Pillowcases and sheets come in various blends of materials and weaves. Whether buying pillowcases in bulk or buying just a dozen, here are the main differences between the materials used:
- Made of 100% Cotton: Cotton is a natural substance that is farmed from the cotton plant. 100% cotton pillowcases or all cotton pillowcases are very soft. Cotton is not a man-made material, and is therefore very natural. A cotton pillowcase will shrink a little when washed. A cotton pillowcase will also wrinkle more easily when removed from the wash. Some people will even iron cotton pillowcases to make them look the best.
- Made of 100% Egyptian Cotton: These pillowcases have the same attributes shown in a cotton pillowcase discussed above. However, Egyptian cotton comes from long staple cotton grown in Egypt and the long staple makes it very soft.
Cotton Polyester Blend: These pillowcases are made using material that was blended together with natural cotton and a man made fiber called polyester. A blended cotton polyester pillowcase will shrink less then 100% cotton. In addition, this type of blend will come out of the wash usually looking less wrinkled and does not require ironing to make a nice finish.
Pure Finish Percale: This fabric has a smooth finish and is tightly woven. It generally has a brighter appearance and will last much longer in the laundry. It comes in either 100% cotton or blended fabrics.
Mercerized Cotton: This is a special kind of cotton yarn that is more lustrous than conventional cotton. It is also stronger, takes dye a little more readily, makes the yarn more resistant to mildew and reduces lint. It also may not shrink or lose its shape as much as "regular" cotton. Mercerized yarn stays shiny through washing and gives a nice, somewhat fancier look to finished items. Source About.com.