What Is Cotton?

Cotton fabric is derived from the fibers surrounding the seeds of cotton plants. It is one of the most commonly used types of fabrics in the world.

Cotton is a staple textile of the fashion industry. Every closet probably houses a large percentage of cotton items, be it plain cotton, dyed cotton, or cotton mix. Cotton is a natural fiber derived from cotton plants whose use dates back to the 5000 B.C.

Where Does Cotton Grow?

Cotton grows in nearly all tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the U.S., China, India, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Brazil, and Turkey.

Types of Cotton

There are four different types of cotton, each with its own characteristics.

  • Pima cotton : Considered the finest type of cotton in the world, pima cotton’s fibers are extra soft and extra long. The cotton is native to South America and the American Southwest. Pima cotton fabric is very highly-sought after, as it is resistant to fading, tearing, and wrinkling.
  • Egyptian cotton: Egyption cotton is very similar to pima cotton. The two are even in the same scientific class: gossypium barbadense. It has the same resistant qualities, but it is grown in the Nile River Valley in Egypt.
  • Upland cotton: Upland cotton has very short fibers and makes up about 90% of the world’s total cotton production. The crop is native to and grown in Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and southern Florida.
  • Organic cotton:  Organic cotton is any type of cotton that is grown without chemicals and from plants that are not genetically engineered.

What Are the Characteristics of Cotton?

  • Softness: The cotton plant is soft and fluffy and results in a fabric often retains that soft feel.
  • Durability: The cotton plant’s cellular structure is strong, creating a tough and wear-and-tear resistant fabric.
  • Absorbency: Cotton fabric is very absorbent fabric because there is a lot of space between the cotton fibers.
  • Holds dye well: Due to its absorbent nature, cotton takes dye very easily and can be made into a wide variety of colors.
  • Breathability: The fiber structure of cotton makes it more breathable than synthetic fibers.
  • No static cling: Cotton does not conduct electricity, therefore static is not an issue with cotton.

Uses of Cotton

  • Woven fabrics: Cotton is used to make a variety of woven fabrics, including canvas, denim, damask, flannel, and more.
  • Clothing:  Cotton is a fixture of the textile industry as a result of its mass production, soft feel, durability, and absorbency. Cotton is frequently used for T-shirts, blue jeans, dresses, sweats, and so much more.
  • Bed sheets and towels: Since cotton is extremely soft and absorbent, it is an ideal fabric for bedroom linens and towels needed to sop up moisture.
  • Underwear: For the same reasons, cotton makes comfortable and durable undergarments.
  • Home decor: Cotton is also used throughout the home for upholstery, curtains, rugs, pillows.
  • Cottonseed oil: Cottonseed is a byproduct of the cotton production process, and the seeds are used to manufacture cottonseed oil, which is used for salad dressing and margarine. It can also be used in makeup, soap, candles and more.

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