What Is Percale Cotton?

This post is courtesy of guest author Lauren Eaton. Read more about her below the article.

Percale cotton often sparks curiosity: Is it a distinct type of cotton, a specific weave style, or something else? And how exactly should one pronounce 'percale'? This article will unveil the mysteries surrounding percale, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of what it is and why it might be the perfect choice for your bedding.

Everything You Need to Know about Percale Cotton Sheets to Make the Best Choice for Your Bed

Choosing the right bed sheets can seem daunting. There’s a lot to sift through. 

Material, weave, thread count…

And after a long day, you deserve to slip into bedsheets that instantly evoke that “ahhhh” factor of relaxation.

Navigating all of the options and finding the answers to questions like "What is percale?" might seem like a headache, but don't worry, you're not alone in this.

That's where we come in.

This guide is designed to simplify your decision-making process. We'll get into the specifics of percale cotton sheets, so that you can be confident about your choice. So when you finally sink into your bed, you're greeted by the ideal combination of comfort and quality – sheets that feel like they weremade just for you.


All about percale? Let's dive in.

Defining Percale

Percale, which by the way, is pronounced "per-kale," is distinguished by its specific weave pattern - a one-over, one-under structure. This technique results in a tightly woven fabric that offers both durability and a smooth, crisp feel, often compared to theluxury bedding found inhigh-end hotels. The term 'percale' itself originates from the Persian word 'pargālah,' denoting a rich cloth material, though today, it's most commonly associated with cotton.

This weave style's unique attribute is its breathability. The simplistic yet precise weaving allows air to flow freely, making percale sheets an ideal choice for those who tend to sleep hot. Unlike heavier, denser fabrics that can trap heat, percale sheets help maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature throughout the night.


Thread count, often a buzzword in the bedding industry, plays a significant role in percale fabrics. Contrary to the misconception that higher thread counts always equate to better quality, percale fabric thrives in a moderate thread count range, usually between 200 and 400. This balance ensures the sheets are neither too heavy nor too sheer, providing the perfect blend of lightness and durability.

Another advantage of percale is its versatility in terms of the cotton used. Whether crafted from long-staple cotton like Egyptian or Pima, known for its luxurious smoothness and strength, or from more accessible short-staple cotton, percale maintains its distinctive qualities. This adaptability makes it a versatile fabric choice, catering to a range of preferences and budgets.

The Quality of Cotton in Percale Sheets

The quality of cotton is pivotal in defining the comfort and longevity of percale sheets. Generally, percale can be made from various types of cotton, each contributing unique characteristics to the final product.

Long-Staple Cotton: This type of cotton, including varieties like Egyptian and Pima, is renowned for its long fibers. These fibers result in a smoother and stronger fabric, which means percale sheets made from long-staple cotton are not only soft to the touch but also incredibly durable. They are less likely to pill and retain their luxurious feel over time.

Organic Cotton: For those who prioritizeclean living and environmental sustainability, organic cotton is a significant choice. It's grown without harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, ensuring a lower environmental impact. Percale sheets made from organic cotton not only support ecological practices but also provide a cleaner, more hypoallergenic option for consumers.

Cotton Blends: While pure cotton percale offers a classic experience, blends that incorporate synthetic fibers can provide additional benefits like wrinkle resistance. However, blends may alter the feel and breathability of the sheets, which can interfere with good sleep for hot sleepers.

Percale vs. Sateen

In the world of cotton bed sheets, percale and sateen are two of the most popular weaves. Each offers a distinct feel and set of characteristics, making them favorites among different types of sleepers.

Percale Weave

  • Texture and Feel: Percale is known for its crisp, cool feel. The one-over, one-under weave creates a matte finish and a breathable fabric. It's ideal for those who prefer a refreshing, airy feel in their bedding.
  • Durability: This weave pattern lends a strong and durable quality to the fabric. Percale sheets are long-lasting and tend to get softer with each wash.
  • Temperature Regulation: Excellent for hot sleepers, percale's breathable nature allows for efficient air circulation, helping to regulate body temperature throughout the night.

Sateen Weave

  • Texture and Feel: Sateen sheets, with their four-over, one-under weave, offer a silky, smooth texture and a subtle sheen. They drape elegantly over the body and are preferred by those who seek a softer, more luxurious feel.
  • Warmth: Sateen is slightly thicker and tighter than percale, making it warmer. This quality can be especially appealing in cooler climates or for those who tend to get cold at night.
  • Appearance: The weave of sateen gives it a glossy finish, contributing to its sophisticated look. It's less prone to wrinkling than percale, making it a good choice for a more formal bedroom aesthetic.

Key Differences:

  • Feel: Percale is crisp and cool, while sateen is silky and smooth.
  • Warmth: Percale is more breathable, making it cooler, whereas sateen is warmer.
  • Appearance: Percale has a matte finish; sateen has a glossy sheen.

Benefits of Percale for Every Sleeper

Percale sheets stand out in the world of bedding for their universal appeal. Here are the benefits that make percale an excellent choice for nearly any sleeper:

Ideal for Every Climate: Percale's breathability makes it suitable for all climates. In hot weather, the airy weave helps wick away moisture and keeps you cool. In cooler temperatures, percale's structure provides just enough insulation when paired with a warm blanket, making it a year-round bedding solution.

A Refreshing Sleep Experience: The crispness of percale sheets is akin to the invigorating sensation of slipping into a freshly made bed every night. This refreshing quality is particularly loved by those who enjoy the experience of staying in a luxury hotel and wish to replicate that feeling at home.

Adapts to Your Needs: Whether you're a hot sleeper seeking a cooler bed or someone who values the tactile sensation of their bedding, percale adapts to your needs. It regulates temperature for hot sleepers and offers a pleasing texture for tactile individuals.

Elegantly Simple Maintenance: Caring for percale sheets is straightforward. Their durable nature means they hold up well to regular washing, becoming softer over time without losing the crisp hand feel they are known for. This low-maintenance aspect is perfect for those with a busy lifestyle who still value quality in their bedding.

Soothing for Sensitive Skin: The smooth surface of percale is gentle on the skin, making it a great option for sleepers with sensitivities. There are no rough threads or pilling to irritate the skin, just a smooth glide that can soothe as you sleep.

Versatile Aesthetic: Percale sheets offer a timeless look that suits any bedroom décor. With their matte finish and clean appearance, they bring an element of understated elegance that can be both modern and classic.

Percale is a weave that truly caters to a wide range of preferences, making it a top choice for discerning sleepers everywhere.

Choosing the Right Percale Sheets

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when making your choice:

1) Thread Count Matters, But It's Not Everything

While thread count is often touted as the sole indicator of quality, it's more about finding the right balance. A thread count of 200-400 in percale sheets is generally seen as the sweet spot, providing durability and breathability without becoming too dense.

2) Quality of Cotton

The source of the cotton can affect the feel and longevity of your sheets. Look for percale sheets made from long-staple cotton, such as Egyptian or Pima cotton, which are known for their superior softness and strength.

3) Certifications Can Be a Guide

Certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) for organic cotton and Oeko-Tex for non-toxic production processes ensure that the sheets meet specific environmental and safety standards. These certifications can guide you towards high-quality, sustainably produced percale sheets.

4) Consider the Feel You Prefer

Percale sheets are known for their crisp feel, but they do soften over time. If you prefer a silky feel from the start, sateen might be a better choice. However, if you enjoy the sensation of crisp, cool sheets – akin to a freshly ironed shirt – percale is the way to go.

5) Color and Pattern Choice

Percale comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. Whether you prefer bold and vibrant hues, classic whites, or subtle prints, there's likely a percale sheet set that aligns with your aesthetic preferences.

6) Return Policies and Warranties

Before purchasing, check the return policy and warranty. A company confident in the quality of their percale sheets may offer a generous return policy or warranty, providing peace of mind with your investment.

Choosing the right percale sheets is about matching quality with personal preference, ensuring comfort, style, and peace of mind in a fabric that will stand the test of time.

Easy Care for Percale Bedding

Maintaining the quality of percale bedding is straightforward and hassle-free. Here are the essentials:

Washing: Use a gentle cycle with cold or warm water and a mild detergent.

Drying: Tumble dry on low or hang to dry, and remove promptly to reduce wrinkling.

Ironing (If Desired): Iron on a warm setting for a crisp finish.

Storage: Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.


Avoid fabric softeners, bleach, and high heat to preserve the fabric’s integrity. Regularly rotating your sheets will also extend their lifespan.

By adhering to these simple care instructions, your percale sheets will continue to offer a comfortable sleep experience night after night.

Sijo's Approach to Percale

Sijo Home embraces the essence of percale in their CrispCool Organic Cotton Collection, bringing the beloved characteristics of this weave to the forefront.

This collection of percale bed sheets and duvet cover is made from 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, ensuring that the products meet the highest standards of organic and ethical production. With a thread count that maximizes both comfort and durability, Sijo's percale is engineered to last longer and feel luxurious.

Sijo's percale bedding isn't just about comfort; it's a conscious choice. The cotton used is organic, reflecting less than 1% of the world's cotton, directly supporting family-owned farms and environmentally considerate practices. The result is a product free from harmful chemicals and pesticides, ideal for those who value sustainability without compromising on quality.

Offering a variety of contemporary shades, Sijo's percale bedding aligns with modern aesthetics while promising the enduring hug of a well-made bed. It's a testament to their commitment to quality, comfort, and conscious living.

Check out their Organic Percale Cotton Sheet Set and Duvet Cover to set yourself up for the best night's sleep you'll ever have!


Post written by Guest Author Lauren Eaton

Lauren Eaton is a dedicated mom to her daughter Quinn, who fuels her passion for making sustainable choices for a better future. By day, she runs a farm-to-table restaurant, serving nourishing meals to her community. By night, she shares her eco-conscious wisdom on her blog, ByLaurenEaton.com. Whether she's curating local cuisine or blogging about responsible living, Lauren is always inspired to act for the good of her family and the planet.

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