Cotton is a comfortable fiber. Appropriate for year-round use, it is the fiber most preferred for many furnishings and for warm-weather clothing Cotton Fiber Properties especially where the climate is hot and humid. Reviewing the fiber property tables in Chapter 3 will help when comparing cotton’s performance to that of other fibers.
Cotton Fiber Properties details bellow
Aesthetics: Cotton fabrics certainly have consumer acceptance. Their matte appearance and low luster are the standards that have been retained with many blends used in apparel and furnishings.
Long-staple cotton fibers contribute luster to fabrics. Mercerized and ammonia-treated cotton fabrics have a soft, pleasant luster resulting from the finishes; cotton sateen’s luster is due to a combination of fabric structure and finishing.
Durability: Cotton is a medium-strength fiber, with a dry breaking tenacity of 3.5 to 4.0 g/d (grams per denier). It is 30 percent stronger when wet. Long staple cotton produces stronger yarns because there are more contact points among the fibers when they are twisted together. Because of its higher wet strength, cotton can be handled roughly during laundering and in use. So durability is one of the most impotent Cotton Fiber Properties.
. Abrasion resistance is good; heavy fabrics are more abrasion-resistant than thinner fabrics. Fiber elongation is low (3 percent), with low elasticity.
Comfort: Cotton makes very comfortable fabrics for skin contact because of its high absorbency, soft hand, and good heat and electrical conductivity (static buildup is not a problem). It has no surface characteristics that irritate the skin. Comfort is another Cotton Fiber Properties. Cotton has moisture regain of 7 to 11 percent. When cotton becomes wet, the fibers swell and become more pliant. This property makes it possible to give a smooth, flat finish to cotton fabrics in pressing or finishing and makes high-count woven fabrics water-repellent. However, as cotton fabrics absorb more moisture in cool, damp conditions, they feel wet or clammy and eventually may become uncomfortable.
Still, cotton is good for use in hot and humid weather. The fibers absorb moisture and feel good against the skin in high humidity. The fiber ends in the spun yarn hold the fabric slightly off the skin for greater comfort. Moisture passes freely through the fabric, thus aiding evaporation and cooling.
Appearance Retention: Overall appearance retention for cotton is moderate. It has very low resiliency. The hydrogen bonds holding the molecular chains together are weak, and when fabrics are bent or crushed, particularly in the presence of moisture, the chains move freely to new positions. When pressure is removed, these weak internal forces cannot pull the chains back to their original positions, so the fabrics stay wrinkled. Appearance Retention is an effective Cotton Fiber Properties .Creases can be pressed in and wrinkles can be pressed out, but wrinkling during use and care remain a problem. However, cotton fibers can be given a durable-press finish or blended with polyester and given a durable-press finish so they do not wrinkle as easily. Unfortunately, these finishes decrease fiber strength and abrasion resistance.
Cotton’s poor resiliency means that it is seldom used in pile rugs or carpets. However, ongoing research is attempting to improve cotton’s performance in this significant market.
All-cotton fabrics shrink unless they have been given a durable-press finish or a shrinkage-resistant finish. Untreated cottons shrink less when washed in cool water and drip-dried; they shrink more when washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer. When they are used again, they tend to stretch out slightly—think of cotton denim jeans or fitted cotton sheets.
Shrinkage should not be noticeable for all cotton fabrics that have been given a wrinkle resistant or durable-press finish or that have been treated for shrinkage. However, more effort may be needed with hand-woven or short-staple cotton fabrics, unless the label includes specific information about shrinkage.
Elastic recovery is moderate. Cotton recovers is75 percent from a 2 to 5 percent stretch. In other words, cotton tends to stay stretched out in areas of stress, such as in the elbow or knee areas of garments.
Care: Cotton can be washed with strong detergents and requires no special care during washing and drying. White cottons can be washed in hot water. Many dyed cottons retain their color better if washed in warm, not hot, water. If items are not heavily soiled, cool water cleans them adequately. Cotton releases most soils readily, but soil-resistant finishes are desirable for some furnishing and apparel uses. Use of chlorine bleach is appropriate for spot removal, but should not be used in regular laundering because excessive bleaching weakens cellulosic fibers. E Less wrinkling occurs in the dryer if items are removed immediately after drying. Cotton fabrics respond best to steam pressing or ironing while damp. Fabric blends of cotton and a heat-sensitive fiber need to be ironed at a lower temperature to avoid melting the heat-sensitive fiber. Cotton is not thermoplastic; it can be ironed safely at high temperatures. However, cotton burns readily.
Cotton draperies should be dry-cleaned. Cotton upholstery may be steam-cleaned, with caution. If shrinkage occurs, the fabric may split or rupture where it is attached to the frame.
Cottons should be stored clean and dry. In damp or humid conditions, mildew can form. Mildew digests cellulose and may cause holes if enough time elapses. If textiles smell of mildew, they can be laundered or bleached to remove the odor. But if the mildew areas are visible dark or black spots, they are permanent and indicate excessive fiber damage. Cotton is harmed by acids. Fruit and fruit juice stains should be treated promptly with cold water for easy removal. Cotton is not greatly harmed by alkalis. Cotton is resistant to organic solvents, so it can be safely dry-cleaned.
Cotton oxidizes in sunlight, which causes white and pastel cottons to yellow and all cotton to degrade. Some dyes are especially sensitive to sunlight, and when used in window-treatment fabrics the dyed areas disintegrate.