Cotton: all about cotton

 - Cotton: all about cotton
Cotton: all about cotton

Just like wool, there are several types of cotton. It starts life as a plant grown in the Americas, Australia, Africa and India. The plant has been used to make fabrics since prehistoric times.

What is cotton?

Cotton is a vegetable fiber that surrounds the seeds of the cotton plants. This fiber is then converted into threads that will then be woven to make... cloth. Since the 19th century and with the help of all industrial progress, cotton has become the leading textile fiber in the world.

The various properties of cotton

Ability to absorb : cotton vegetable fiber can absorb up to 8.5% of its weight in water. It goes without saying that thanks to this, cotton is often used to make bath linen. Check your labels: your towels, bathrobes and other facecloths are probably made of cotton.

Thermal insulation : even if you do not particularly like pilling (little fuzzy, bobbly balls that appear on the surface of fabric - whether intentional or not), it is the scratching of the cotton fabric to make it pill, which makes the surface fluffy. That way it can retain the air heated by contact with the body and "keep you warm". For example, the tops such as cotton jersey zipped hoodies that have been scratched on the inside, have that furry look that is so warm and comfortable to wear.

Heating : cotton is a fabric that can withstand high temperatures. We can therefore boil white cotton. On the other hand, cotton can be ironed with a hot iron (2 dots on the care instructions). But beware an iron that is too hot can still turn white cotton yellow.

Maintenance of cotton

One of the main advantages of cotton is washing. It is not very fragile, and it can be machine-washed at a temperature of 100° F for a t-shirt or 85° F for clothing as delicate as your smalls. Avoid temperatures that are too high but especially washing it too frequently, for that damages the cloth and can make it limp.

Bleach can be used safely on white cotton but not chlorine (it slowly burns the cotton fiber). It can actually be used when it is very diluted to bleach a piece of clothing, but it is best to leave this job to a professional.

Use a stain remover that preserves the colors on colored cotton cloth. Please note, cotton fibers are not elastic, it easily wrinkles and the fabric may need to be frequently ironed.

The different kinds of cotton

Blended or modified cotton
Currently, cotton is most often blended with synthetic fibers such as polyester. Therefore, it is of lower quality and is said to be more harmful to the environment. It's treated with many chemical substances so most people now prefer 100% cotton pieces or even organic cotton.

Organic cotton
Cotton produced by small producers (often fair trade) that do not use GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is usually termed organic. The pesticides they use are natural. Eg: manure as a fertilizer.

Benefits: The absence of chemicals makes the cotton kinder on the skin. It is hypoallergenic.

Washing instructions for organic cotton: machine wash at 100° with an eco-friendly detergent (if possible), avoid the dryer and either put on a washing line or a drying rack.


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