Cotton is a comfortable,
natural fibre. The exact age of cotton is unknown, but evidences are found
about its existence even before the birth of Christ. Currently, cotton is one
of the mostly used fibres applied in a variety of products ranging from men, women
and kids apparels, towels, handbags, medical and sanitary supplies, to home decor.
Cotton is being admired for its virtues and is even praised as 'King Cotton'
due to its cultural influence. Despite its comfort, softness, and moisture
absorbing capability, cotton wrinkles very easily. The way people like to avoid
wrinkles on their skin, they do not want it on their clothes either. To make
cotton clothes wrinkle free it needs to be blended with other synthetic fibres
like polyester. However, 100% cotton clothes are now demanded by most of the
people. And time-pressed consumers crave for cotton clothing that is both
comfortable, and easy to wear and care. Manufacturing 100% and wrinkle free
cotton fabrics is a deceptive and complex process. Researchers are now working
on the concept of manufacturing such fabrics.
Due to the increasing demand for
100% cotton fabrics, durable press finishes are being used on these clothes. Generally,
cotton fibers are spun into yarn, woven into fabric, and then dyed, and the
last part of the process is treating it with a 'cross-linking' resin. The applications
of formaldehyde based reagents that are used to create these apparels are now
creating ripples all across the globe backing up with concerns for human health
and environment. Previously an organic acid called butanetetracarboxylic acid
(BTCA) was used as a substitute of formaldehyde. But the high cost of BCTA
prevented its applications on a commercial scale.
Researchers have come up with a
technique to dye cotton fabrics to be treated with an anti-wrinkle finish and
then dyed later. Currently, cotton fabrics are dyed before the anti-wrinkle
treatment because, once treated, the fabric tends to repel dyes. Cotton fibre
has to swell to accept the molecules of the dye, and once the fabric is heated
and treated with the anti-wrinkle finish, it will not accept the dye as like an
This fabric nature has placed the
garment manufacturers in jeopardy, as they will have to dye the garments well
in advance and hope that the colors will be in fashion for the next season.
This constraint made them to have only limited stock of wrinkle free cotton
garments on their racks. The new technique of the researchers allows the
garments to be treated with the anti-wrinkle finish before the garment is dyed.
This chemical treatment minimizes wrinkles and gives a smooth appearance to the
fabrics. This does not reduce the breathability, absorbency, and comfort of the
cotton fabrics. These fabrics displayed durable press performance, laundering
durability and high fabric strength retention, and also prove to be
Technology has augmented to the
development of 100% cotton garments that provide style, comfort, and also
retain a just ironed appearance throughout the whole day. This modified finish
will enhance the marketability of cotton garments against the synthetic
fabrics. A survey states that out 62% of all the women surveyed; preferred to
wear wrinkle resistant cotton clothing over the normal cotton slacks. Wrinkle
free finishing, if is able to capture the market, will make ironing a faded
memory, and liberate women from the rigid task of ironing.