July 27, 2021 6 min read

Cotton percale is one of the most luxurious and affordable types of organic bedding on the market. Known for its softness and boho-chic style, percale bedding is incredibly lightweight, durable and works well in all climates. But not everyone is familiar with percale or why it’s preferred over other types of cotton bedding. Read on to learn everything you need to know about cotton percale!

What Does Percale Mean?

If you’ve ever been shopping for cotton sheets, you’ve probably come across the term “percale.” But what does percale mean? Percale is a type of weave used when manufacturing fabrics, most often bedding. It follows a specific thread pattern: one- yarn-under, one-yarn-over. Not all fabrics are woven. Some are knit or even bonded together through other treatments. However, in order to be classified as a percale fabric, the material has to be woven in a specific manner. This grid-like pattern may seem basic, but it’s unique to percale. The tight, strict weave makes percale lightweight, durable, and smooth to the touch. It’s like the linen of cotton but crisper.

Grey Percale Sheets Green sage percale flat sheet

Types of Percale Bedding

Cream percale sheets Blue Percale Sheets

Now that we know percale only refers to the type of weave used, not the material, you’re probably wondering, “What are percale sheets made of?” Though most percale bedding is cotton-based, you might find a sheet set blended with other fabrics too. The most popular types of percale bedding include:

  • Cotton. Percale is traditionally made from cotton, so cotton percale sheets are the easiest to come by. Still, there is a wide range of factors that distinguish high- quality cotton from others. Look for combed long-staple cotton fibers, high thread counts, and organic cotton certification when shopping for percale bedding.
  • Silk. If you’re looking for a wrinkle resistant version of percale, silk blends are a great choice. This natural textile is ultra-smooth and soft on its own, but combining it with cotton adds longevity.
  • Rayon. Rayon textiles are all the rage these days. This environmentally-friendly wood-pulp-based fabric is often sourced from eucalyptus, but other plants, including bamboo and cotton, can work as well. Blending rayon with cotton gives the fabric a silkier texture that’s slightly less prone to creases than cotton.
  • Synthetic. Though synthetic fibers aren’t as green as natural materials, they do offer unique benefits. Synthetics like polyester balance out the two most significant drawbacks of cotton: creases and shrinkage. While this blend is less breathable than other percale, it’s much more durable.
Blue Percale Duvet cover

What’s the Difference Between Cotton and Cotton Percale?

Cotton refers to the type of material and cotton percale is a type of weave. In other words, there are several ways you can weave cotton sheets and cotton percale is one of the most common. Other common weaves include sateen and Oxford.

Is Cotton Percale Considered “Luxury Bedding”?

Cotton percale sheets are synonymous with luxury bedding for many reasons ranging from texture to breathability and durability. Unlike some luxury linens, is reasonably low maintenance and incredibly easy to care for! Our collection can be machine washed and tumbled dried without having to follow complicated instructions. Bonus: It becomes softer with every wash!

What Does Percale Feel Like?

If you’ve never experienced percale before, it has a similar feel to linen. However, when it comes to percale vs linen, percale takes the cake. Linen has a much more textured feel, while percale is much smoother and has a crisp feel to it that linen lacks. Cotton percale also features an effortlessly beautiful matte finish that you just don’t get with other weaves.

Benefits of Cotton Percale Bedding

The advantages of buying percale cotton sheets are endless. From their smooth feel to temperature regulation, the list goes on and on. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love this material too:

  • Durability. The beauty of cotton percale is that it’s incredibly long-lasting. Percale’s long, often combed cotton fibers woven in a tight pattern ensure that a set of these sheets will last for years and years to come. This textile also resists pesky pilling and grows softer with every wash.
  • Breathable. When comparing the breathability of similar weave types, the difference between percale and sateen stands out: percale has much better body temperature regulation. Percale only requires a minimum 180 thread count, so it’s naturally lighter and less dense than other fabrics. In turn, it’s highly breathable to keep you cool and comfortable all night long. Hot sleepers: give cotton percale duvet covers a try.
  • Naturally safe. When it comes to the materials you’re resting your head on every night, safety should be a top priority. So long as you’re purchasing certified organic cotton, that’s never an issue. Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic, making it safe for even the most sensitive of sleepers. Plus, organic cotton eliminates the risk of harmful chemicals being mixed in with your bedding. No one wants that!
  • Hypo-Allergenic. A unique trait that makes organic percale cotton stand out against other luxury bedding materials is that its tight weave makes it resistant to dust and dust mites. Of course, you still need to be regularly washing your bedding, but these hygienic properties offer some peace of mind so you can sleep easier. But this doesn’t solely apply to percale — the same goes for organic sateen bedding too.
  • Affordable. Cotton percale sheets are generally inexpensive. Since this fabric doesn’t require a high thread count to feel luxurious, you can find a budget- friendly percale without compromising quality. Better yet, these sheets last for years and years, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of them.

What to Look for When Shopping for Cotton Percale Sheets

Not all percale bedding is created equally. Here are some things to look out for before buying a cotton percale sheets:

Type of Cotton

As we mentioned earlier, labels can be misleading. Just because bedding is made out of 100 percent cotton doesn’t mean it’ll be made of high-end cotton. Always double- check to see precisely what cotton variety you’re getting. Remember, if it’s a high-quality type, the product description will say. It is a selling point, after all.

Thread Counts

Not all fabrics require high thread counts, and percale is one of them. While people generally consider higher thread counts to be more luxurious, that isn’t always the case. When it comes to cotton percale, anything around 200 is ideal. You don’t need to splurge on anything higher than that.


It’s important to know what kind of companies you’re supporting and, in turn, what type of product you’re investing in. That’s where certifications come into play. If you can, aim for qualifications like Oeko-Tex organic cotton, fair trade, and B corps certifications. These ensure your bedding is safe and that those making it are being fairly compensated while working in good conditions.

Warranties and Return Policy

Sometimes what you love in store just doesn’t translate well to your home. That’s normal! That’s why it’s always a good idea to find out what kind of return policies are offered before you buy your new bedding. Also, inquire about warranties while you’re at it because, well, life happens, and a warranty can save you lots of money in the long run.

What’s Included

If you’re purchasing a sheet set, always take a look at what exactly is included in the package. Is it just a top and fitted sheet? Are there matching pillowcases? Be sure to look into this before leaving the store (or clicking the checkout button) to avoid disappointment when you bring your bedding home.

Green Percale Sheet set

Final Thoughts About Cotton Percale Bedding

Percale fabric is naturally unique: after all, the weave type is quite literally what sets it apart from other materials. Or & Zon’s collection of cotton percale bedding is lightweight, low-maintenance and oh so luxurious! From crisp, cool duvet covers to sheet sets that become softer wash after wash, what’s not to love about this affordable cotton fabric? Shop our collection of percale bedding now!