a day-long program, Pima is the best option. Pima is commonly used in high-end consumer textiles. They can be washed in warm water, and you can even tumble dry them.
● Clothes from Pima fabric have a 50% longer lifespan than another traditional cotton. The reason behind it is resistance to ‘pilling.’ Tiny balls of tangled fibers are shown when we wash our regular shirts, dress, or bed sheets multiple times. The reason behind it is the short fibers. As Pima has long fibers, they hardly pill and remain wearable and presentable for years to come.
If you are planning to buy a polo sew by Pima cotton, it will definitely be resistant to tearing, fraying, fading, and wrinkling.
● Pima clothes are comfy both in summer and winter. It will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. Pima grows without any pesticides or fertilizers. It is one of the best for the most sensitive skin type.

Uses of Pima Cotton fabric

For more extended durability and strength, the fabrics are used in home products, ensuring that they are more comfortable. Even the colors stay longer and resist pilling over time. It is used in dress shirts, hoodies, and many other types of clothing. Pima is also used in luxury-oriented clothing items such as bed sheets, bathrobes, loungewear, and nightgowns.
Pima is also used for the manufacture of handkerchiefs and t-shirts. Clothes are easy to dye and obtain garments with a great diversity of shades.
Pima cotton t-shirts are pretty famous for men’s clothing.
Advantages of Pima cotton
● It is 35% longer than regular cotton.
● The garment only gets softer over time.
● The fibers have individual strength.
● The color on Pima cotton clothes undoubtedly lasts longer than other cotton fabrics.
● Long staples of Pima makes the fabric more resistant and give it great flexibility. The non-deformable texture of Pima clothes fits the body well.
● Pima is famous for its softness and silky appearance. For this, it is still nicknamed ‘The Silk of South America’.
● Pima cotton flowers cannot tolerate any pesticides. For this, no fertilizers or chemicals are used to grow the plants. This makes the fabric very healthy and the organic material excellent.
● As it does not go through any chemical treatment, Pima cotton is absolutely organic. It makes the clothes non-allergic to sensitive skin.
● The large fiber of Pima cotton can absorb up to 8.5% of its weight in water. This Pima is suitable for sweaty weather.

Pima fibre fabrication:

Like other types of cotton, Pima also produces white, fluffy seeds that contain hundreds and thousands of tiny fibers. G. barbadense is found in a variety of tropical and subtropical regions. Like every cotton fabric, the seeds are harvested and transformed into a tensile yarn. Most Pima cotton producers pick the plant’s seeds by hand to keep the quality of this plant material.
After G. barbadense seeds are picked, they are condensed into bales. These bales are taken to the factory and then taken to the factory. The rest process is same as other cotton. But Pima is unique from other cotton because it remains the safest and highest quality.
Difference between Pima & other cotton

Difference between Pima & other cotton

Differences between Pima and Regular cotton

– It is grown organically, picked manually, and spun without any introduction of any chemicals.
– The regular cotton production process is highly efficient. But for Pima, mass-production methods can reduce the quality. Since it is considered tip-tier. Manufacturers may choose production processes with higher quality control. Production processes can do carding, spinning, and weaving. if necessary without any automated tools. But this process is significantly more expensive than other types of cotton.
– Pima costs twice as much as short-staple cotton when it comes to Supima cotton costs thrice as much as regular cotton.

How to take care of Pima cotton fabric:

1. Hand Wash:

Hand wash is one of the best methods for washing Pima Cotton. As Pima is a luxurious fabric, make sure to wash using cool water. Pima fabric can handle water temperatures up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It will prevent fading and shrinking.

2. Machine Wash:

If you machine washes Pima Cotton, set your machine to 30°C on the gentle cycle. Make sure to separate colored and white clothes to avoid color transfer in the wash. Do not use fabric softener either, as it can also cause the color to fade. Avoid adding bleach and spot clean if necessary.

3. Drying:

Air-dry or machine-dry your fabric using low heat. But air drying is the best way to keep your garment last longer and prevent any unwanted shrinking. Cause natural materials need natural treatments.

4. Ironing:

It is better not to iron Pima. By simply air-drying, you can avoid ironing. Ironing can be avoided if you leave the garment after washing and dry it over a towel. if you need to iron it, do iron at a very cool temperature. Put a cloth on top avoiding unwanted wear and tear.

Types of Pima cotton

Now let us know about the types of Pima cotton. So, there are three main types of Pima. They are Acala Cotton, Egyptian cotton, and Upland Cotton.

1. Upland Cotton:

upland cotton is the most common type in the US. It comparatively has shorter fiber than regular Pima cotton. It covers approximately 95% of all cotton production in the US.

2. Egyptian Cotton:

Egyptian cotton is not 100 percent Pima but is considered Pima. The fundamental difference is Pima grows on American soil, and Egyptian cotton grows on the bank of the Nile, Egypt.

3. Acala Cotton:

Acala cotton is the highest quality upland cotton in the world. This type of cotton only grows in the ideal climate of the San Joaquin Valley, California. Acala requires a unique irrigation process, making them more expensive than other American-grown Upland cotton.

Tips to sew Pima cotton

Sewing process of pima cotton is almost the same as Egyptian cotton. You can check out our other article on Egyptian cotton to gather some ideas on the sewing process of Pima
Pima Cotton fabric by the Yard

Pima Cotton fabric by the Yard


Pima Fabric by the Yard

There are numerous types of pima fabric in the market. They are 100 percent cotton, may be cotton blended or different weaving! you will find pima sateen, printed pima or pima lawn selling by the yard. In wholesale markets you will find pima cotton fabric selling in bolt too.
You will find GOT certified Organic PIMA cotton fabric by the yard. For sustainability, it is one of the best choice.
You can find out best Pima fabric and products in  Amazon, Mood fabric, Etsy, Alibaba and more.


1. Why is Pima cotton so special?
– Pima has the longest and silkiest fiber. For this, it makes the most comfortable items. Clothes made from Pima are more robust, softer, and colorful.
2. Is Pima better than other cotton?
– Yes,it is. As Pima is made from longer staples, it is more durable than other short-staple cotton. Also, Pima is considered to be 50% longer than other cotton fabrics.
3.How to iron Pima fabric?
– If your Pima clothes need ironing, do it at a very cool temperature. To avoid unnecessary wear and tear, put a cloth on top.
4. Where does Pima grow?
– Pima cotton grows in the US, Australia, and Peru.
5. Is Pima suitable for hot weather?
– The answer is, Yes! The breathable fabric will absorb sweat from your body as it is soft, breathable, lightweight, and comfortable.
6. What does 100% Pima cotton mean?
– If you find a label saying ‘100% Pima cotton,’ means it is made by only Pima cotton! Be sure that your fabric will be one of the most comfortable items in your closet.
7. Is Supima better than Pima?
– Supima cotton is the brand name of Pima. It ensures standards of quality and labeling. So basically, all Supima is Pima, but it is the best version of Pima.
8. How to wash Pima cotton?
– Hand washing is the option to wash Pima cotton. Use cold wash and mild detergent to keep your clothes more durable.
9. How do I get stains out from Pima cotton?
– Pima is a sensitive fabric. If any stain gets into it, try to remove that ASAP. You do not need to wash the whole cloth but just the stain. First, make a paste of baking soda and water. Then apply it to the stain. Gently rub it and let the paste dry completely. Finally, brush it off and wash the fabric with water.
10. Is Pima cotton expensive?
– Yes. Supreme quality will cost you more than regular cotton. But the best part is Pima also lasts longer than other clothes. So it’s worth it.

Wrap up : Pima Cotton

So that will be all about Pima. This specific fabric has one the best fibre grows around the world. If you are looking for a long lasting t shirt or dress, go for pima. I believe this article will be helpful for you to choose between fabrics from now on.

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam Pavel, A fashion lover, passionate marketer. Love to share wisdom based on real life experience to enrich knowledge.
Founder of Muslin Dhaka, a brand, speaks the truth about royal muslin and fashion. Explore the digital fashion universe with organic cotton muslin and much more!


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