The most luxurious supreme cotton is handpicked. However, handpicked cotton is a rarity in today's world.
Handpicking is a MUST for top supreme quality cotton for two reasons:
- the cotton strands can be preserved in the longest threads possible and
- handpicking avoids contamination.
Cotton matures from the bottom up. So to get the finest longest strands of cotton it is important to pick the bottom of the stem first then a month or two, come back and harvest the top of the stem once it has matured.
Machine harvesting takes the entire plant (stem, seeds, leaves and grit and even plastic bags that flew in from a nearby road) into it's cotton picker. So the short cotton fibers are mixed with the long cotton fibers. Machine harvested cotton stresses and breaks cotton strands when it pulls and tears the plant from it's roots.
Thereby machinery fractures a potentially long strand of cotton into a shorter frayed strand of cotton. Oil and grease from machinery, plastics and other trash get picked up and put right in with the cotton when it is machine harvested causing contamination. If you have ever seen a black line or thread running through your t-shirt or bed sheets, this is contamination (most likely grease and oils from the machinery).
Handpicking makes contamination nearly impossible. The cotton pickers association notes contamination as being a very big area of concern for today's farmers.*
Handpicking... Handpicking guarantees the cottons purity while putting no stress on the fine fibers resulting in extra long staple strands.
AREAS of concern between handpicked and machine harvested cotton:
LONG STAPLE COTTON... Handpicking avoids mixing mature and immature plants. Machine picked cotton is harvested all at once with the mature plants being tossed in with the immature cotton hence creating a lot of wasted cotton and substandard cotton fibers. Why is Long Staple Cotton so important? The longer the threads, the softer, more durable, more luxurious the cotton. Shorter threads lead to pilling, breakage points and a harsher brasher fabric.
- CONTAMINATION...Handpicking also avoids taking in plastics and oils from machinery with the cotton. As everyone knows machinery can go bad, oil can leak from it’s parts, grease can spray thereby causing liquids to be soaked into the cotton. With handpicking this is all avoided. Plastic ties that are used to help the plants stay up while growing or bags that may fly into the environment from places like the cars passing by are all consumed into the cotton picking machinery causing plastic bits to become a part of machinery picked cotton.*
According to DeBora Rachelle, of DeBora Rachelle Luxury Linens, handpicked cotton is getting harder and harder to find. DeBora Rachelle searched high and low for the perfect handpicked cotton and finally found it by the Tibet boarder in a provence called Xinjiang. "You could just tell by looking at the bolls of cotton that they seemed happier! These bolls were bigger, fluffier, unstressed and just bursting out to be made into fine fabric", claims DeBora. DeBora explains, "In Xinjiang, the growing conditions are supreme! Xinjiang is the SOLE PRODUCER of long-staple cotton in it's country and it produces the highest quality cotton. The fact is the environmental conditions in Xinjiang are ideal for cotton cultivation with it's hot, dry climate and high thermal capacity it's absolutely perfect for growing cotton. There is a lot of daylight and minimal precipitation and high daytime temperatures plunge at night. Putting this together with the snow-melt irrigation makes Xinjiang’s region unparalleled. There is also a scarcity of pests in this region which keeps down production costs and pesticides."
When asking about the provided photos, and how happy the workers looked picking these huge bolls of cotton, DeBora explains, "you always hear about labor conditions being a concern in foreign countries, however, our company follows the BSCI standards and so must every company we work with. These laborers are just as happy as the bolls of cotton they were picking!"
- **For more information regarding why longer strands are important in linens and bed sheets, see this blog: https://debora-rachelle-luxury-linens.myshopify.com/blogs/news/what-is-long-staple-cotton-why-is-long-staple-cotton-in-the-finest-best-most-luxurious-top-bed-sheets
- For hand-picked 100% cotton bed sheet go to www.deborarachelle.com