Cotton fabric is made from the fluffy seed pods of the cotton plant. Its quality is dependent on the original fibre length – the longer the better, and more expensive the cotton!
Fabric qualities: Cotton is hardy, heat resistant and doesn’t tear easily. It absorbs a great deal of moisture (up to about 20 % of its own weight without feeling wet and up to 65 % without dripping. However, it dries very slowly. The process of mercerising (soaking it in a natron solution while it is stretched) gives the fabric a slight sheen, while raising its strength and absorption capacities. Cotton does not keep you warm but roughening can improve its warming qualities. Cotton fabric creases easily and can shrink in the wash. Special treatment can prevent cotton from shrinking and make it more crease-resistant (easy-care).
Fabric care: The care depends on the fabric pre-treatment. White cotton can be boiled, coloureds can be machine-washed up to 60 decrees C and delicate coloureds up to 40 decrees C. Use special detergent for whites and detergent without brightener for coloureds. Towelling and underwear will remain wonderfully soft in the drier, even without a softener. However, there’s a high risk of shrinkage, so only use the drier if it’s specially mentioned on the label. Easy-care cottons should be hung up wet to drip dry, then ironed at the wool setting. Otherwise cottons can be ironed at the cotton/linen setting, best slightly damp or with a steam iron.
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