Fabrics, history and usage - COTTON April 09 2013, 0 Comments


Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural condition, the cotton balls will tend to increase the dispersion of the seeds.

The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, and India. The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa. Cotton was independently domesticated in the Old and New Worlds. The English name derives from the Arabic al-kutun, which began to be used since 1400 aC.

The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times; fragments of cotton fabric dated from 5000 bC have been excavated in Mexico and the Indus Valley Civilization (modern day Pakistan). Although cultivated since antiquity, it was the invention of the cotton gin that so lowered the cost of production that led to its widespread use, and it is the most widely used natural fiber cloth in clothing today.

Current estimates for world production are about 25 million tonnes annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land. China is the world's largest producer of cotton, but most of this is used domestically.


History of Cotton

Cotton was first cultivated in the Old World 7,000 years ago (5th millennium BC), by the inhabitants of Indus Valley civilization. Evidence of cotton cultivation has been found at the site of Mehrgarh, where early cotton threads have been preserved in copper beads. Cotton cultivation became more widespread during the Indus Valley Civilization, which covered a huge swath of the northwestern part of the South Asia, comprising today parts of eastern Pakistan and northwestern India. The Indus cotton industry was well developed and some methods used in cotton spinning and fabrication continued to be used until the modern industrialization of India. Between 2000 and 1000 BC cotton became widespread in much of India. For example, it has been found at the site of Hallus in Karnataka around 1000 BC. The use of cotton textiles had spread from India to the Mediterranean and beyond. 

Cotton fabrics discovered in a cave near Tehuacán, Mexico have been dated to around 5800 BC, although it is difficult to know for certain due to fiber decay. Other sources date the domestication of cotton in Mexico to approximately 5000 to 3000 BC. 

The Greeks and the Arabs were not familiar with cotton until the Wars of Alexander the Great, as his contemporary Megasthenes told Seleucus I Nicator of "there being trees on which wool grows" in "Indica".

Cotton has been spun, woven, and dyed since prehistoric times. It clothed the people of ancient India, Egypt, and China. Hundreds of years before the Christian era, cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill, and their use spread to the Mediterranean countries.

In Iran (Persia), the history of cotton dates back to the Achaemenid era (5th century BC); however, there are few sources about the planting of cotton in pre-Islamic Iran. The planting of cotton was common in Merv, Ray and Pars of Iran. In the poems of Persian poets, especially Ferdowsi's Shahname, there are references to cotton ("panbe" in Persian). Marco Polo (13th century) refers to the major products of Persia, including cotton. John Chardin, a French traveler of 17th century, who had visited the Safavid Persia, has approved the vast cotton farms of Persia. 

During the Han dynasty, cotton was grown by non Chinese peoples in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. 

In Peru, cultivation of the indigenous cotton species Gossypium barbadense was the backbone of the development of coastal cultures, such as the Norte Chico, Moche and Nazca. Cotton was grown upriver, made into nets and traded with fishing villages along the coast for large supplies of fish. The Spanish who came to Mexico and Peru in the early 16th century found the people growing cotton and wearing clothing made of it.

During the late medieval period, cotton became known as an imported fiber in northern Europe, without any knowledge of how it was derived, other than that it was a plant; noting its similarities to wool, people in the region could only imagine that cotton must be produced by plant-borne sheep. John Mandeville, writing in 1350, stated as fact the now-preposterous belief: "There grew there [India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungrie. This aspect is retained in the name for cotton in many European languages, such as German Baumwolle, which translates as "tree wool" (Baum means "tree"; Wollemeans "wool"). By the end of the 16th century, cotton was cultivated throughout the warmer regions in Asia and the Americas.


Types of cotton

There are four commercially grown species of cotton, all domesticated in antiquity:

• Gossypium hirsutum – upland cotton, native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and southern Florida, (90% of world production)

• Gossypium barbadense – known as extra-long staple cotton, native to tropical South America (8% of world production)

• Gossypium arboreum – tree cotton, native to India and Pakistan (less than 2%)

• Gossypium herbaceum – Levant cotton, native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (less than 2%)

The two New World cotton species account for the vast majority of modern cotton production, but the two Old World species were widely used before the 1900s. While cotton fibers occur naturally in colors of white, brown, pink and green, fears of contaminating the genetics of white cotton have led many cotton-growing locations to ban the growing of colored cotton varieties, which remain a specialty product.


Cleaning, Drying, Ironing and Storage

Probably the most common fabric in your closet — cotton fabrics require a few simple care tips to keep looking newer, longer.

While the care information for all cotton fabrics is similar, garments should be separated by weight. Lightweight cottons like tee shirts and knits should be washed and dried separately from heavier fabrics like denim.



Machine wash in a water temperature appropriate for the colour of the load. Use a wash cycle that is appropriate for the construction of the items in the load. Use a gentle cycle for loosely woven or knitted cotton garments.

 Maximum temperature 95 ° C. Washing and rinsing with normal mechanical action centrifuação normal. Cotton linen (sheets, towels, white socks).

 Maximum temperature 95 ° C. Washing and rinsing with reduced mechanical action and short centrifuação. Articles white cotton delicate structure. Tablecloths, embroidered sheets, etc..

 Maximum temperature 60 ° C. Washing and rinsing with normal mechanical action centrifuação normal. Articles cotton solid color, work clothes, shirts etc..

 Maximum temperature 60 ° C. Washing and rinsing with reduced mechanical action and short centrifuação. Articles polyester or cotton whites: sheets, shirts etc..

 Maximum temperature 40 ° C. Washing and rinsing with normal mechanical action and short centrifuação.

Articles of cotton and polyester, cotton solid color.



Tumble dry while dryer drum is cool and use low heat settings or as recommended on care label. Alternatively, reshape the garment and lie flat to dry.

 Drying on the machine possible

 Do not dry on the machine.



Use the cotton setting on a warm iron while the garment is still damp.

  The points located inside the iron indicate the maximum temperature. These points also appear in most modern irons. 

  High temperature: up to 200 ° C. Cotton, linen.  

  Do not iron. Cotton elastic.



Cotton is sensitive to mildew and acid. Dry garment thoroughly before storing. Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.



1.To treat stains, first make sure your cotton clothing is indeed spotted before washing it. If you have any stain, the best thing to do is purchase a product compatible remover and specific to your garment and apply it. You can treat the stain located, ie, only on the spot and no other point of his garment. For this reason, spot treatment products come with a narrow tip applicator to treat a small area at a time, while removing the stain out of cotton fibers. Follow the instructions on the container before washing your cotton clothes. The treatment site allow you to remove the stains that otherwise would not be removed with normal washing.

2.The best way to clean cotton cloth is through the use of detergent. It is recommended to use regular laundry detergent with bleach for colored clothes safe color if desired. For white cotton clothes, you can still use chlorine, check the label of your cotton clothing to determine if the bleach is appropriate or not. Moreover, to maintain soft cotton clothing, use a fabric softener. If conservation is important to you, the best way to clean cotton clothing includes the use of concentrated detergent or cleaner "green" (environmentally friendly).

3.Use a washing machine is the best way to wash cotton clothes. For cotton clothes white or light, choose warmer water if you find that your clothes need washing extra. For darker colors, always choose cold water because hot water will cause the dyes on cotton fabric fade, leaving it faded. If your clothing is delicate (such as lingerie), choose the "delicate" or "hand wash," to other cotton clothing. If a user is concerned about the environment, always use cold water to avoid using extra energy.

4.To dry your cotton clothes, hang them. However, it is always safer to follow the label instructions on the special care of your clothes to determine the drying cycle of your drying machine. When in doubt, set the dryer to the lowest heat setting to avoid shrinking or fading of clothes.


Garments made of cotton are very delicate. To prevent them from being marked will turn them inside out when ironing and spray them with a little water so as to become wet.


How to remove some stains


Dissolves in the wash. Treat the stain with a little detergent, rub and rinse. For old stains, mixing the alcohol in water.


Coffee / Cocoa

Soak the piece in a concentrated detergent and rinse. If stains persist, soften with glycerine and rinse with warm water. Dealing with solvent stain.



Con-cleaning solvent or dry cleaning.



Remove the wax as you can. Then place a piece of cloth with the stain between two absorbent papers and pass with the iron at a moderate temperature. May be used benzene to remove traces. Finally, wash the garment as usual.



Use a spray specifically for chicle or place the garment in a plastic bag and then place in the freezer about 60 minutes. To eliminate the halo rub the affected area with a cloth soaked in acetone (except in tissues containing in its composition acetate, triacetate or modacrylic).



Soak the piece in a concentrated detergent and rinse. If stains persist, soften with glycerine and rinse with warm water. Dealing with solvent stain.



Remove the protruding part of the glue and then rub the stain with a cloth soaked in acetone. Do not use acetone in tissues containing in its composition acetate, triacetate or modacrylic. If so, wash the fabric normally.



Rub the affected area with Ethyl alcohol and allow to dry. Wash with soap and water. In most difficult situations, "immerse" the stain in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (10 volumes) and water at a ratio of 1 to 3. Then wash with a detergent bleach.



Soak the garment in cold water and then rub the stain with soap and water. If the stain is already dry, should be dissolved in a mixture of warm water and glycerin for 60 minutes. Finally wash the garment in the machine.



Remove the fat with an absorbent cloth or pouring a little talcum powder on the stain. Wait a bit and brush. Rub the stain with soap and water (if the water let dry for 60 minutes). Finally, wash the usual manner.


Pen's Ink

Soak the stain in a mixture of water and alcohol for a few minutes and then wash the part.



Rinse immediately. May use a solvent with a base absorbent. The stains usually not older leaves.


Tomato sauce

Soak the stain in a mixture of water and detergent, 1 to 3 hours and then wash the part.


Apply on the affected area a solution of lemon juice and salt. Leave it on about two hours and rinse. Then rinse the machine.