¿Qué tipos de algodón existen?

What types of cotton are there?

An organic cotton does not imply high quality.


Cotton fabrics are natural fabrics of plant origin.

They are born from the cotton plant, when it matures it is collected, its fibers become thread and from it the cotton fabric is produced.

How to classify cotton? Well, it depends on what we interpret as cotton. As we are very methodical we go in parts, as Jack said.

Classification according to the origin of the plant :

There are about 40 species of cotton, although only 4 are used commercially. Ordered from lowest to highest quality:

  • Gossypium arboreum. Originally from India and Pakistan.
  • Gossypium herbaceum. native to africa
  • Gossypium hirsutum. Native to America.
  • Gossypium barbadense. Originally from South America.

The hirsutum plant is the most widespread species worldwide. Although its origin is American, it is a species cultivated in Turkey as well as the Barbadense species.

Classification according to fiber length:

We have said that prior to spinning the cotton, the fibers are collected. These are found around the seed of the plant. They are classified by their length. We have previously said that the plants were ordered from lowest to highest quality, note that they will be directly associated with the length of the fiber they offer, and this is one of the parameters that determine the quality of cotton. 

The longer the fiber, the better the cotton quality.

In the following table cottons are classified based on the length of their fiber, it is seen in the third column how each length coincides with a species. And those of higher quality give rise to commercial names and therefore a third classification.

cotton type

fiber length


Common name

short fiber

< 20mm

Gossypium herbaceum Gossypium arboreum


medium fiber

20 - 34mm

Gossypium hirsutum

Upland Cotton

Long or extra long fiber

34 - 42mm

Gossypium barbadense

Pima cotton or Tangüis,

Egyptian cotton

Classification according to the common name:

  • Pima Cotton: It is an extra long fiber cotton, as we have seen, originating from the Barbadense plant. It comes from southern Ecuador. A tropical plant with yellow or black flowers. We are talking about a high quality and very expensive cotton. Used for luxury garments.
  • Egyptian cotton. It is an extra long fiber cotton, originating from the Barbadense plant. We are talking about a cotton of very high quality and high price. Used in luxury garments.
  • Upland cotton. It is a medium fiber cotton. Originally sourced in America, also grown in Turkey. It is a good quality cotton, and the one commonly used in good garments.
  • Where does organic cotton fit into all these classifications?

    Organic cotton enters all the classifications, why? Because they are the same plants, with the same fibers, only grown without chemical agents.  This makes it a less polluting and healthier cotton.

    That is… you may be buying low-quality organic cotton if it has a short fiber.

    Therefore, organic cotton does not imply high quality.

    Of course, it will not have been cultivated with chemical agents. To see the impact of growing organic cotton vs cotton or recycled polyester, we recommend this post.

    How can we know if the cotton we are buying is not of good quality?

    You cannot know the length of the fiber without going through technical tests to verify it.

    Apart from this classification, we must not forget that there are two more steps, the thread and the fabric. Here you have to consider the number of threads per inch, and the weaving process. We will tell you about the different types of cotton that exist in the next post.


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