URAL EX TENSION SERVICES
UNIVERSITY ^^^^ OF FLORIDA*
Fabric Finishes Developed for Aesthetic Appearance
Color and Design .
Vat Dyes ... .. ..
Fluorescent Dyes .....
Printing .. . .. .
Surface Effects .. .
Napping .................... ....
Sueding ...... . ...... .........
Shearing .. .....
Mercerized Cotton .........
Stretch Fabrics .......... ..... .
Cotton ... . .......
W ool .... ...............
Three Dimensional Surface Effects ......
Embossing .. ..
M oireing ........
Crinkle Effects ......... .. ...
Feel or Hand, Body and Drape .........
Temporary Sizings ........... ...
Permanent Sizings ...............
Fabric Finishes Developed for Serviceability .
Resin Finishes .. ... . .....
Thermoplastic Resins ..............
Thermosetting Resins ............ .
Dimensional Stability Finishes ..........
Crease and Wrinkle Resistant-Wash and'
Waterproof and Water Repellent Finishes
Stain and Spot Resistant Finishes ......
Moth Resistant Finishes ................
Mildew Resistant Finishes .............
Hygienic Finishes ... .........
Antistatic Finishes ....................
Insulating Finishes ...............................
Flame Retardant Finishes ........................
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Finishes ..... 1
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The 20th century has produced a textile world in which skilled chemists
and engineers have created a fabulous array of fabrics for beauty and
ease in living. Whether it is for travel in space or travel through a work-
ing day, a fabric of any fiber can now be transformed to meet today's
demands. This transformation is accomplished through the science and
art of fabric finishing.
Fabric finishing usually starts when cloth comes from the loom or
knitting machine. At this point, the cloth is known as gray goods or
greige goods. It is a limp, rough, colorless "rag," full of blemishes and
impurities. By selecting from a host of different processes or finishing
techniques, the manufacturer converts the gray goods into beautiful
fabric, glowing with color and design, appealing to the touch, and func-
tional in use.
Since many finishes are invisible to the eye, it is not always easy to
recognize a specific fabric finish; but the effects of these finishes are
evident in the behavior of the fabric.
Information about fabric finishes will enable the consumer to make
wise purchases in terms of satisfaction for money spent, satisfaction in
use, and satisfaction in care.
How can fabric finishes be identified? As yet, label information on
fabric finishes and their performance and care is not mandatory. Manu-
facturers, however, often provide this information. Look for the follow-
Labels and hangtags on textile products.
Printed information on the selvage edge of the fabric.
Printed information on fabric bolts.
Developed for Aesthetic Appearance
Color and Design
Color may be applied to fabrics in many ways. Knowledge of the fol-
lowing processes will be helpful in the selection, use, and care of fabrics,
garments, and household furnishings.
The name "vat dye" originated
long ago when a certain type of
dyestuff had to steep for several
days in a large container called a
vat. Today, this term refers to a
specific group of dyestuffs and not
to the method by which the dye is
applied. Vat dyes:
are applied mainly to cotton, linen, and rayon.
are considered the most colorfast of all dyes to washing, light, bleach-
ing, and drycleaning, though not every color is fast in every respect.
provide a rainbow of color from the most delicate tints to the
richest, deepest tones, with the exception of some bright reds and
are applied to yarns and fabrics to provide solid colors or are
printed on fabrics to create design in a variety of colors.
are more costly to produce and apply than other dyes.
Uses: Drapery, upholstery, and slip cover fabrics; children's clothes;
women's and girls' blouses, skirts, dresses, and sportswear; men's shirts,
slacks, sportswear, and work clothes.
Specific trade names may indicate a vat dye such as Savalux.
Fluorescent dyes reflect more light than conventional dyes and give a
luminous, brilliant, or iridescent appearance to yarns and fabrics. In the
presence of light, fluorescent dyes react quite differently from ordinary
dyes: They change the invisible ultraviolet rays of daylight into visible
light which intensifies the color. Fluorescent dyes may be used as solid
colors or in vivid prints. These dyes do not stand up to the action of
Care: Fluorescent-dyed fabrics are very unstable to drycleaning and
laundering. They are sensitive to alkalies and some cleaning solvents,
and as a result, severe color changes and bleeding may occur.
Uses: Safety clothing and furnishings; draperies used in places of
amusement; theatrical costumes, swim suits, sports coats, sweaters, and
Specific trade names may indicate a fluorescent dye such as Day-glo.
Fluorescent compounds for optical bleaching are used extensively
today in the textile industry to brighten and whiten both yarns and
woven and knitted fabrics. They may be used to minimize the degree
of chemical bleaching required or to obtain a whiteness superior to that
of chemical bleaching or bluing. The fluorescent white compounds are
absorbed into the fiber and give off a bluish fluorescence that conceals
Fluorescent compounds in the form of optical bleaches are found in
many detergents for the whitening of cellulose textiles during home and
Printing may be defined as the decoration of the surface of fabric by
the application of dyes in a variety of patterns and colors. Printing is
accomplished by a number of fascinating processes which produce
Block printing is the oldest form of printing known to man. To deco-
rate fabric by this method, blocks of wood, metal, or linoleum are carved
with motifs or patterns. A different block is required for each color used
in a design. Dye in paste form is applied to the face of the block, which
is then pressed and hammered onto the fabric. This operation must be
repeated for each unit of the printed design.
Today the production of hand block printed fabrics is limited, and the
few which are produced are expensive. However, machine printed fabrics
duplicating certain characteristics of hand-blocked prints are frequently
found on the market.
Screen printing is accomplished by forcing dye through a screen con-
sisting of a tautly stretched and framed layer of gauze that serves as a
stencil. The design is applied to the gauze by hand painting with resist
ink or by photographic development. A different screen must be pre-
pared for each color in the design.
Hand screen printed fabrics are produced in limited quantities. How-
ever, automatic screen printing machines have recently been developed
to print 360 yards of fabric per hour in an unlimited range of colors. All
companies have not yet converted to this rapid printing process.
The silk screen process is used to print woven and knitted fabrics and
designs too large for roller printing.
Roller printing employs copper rollers, engraved with a pattern, to
pick up dyes that transfer the pattern onto the fabric. A separate en-
graved roller is required for each color in a design. The circumference
of rollers may vary from one design to another, depending on the size
of the pattern. A small dress print would have more repeats in the pattern
and could be engraved on a smaller roller than a large over-all print
used for tablecloths or drapery fabric.
PRINTING MACHINE --
PRINTED CLOTH BLANKET
ENG.V. ING AVED ROLLER
*\ s( )DOCTOR BLADE
0-C ^ a FURNISHER ROLLER
Advantages of roller printing:
Greater production; 15,000 yards of fabric may be printed in 8 hours
on one machine.
Lower cost; roller printing is the most economical method of pro-
ducing colqr and design on fabric.
Uniformity in colors and patterns.
A problem in roller printing is off-grain printing, caused by one of the
Crooked tentering. Tentering performs the double process of
stretching and straightening fabrics as they are dried. The function
of a tentering machine is the same as that of a curtain stretcher.
The fabric is fed into the machine, which has pins or clips along the
sides to hold the selvages of the fabric firmly in place. If a fabric is
started into the tenter in a crooked position, the warp and filling
yarns will not be at right angles to each other when the cloth is
dried; thus, fabrics printed after crooked tentering are printed off-
Skew in fabric. This results when one selvage leads the other in
passing through the roller printing machine.
Bow in fabric. This results when the center of the fabric lags behind
the selvage edges.
BOW IN FABRICS
SKEW IN FABRICS BOW IN FABRICS
Manufacturers are making an effort to overcome fabric distortions
during finishing processes. Some companies that sell fabrics have con-
tracts with manufacturers stipulating a maximum off-grain tolerance of
Burned-out printing creates lacy or sheer-and-heavy design effects in
blended or combination fabrics by printing them with chemicals that
burn out or destroy portions of one of the fibers. Burned-out printing is
an effective means of producing eyelet and other types of openwork in
Plisse printing is accomplished by applying caustic soda to cotton
fabric in stripes or designs. The portions of fabric exposed to caustic
soda shrink, causing the unexposed areas to crinkle. Percale and lawn
are used for plisse printing.
Crinkle or plisse crepe effects are permanent, and the fabric requires
very little care. If the fabric is pressed, the crinkle tends to flatten out,
which may increase the size of the garment.
Flock printing consists of applying short fibers onto a fabric in either
a solid or patterned effect by means of an adhesive. Early flocked fabrics
were of very poor quality because of brittle adhesives and loss of flock.
Today, technical know-how has made it possible to produce high quality
flocked fabrics with laundering and drycleaning guarantees. An electro-
static process has been invented by means of which every flock fiber is
made to stand perfectly erect on the fabric, achieving a high density with
beautiful pile effects. Originally, flock was cut in uneven short lengths;
but now it is cut precisely at a desired length, resulting in uniform pile.
Cotton and wool fibers were used for flocked fabrics prior to the elec-
trostatic process. Viscose rayon flock now predominates the market.
Flock is bleached or dyed after the fibers have been cut. Pastel effects
may be secured by using white flock over colored adhesive.
An interesting new development is the use of flock on foundation gar-
ments. Certain adhesives in the flocked areas control stretch, thus elimi-
nating the need for seams and control panels while adding decorative ef-
Warp or shadow printing consists of roller printing a design onto a set
of warp yarns before they are woven into fabric. White or neutral-colored
filling yarns are then interlaced with the printed warp yarns, resulting in
a softened shadowy design.
Warp or shadow printing is used for drapery and upholstery fabrics;
bedspreads, hangings, and other decorator items; dress fabric and ribbon.
Unusual or interesting textures and surface effects can be produced on
fabrics through the use of numerous finishes. Following is a description
of many of these processes.
Napping is a brushing operation used to rough up short fibers on the
surface of the fabric to form a soft, fuzzy layer or nap. Napping is
accomplished by running the fabric through a series of rollers covered
with teasles or wire brushes.
Fibers commonly used for making napped fabrics are cotton, wool,
silk, rayon, acetate, acrylics, and nylons. Fabrics of woven, knitted, or
tufted construction can be napped.
Examples of napped fabrics are flannelette, wool flannel, suede cloth,
duvetyn, wool broadcloth, and blanket cloth.
improve appearance, soften pattern, and blend color.
give softness, sponginess, and lofty hand.
impart a degree of water and stain repellency (fiber ends above the
surface retard wetting of fabric surface).
conceal weave and so may cover defects and sleazy construction.
It is important to remember that the nap on fabrics is not resistant to
abrasion; therefore, one should consider the expected wear life. Wear
on garments shows first on edges of collars, sleeves, front openings,
elbows, and other areas subject to abrasion. Vigorous brushing will give
a fuzzier appearance but will not completely cover worn areas.
As a napped fabric becomes worn, matted, and flattened, it looses its
insulating properties along with its soft, fuzzy appearance. Special care
is required during cleaning to preserve the nap.
A protective finish trade-named Nap-Guard has been developed. The
manufacturer is promoting this finish for 100 per cent Acrilan acrylic
blankets and rayon-blend blankets to eliminate shedding and pilling
before and after washing. The finish is said to be permanent to launder-
ing and drycleaning.
Sueding is a modification of napping: The brushes on the napping
machine are set in a different manner, and the fibers are cut close to the
Shearing or cropping is the cutting away of ends, knots, or fibers
which have been raised on a fabric as it goes through various finishing
Thermoplastic fabrics that have a tendency to pill are sheared before
singeing to prevent little blobs of melted fibers from adhering to the
fabric. Shearing is also used to even or shorten the pile or nap of a
fabric and to produce decorative patterns.
Shearing machines have from one to six adjustable, revolving blades
that operate on the same principle as a lawn mower. Shearing is done
on napped and deep brushed fabrics to produce such fabrics as chinchilla,
corduroy, and other pile fabrics. Patterns in pile weaves may be cut by
lifting and lowering the cutting device.
Calendering is a process used to make fabrics smooth, attractive, and
soil resistant. It also contributes to the saleability of the fabric. Calender-
ing corresponds to ironing in the home.
Calendering is accomplished by using a series of from 3 to 11 polished
metal rollers. Depending upon the number, speed, and heat of the rollers,
various degrees of smoothness, softness, and sheen can be obtained on
fabrics. Before the cloth is put through the final calendering, it is given a
sizing or dressing to assist in providing the necessary finish.
Types of sizings that can be used:
Starches, sugars, and gums to provide a smooth lustrous surface that
is removed in washing and wearing. The smooth appearance, along
with varied degrees of softness or stiffness, may be restored at home
with different commercial products.
Synthetic resins to provide the same properties as starches, sugars,
and gums; but the resins are more durable to washing and use.
Mercerizing is an alkaline process which causes cotton fibers to swell
and untwist just as a collapsed and twisted fire hose becomes round and
straightened when filled with water. After mercerization, this round fiber
makes the fabric smooth, lustrous, and silk-like in appearance and feel.
The mercerizing process is accomplished by holding the cotton yarn
or fabric under tension in an alkali solution, then neutralizing and rinsing
the cotton free of all chemicals.
.. .. .lls . ll.. .s........ 11, Q
In comparison to unmercerized cotton products, mercerized cotton
fabrics, yarn, or thread are more lustrous, more dimensionally stable,
easier to dye, more color fast, stronger, smoother, and more absorbent.
Uses: Sewing thread and embroidery yarns; lustrous cotton satins and
broadcloths for women's and children's wear; shirting fabrics; men's,
women's, and children's cotton hosiery and gloves; slacks and shirts of
cotton gabardine; upholstery and drapery fabrics.
Stretch cottons are especially treated cotton fabrics that will stretch in
either or both directions when used, then assume their original shape
within a short period of time.
At present, the only commercial method for production of stretch
cottons is slack mercerization. This involves the same procedure as mer-
cerization, except yarns are not held under tension. As a result, the cotton
yarns shrink and take on plastic properties.
Advantages of stretch cotton:
Provides comfort for body movement.
Provides smooth, neat appearance.
Contributes toward better fit.
Fits irregular shapes; for example, slip covers.
Is absorbent and durable.
Is easy to care for-is machine washable and can be ironed at the
cotton setting unless otherwise stated on the label.
Uses and potential uses: Men's and boys' sport and dress shirts, sport
and work trousers, hosiery, and sweaters; women's and girls' sportswear,
dresses, foundation garments, lingerie, molded brassieres, maternity
dresses, sweaters, and hosiery; children's and infants' wear, diapers,
lingerie, sportswear, and hosiery; slip covers and contour sheets.
Specific trade names may indicate stretch cotton such as Relaxalon.
All-wool woven stretch fabric may be produced by various methods.
Three basic techniques currently used involve (1) special weaving
processes, (2) crimp setting of woolen yarns before weaving, (3) chemi-
cally treating woolen fabric and then subjecting it to certain tensions
during the finishing processes.
Advantages of stretch wool:
Provides comfort for body movement.
Provides smooth, neat appearance.
Is crease resistant.
Contributes toward better fit.
Uses and potential uses: Suits, slacks, and sportswear.
Three Dimensional Surface Effects
Embossing is the pressing of a design into fabric by using an engraved
roller to create raised and depressed places. An embossed design on a
paper napkin is an example of this process.
Permanently embossed designs are achieved on thermoplastic fabrics,
such as acetate or nylon, by using heated rollers; and on non-thermo-
plastic fabrics by using heat sensitive resins.
Color and resin can be applied to a fabric at the same time. Interesting
design effects can be obtained by using contrasting color on either the
depressed or raised areas.
Moire is a French word for "watered." This
word suggests that moire fabric often has a
shimmering appearance resembling reflections on
a pool of water. In the typical moire pattern, the
moire effect materializes when two sets of
straight lines are superimposed to intersect at a
Moires may be made by pressing two layers of ribbed fabric together,
with one layer placed at a slight angle to the other. Today, however,
most moires are created by rollers engraved with a moire pattern.
Permanent moire finish is obtained by heat setting the pattern into
thermoplastic fabrics; or by resin treating cotton fabrics, embossing them
with a moire pattern and then curing them.
Use of resins in permanent moireing imparts dimensional stability and
wrinkle resistance to fabric.
Crepe is the name given to a large class of plain woven fabrics that
have a crinkle effect produced by one of the following:
The use of tightly twisted yarns.
The tension and control of yarns in weaving.
The impressing of crepe designs on thermoplastic fabrics.
Advantages of woven crepe:
Retains crinkle effects.
Gives soft flowing lines.
Crepes are made from all the major textile fibers, alone or in combina-
The high twist in yarns makes crepe fabrics more susceptible to shrink-
age; therefore, careful handling of crepe fabric is required in laundering
and drycleaning. Always dryclean wool crepes. Preshrinking of crepe
fabrics before cutting is not recommended. In pressing true crepes, work
quickly with as little pressure and moisture as possible.
A new yarn development on the market makes possible a nylon tricot
knit with a creped appearance and hand. This yarn can also be used to
create either patterned effects or an all-over crepe appearance in woven
Plisse is a crinkle effect produced by plisse printing, see page 7.
Seersucker is produced by one of three methods:
Use of varying tensions in warp yarns as in cotton seersucker. Here
crinkled warp stripes are made by holding alternate groups of warp
yarns at different tensions during weaving. When the fabric is
removed from the loom, the release of tension creates a puckered
striped effect. These fabrics require little or no ironing.
Use of highly twisted crepe yarns as in rayon seersucker. This is made
with alternate groups of regular and crepe yarns in the filling
direction. When the cloth is finished, the crepe yarns shrink, giving
crosswise crinkle stripes. These true crepe yarn seersuckers shrink
progressively and require pressing back to original size.
Use of the embossing process as on thermoplastic fabrics, such as
acetate and nylon. Embossed seersuckers are cheaper to produce
than those created by true crepe methods.
Feel or Hand, Body and Drape
What makes a fabric soft, clinging, crisp, bouffant? Many factors such
as fiber content, yarn, and fabric construction contribute to the final
softness, smoothness, crispness, and texture of a fabric. But sizings or
dressings applied to the fabric in the finishing operation can dramatically
transform it into one of many different forms.
Temporary sizings such as starch, gelatin, gums, fats, and waxes when
applied to a fabric provide a smooth surface, varying degrees of softness
or stiffness, and the ability to retain a fresh look. Starch also fills in the
openings in the constructed cloth, creating an appearance of greater
compactness. This, however, will be removed in laundering, giving the
fabric a sleazy appearance.
Trade names of products used by the drycleaning industry to stiffen
Aquatize Siz-A-tize Style-Set
Sizing effects that are more lasting in wear and care than the starches,
gums, etc., are now possible. These effects are accomplished by a number
An acid treatment on a sheer cotton fabric transforms it into a crisp
A cellulose solution in the form of a liquid rayon is applied and
sealed to a fabric. The thickness of the solution can be varied to
give stiff finishes or softer "starchless" finishes for cotton prints,
lawns, failles, and rayons. Celluose solutions also seal down fiber
ends to give a lintless finish and provide greater strength and
abrasion resistance. Depending on the degree of calendering, this
finish may also impart luster. Permanent organdies and attractive
embossed designs may be produced by this method.
A resin applied to a fabric produces a wide range of effects from
very soft and clinging to crisp and bouffant. These finishes are mostly
permanent in wear and care. See pages 15 to 16 for further informa-
tion on resins.
Trade names of fabrics finished for a permanent "starchless" or crisp
Cinrez VPL Sheerset
Trade names of fabrics finished for a soft effect:
Ahcovil Dura Beau
Cinsoft NGR Soft set
DEVELOPED FOR SERVICEABILITY
Today, many fabrics are described as having a resin finish. This term
gives rise to such questions as the following:
What is a resin? All resins are adhesive substances which become
firmly attached to a fabric. A resin is like a frosting for a cake-its addi-
tion enhances the fabric, but only if the right recipe is chosen and prepared
carefully. Many "resin recipes" are available, each one capable of pro-
ducing a different effect. Selection depends on the structure of the fabric
and its intended use.
Trade names such as Permel, Sanforized Plus, and Sanforset may each
identify a resin finish for a particular use.
Why is a fabric treated with a resin? Resin finishes produce marked
changes in the behavior, appearance, and feel of a fabric. Often these
finishes weaken fabrics, but other properties gained by their use offset
0"-- cII+rin oluhn- -
F FINIS FABRIC +.... ,,
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How is a resin applied to a fabric? Most resins are soluble in water
and are applied as a liquid, syrup, or paste to an absorbent fabric by a
padding machine. The fabric is then run between rollers that exert tons
of pressure to force the resin into the fiber. Following the drying of the
resin, the fabric is placed in an oven, and the resin is baked or cured
onto the fabric. This causes the resin to change from a soluble to an
The resin in the fiber can be located near the outer surface, or it can
penetrate the fiber. The resin may or may not become chemically attached
to the fiber; when it does, it is known as cross-linking. Difference in pene-
tration gives a difference in properties; for example, more thorough pene-
tration provides greater crease resistance.
The resin can also be located
x : ....... .. as a continuous coating on the
Sxx-- ... ..... -- surface of the fabric or yar, as
A RESIN LOCATED NEAR THOROUGH PENETRATION
A. THE BER SURFACES OF FIBER in glazed effects. Or, the resin
can be applied as a discontinu-
I'.t. ^ ous coating, thus preserving the
breathing properties of the fab-
C. ON THE UARFAC D. REONLY SURFACE ic to a greater extent and mak-
RESIN APPLICATION ing it cooler for summer wear.
Thermoplastic resins are heat sensitive and can be softened and re-
shaped by heat. When applied, the resin does not penetrate the fibers
but forms a film over the fibers, yarns, or fabric; it dries on the fabric
much like nail polish. When the fabric is calendered, the heat of the
calender seals the resin film to the fabric.
Uses: Stiffness and body for rayon and thermoplastic fibers; snag
resistant finish for nylon hosiery; shrinkage control for wool.
Thermoplastic resins providing stiffness may become limp in washing;
stiffness can be restored, however, by using one of the synthetic plastic
spray starches that are on the market for home use. These are essentially
Thermosetting resins are used for most resin finishes. Since the resin is
set or cured into an insoluble solid on the fabric, it cannot be changed
without being destroyed. Average washing temperatures are not high
enough to cause loss of resin, but ironing temperatures may be.
Uses: Luster or glaze; embossed effects; feel or hand, body, and drape;
dimensional stability-shrinkage control; crease and wrinkle resistance;
wash and wear, ease of care; water repellency; spot and stain resistance.
Dimensional Stability Finishes
When a fabric does not stretch or shrink out of shape it is dimensionally
stable. Dimensional changes that occur in fabrics during use and care
constitute one of the greatest causes of consumer dissatisfaction.
Why do fabrics shrink? When fibers are spun into yarns and woven
into fabric, they are under constant tension. Tension in weaving keeps
warp yarns straight and taut, while filling yarns are relaxed and become
crimped as they are interlaced with the taut warp yarns. When the fabric
becomes wet, the warp yarns relax thus taking on crimp also. This
change shortens the fabric in the warp or lengthwise direction. Knit
fabrics react similarly: The tension of the knitting process makes the
loops long and narrow; when the fabric is removed from the machine,
tension is released and the loops become rounded.
To control shrinkage, woven and knit fabrics must be given a pre-
shrinking treatment in which little or no tension is exerted while they
are damp. Basically, textile manufacturers are taking the distortion out
of fabrics, caused by tension, during the whole manufacturing process.
No single method is feasible for controlling dimensional stability in all
How is cotton made dimensionally stable? A complicated mechanical
treatment has been standardized and patented for controlling shrinkage
in cotton and linen woven fabrics. The trade names used to identify this
method are Rigmel and Sanforized. Fabrics or garments labeled with
either name are guaranteed to retain their size within 1 per cent; that is,
no shrinkage will occur beyond inch to the yard in length or width.
How is rayon made dimensionally stable? A chemical process similar
to mercerization may be used to control shrinkage in rayon. A solution of
caustic soda swells the fibers and fixes the yarns in the weave, and the
chemicals impregnate the fibers, making the preshrinking permanent. A
trade name associated with this process is Avcoset.
A resin finish may be used to control shrinkage in rayon and blends of
viscose rayon and acetate fabrics. Sanforset is a trade name denoting
such a finish. Fabrics or garments so labeled are guaranteed not to
shrink more than 2 per cent in washing. The finish is permanent and
contributes easy care properties.
A finish used on viscose rayon that is comparable to the shrinkage
treatment for cotton carries the trade name Quintesse. Rayon crepes can
be stabilized with this process.
The new modified or polynosic rayons (Avril, Zantrel, Lirelle, etc.),
because of their wet strength, can be made dimensionally stable by the
How is wool made dimensionally stable? In addition to the processing
tensions that affect dimensional stability in other fibers, wool fibers swell
with moisture, either from the atmosphere or from laundering. This modi-
fies the elastic properties of these fibers which along with their scaly
structure causes them to entangle, felt, and shrink. Finishes that are
effective in making wool shrink resistant are based on one of the follow-
Altering or destroying the scale edges of the fiber with chemicals.
Altering or destroying the scale edges by coating with a resin or
Modifying the elastic properties of the fiber.
Bonding fibers together to inhibit fiber movement.
Most resin treated wool feels stiffer and harsher than untreated wool.
With the use of some processes, there may be a loss in abrasion resistance.
It is not always desirable to make wool shrink resistant. In tailoring,
its shrinking characteristics are used advantageously to shape the garment
to the figure. On the other hand, it is convenient and practical to have
a washable wool for socks, undergarments, sweaters, sport shirts, and
blankets. Shrink resistant wool finishes are known by the following trade
Aquawool Harriset Schollerized
Bancora HO Wurlan
How is a knit fabric made dimensionally stable? Processes for con-
trolling shrinkage of knits are in the early developmental stage. The few
on the market are known by the following trade names:
Pak-nit-a chemical method that controls shrinkage
Redmanized-a mechanical process that controls shrinkage
Trianizing-a process used on tricot knits to prevent stretching
Crease and Wrinkle Resistant...
Wash and Wear Finishes
Crease and wrinkle resistance has been defined as the property of a
fabric that causes it to recover from folding and creasing either in wear-
ing or washing. If a fabric has high crease recovery, it will recapture its
original smoothness without heavy ironing after being washed; a fabric
with low crease recovery must be ironed to remove wrinkles.
Some fibers such as wool, silk, and polyesters are naturally resistant
to wrinkling, whereas cotton, linen, and rayon are not.
Fabric structure is important for crease and wrinkle recovery:
Plain weaves with closely packed yarns of high count place the
fibers under strain and limit their flexibility; therefore they have less
crease resistance than a loosely woven plain weave.
Twills, satins, basket weaves, and figured weaves with few inter-
sections are flexible and crease less than plain weaves.
Knitted structures, because of the elasticity of the loops, have more
freedom of movement than woven fabrics.
Printed or highly textured fabrics show fewer wrinkles than plain
Thick fabrics are more resistant to creasing than thin fabrics.
Crease resistance is imparted to synthetic fibers by heat setting,
whereas cotton, linen, and rayon are made crease resistant by treating
the fabrics chemically with synthetic resins. Resin particles penetrate
fibers more or less uniformly or are permanently cross-linked with the
fiber molecules. Cross-linked fibers act much like a spring on a screen
door: They return to their original shape when the strain is released.
Just as the spring makes it harder to open the screen door, cross-links
resist distortion or wrinkles.
A new crease and wrinkle resistant process, known as deferred curing,
is ready for commercial use: The chemicals are applied to the fabric but
are not cured until the garment is completed. Manufacturers may use
this process at the same time to put durable and deliberate creases or
pleats in apparel. The problems of seam puckering are largely eliminated.
A trade name for this finish is Koratron.
In addition to crease recovery, resin finishes have other important
Fibers are less absorbent and therefore have quicker drying proper-
ties. As a result they may be slightly less comfortable to wear.
New wash and wear, resin treated
Twenty washings and drier dried.
Twenty washings and hanger dried.
* Fibers are less susceptible to absorbing perspiration odors than are
* Fibers become smoother so that dirt does not penetrate; thus shorter
wash cycles may be used, and clothing receives less wear and tear.
* Color loss in laundering is less.
Crease and wrinkle resistant
by the following trade names:
Dextraset U N
and wash and wear finishes are known
Priora (rayon shirting)
Serena (filament rayon crepes)
Triple Three (spun rayon)
Waterproof and Water Repellent Finishes
Waterproof fabrics repel water altogether. They may consist of plastic
films or fabrics with a film coating.
Characteristics of waterproof fabrics:
No water can penetrate them.
No moisture can escape; the wearer may be wet from perspiration
rather than rain.
Most plasticized fabrics stiffen in cold weather.
Production cost is low.
Finish is permanent but subject to wear.
Waterproof coatings are known by the following trade names:
Butvar Resins Reevair
Water repellent fabrics are resistant to wetting, but after continuous
exposure, the fabric is penetrated by water. There are nondurable and
durable water repellent finishes.
Nondurable finishes may be renewed in drycleaning or laundering.
Some trade names are Aridex, Cravenette, and Impregnole.
Durable finishes withstand drycleaning and laundering. They derive
from one of three basic chemical groups:
Pyridinium compounds-Zelan finish
Fluorochemicals-Aquaron, Scotchgard, Wonderpel, Zepel
Silicones-Aquagard, Cyana finishes, Syl-mer
Other factors contributing to water repellency include:
Fiber content-wool fibers have a natural water repellency.
Cloth construction-closely woven twill or satin weaves tend to be
Garment construction-double thickness of fabric in shoulder area,
and minimum seaming.
Characteristics of water repellent fabrics:
Heavy rain will penetrate fabrics.
Fabrics can "breathe," are comfortable to wear.
Fabrics remain pliable with no difference in hand from the untreated.
Finish may help garment retain its shape.
Finisish is durable or renewable.
In order to retain water repellency, drycleaned clothes should be
properly rinsed. Wetting agents used in drycleaning fight to make water
soak in, and the finish fights to repel it; so the effect is similar to that
produced in an individual who takes pep pills and tranquilizers at once.
Similarly, fabrics with machine launderable finishes require thorough
rinsing to retain their effectiveness.
Uses: Rainwear, snow suits, lumber and golf jackets, children's cloth-
ing, table cloths, upholstery fabrics, purses, shower curtains, utility bags,
Water repellent finishes are known by the following trade names:
Aquagard Norane Redi-Pel
Cravenette Perma Silene Replex
Drusil Quarpel Repelotex
Hydro-Pruf Ranedare Plus Zelan
Stain and Spot Resistant Finishes
Both water repellent and crease resistant finishes repel waterborne
stains. The fluorochemical finishes, such as Scotchgard, Wonderpel, and
Zepel, offer resistance to oily stains in addition to repelling waterborne
stains: Oily substances roll off, blot off, or may be wiped completely
away. Spots which dry unnoticed can usually be removed with water or
a cleaning solvent. However, once an oily stain has penetrated certain
fabrics treated with permanent finishes, the spot is very difficult to dis-
lodge. Drycleaning and laundering will not remove any durable finish;
but if these finishes are to remain effective, care must be taken to rinse
the fabrics thoroughly after any cleaning process.
FIBER + RESIN + FLUORIDIZER WATER AND OIL STAINS
Stain and spot resistant finishes are known by the following trade
Cravenette Long Life Soft-n-dry
Cravenette Super-Silicone Special Permel Plus
Cyana Permel Plus Syl-mer
Scotchgard Zepel Fabric Fluoridizer
Moth Resistant Finishes
A moth resistant finish makes wool and other animal fibers unfit food
for the moth and carpet beetle larvae. Since 200 to 500 million dollars
worth of damage results each year from insect attack on woolen fabrics,
furs, felts, upholstery, rugs, and carpets, protective measures should be
Larvae of the clothes moth and carpet beetle cannot survive on per-
fectly clean wool fiber because of the absence of certain essential vita-
mins; therefore, larvae are usually attracted to soiled spots on clothing,
blankets, and household fabrics. Such soiled spots are the first to be
damaged. Contrary to the opinion of many consumers, fabrics made
from wool blended with other fibers may suffer more extensive damage
from larvae than do pure wool fabrics: The insect must devour more of
the cloth to get sufficient wool to satisfy his appetite. Since larvae shun
bright sunlight and do their work in the dark, frequent airing and correct
storage of clean wool and wool blended fabrics are essential.
Ways to protect wool fabrics from moth damage:
By the application of chemical substances to the fabric during manu-
facture. These finishes are usually fast to washing and drycleaning
and will last the life of the garment. They are known by a number
of trade names-
Dieldrin Mitin Siromoth
Drewclad Moothproofer Sivin S.S.
By the application of chemical substances to the fabric during dry-
cleaning. This is done on request, at a moderate cost. Some coin-
operated drycleaners also provide this service. The treatments are
effective for a considerable length of time.
By laundering a garment, using a wool protecting agent such as
E Q 53 in the rinse or wash water. This protection lasts for about
By spraying garments, rugs, and upholstery with various chemical
products available for this purpose. The effectiveness of this method
will depend on the degree of penetration of the spray and the po-
tency of its chemicals.
Mildew Resistant Finishes
A mildew resistant finish is a chemical applied to a fabric to prevent
growth of mildew and mold. Under moist humid conditions, mildew
and mold will grow wherever there is available foodstuff. Such growth
can deteriorate cotton, linen, rayon, silk, wool, leather, and paper. Man-
made fibers are resistant to mildew, but even on these fibers soil may
cause mold growth. Soaps and sizings left in the fabric from processing
are also susceptible to mildew and mold.
Growth of mildew and mold can be controlled by proper lighting, by
adequate air circulation to prevent dampness or moisture, by carefully
lined closets, by correct storage of articles, and by treating the fabric
with toxic compounds. These chemical compounds may be applied to
fabrics during manufacture or are available for home use.
Mildew resistant finishes are known by the following trade names:
Arigal C (cellulose fibers) Fresh-tex No Mildew
Clothing and household fabrics may be treated with antibacterial
finishes to retard the growth of bacteria and fungi. Such treatment helps
prevent the spread of disease, reduces perspiration odor, and arrests
Uses: Family, commercial, and hospital laundering; institutional and
military blankets; socks; shoe linings; foundation garments; diapers;
underwear, shirts, and other uses.
Hygienic finishes are known by the following trade names:
Cyana Guard Eversan Sanitize
Antibacterial or disinfectant agents are recommended for use in laun-
dering when sickness is present or when sanitation of laundromats is
questionable. Chlorine bleach is effective but may not be safely used on
all fabrics since it damages certain fibers and bleaches out color.
Four types of effective disinfectants for use in laundering are known
by the following trade names:
Liquid chlorine Phenolic Pine oil Quaternary
Clorox Al Pine Fyne Pyne CO-OP Sanitizer
King Bleach Pine-Sol Fyne Tex Roccal
Purex King Pine
Static electricity develops when the air is dry and when two substances
such as two fabrics are brought together and then separated. Rubbing
of the surfaces increases static electricity.
Man-made fibers which absorb little moisture such as acetates, acrylics,
modacrylics, nylons, polyesters, and olefins, are particularly prone to the
development of static electricity. Wool generates static electricity only
under fairly dry atmospheric conditions. Cotton and rayon are almost
free from electrostatic difficulties except when the air is very dry.
Difficulties encountered with static electricity:
An unpleasant shock or sensation when the charged material is
A tendency for the charged fabric to cling to other surfaces or be
repelled by them.
A formation of an electric spark-obviously a hazard in certain
places such as chemical plants, operating rooms, and wherever
flammable solvents are used.
Attraction of soil, dust, and lint particles onto the surface of the
charged fabric during wear, dryer drying, and drycleaning.
Static electricity not only is a problem at the consumer level but inter-
feres with processing steps in the textile industry.
Since the presence of moisture helps to dissipate an electrical charge,
certain thermosetting resins are now applied to a fabric to form an
insoluble film around the fiber. This film absorbs or contains water,
thus creating a continuous moisture layer around the fiber. In turn, the
moisture absorbs the electrical charge, and the fabric does not generate
Fabric softners when used in the rinse water are fairly effective anti-
static agents. Many antistatic finishes are not permanent to drycleaning.
Antistatic finishes are known by the following trade names:
Anti-Static Agent 575 Juvenon
Aston 123 Lubral w a
Aston 456 Staticide
A metallic coating on the back of various kinds of lining and drapery
fabric is said to provide warmth and coolness: In cold weather, heat is
not lost, and in hot weather, the solar heat is radiated away from the
body. Performance of these metallic backings depends almost altogether
upon the nature of the base fabric to which they are applied and upon
the construction of the garment or drapery in which they are used.
A common insulating finish is known by the trade name of Milium.
Flame Retardant Finishes
Many textile products are flammable and, for this reason, may deeply
involve personal safety. Different factors contribute to the flammability
Fiber content. Textile fibers vary in their natural ability to resist
ignition. In general, from the point of view of flammability, today's
fibers may be placed in one of three categories: (1) flammable-
cotton, linen, rayon, acetate, acrylics, and silk; (2) flammable, but
to a lesser degree-wool, nylon, and polyesters; (3) non-flammable-
saran, glass, and Verel modacrylic. Wool and silk fibers, though
chemically related, are in different categories of flammability be-
cause commonly employed silk fibers are much lighter in weight
than wools. In other words, both chemical and physical considera-
tions contribute to flammability.
Many synthetic fibers are flame resistant, others are slow burning.
But, when they are combined with a flammable fiber, even though
the fabric burns more slowly, the flammable fiber assists the synthetic
fiber to burn and/or melt. If the molten fiber sticks to the skin this
may cause first degree burns.
Cloth construction. The tightness or looseness of cloth construction
determines the amount of oxygen available to the fiber to support
burning. Thick, heavy flammable fabrics burn slowly, thin open
flammable fabrics burn rapidly. Napped fabrics burn along the sur-
face before the base catches fire.
Garment construction. Loose scarves, flying panels, full flaring skirts,
long bell-shaped sleeves, and tie belts contribute to the flammability
of a garment.
There is no one flame resistant finish effective on all fibers but many
flame resistant finishes have been developed. After finishing, the fabric
will char and frequently glow, but a flame will not spread from the
There are two types of flame resistant finishes available: durable and
nondurable or renewable. A durable fire resistant finish reacts chemically
with the fiber to add fire resistant properties; it withstands multiple
laundering and/or drycleanings without supporting a flame. A non-
durable finish coats the fabric and is readily removed in laundering and
drycleaning; it can be renewed by home methods or by a drycleaner.
The problems at present in making fabrics completely fire resistant
are the high cost and, in many instances, the change in the hand or feel
of the fabric. Flameproof finishes on numerous types of fabrics have
nevertheless found their place in many fields.
Uses: Heavy cotton work clothes, industrial clothes, hospital cubicle
curtains, mattress ticking, pajama cloth, bathrobes, and coveralls for
racing drivers; nylon nets for bridal wear, gowns, trims, and underskirts.
Added advantages of many flame resistant finishes:
Controlled shrinkage during laundering or drycleaning.
Increased abrasion resistance.
Resistance to attack by bacteria, fungi, and mildew.
Durable fire resistant fnishes are known by the following trade names:
Ban-Flame Neva Flame (all fibers except acetate)
Conco Finish FR Permaproof (heavy cotton fabric)
Erifon (heavy cotton fabric) Pyroset
Fi-Retard Saniflame (all fibers except acetate)
Fire-Tard THPC and APO (cellulose fibers)
Nondurable or renewable fire resistant finishes are known by the fol-
lowing trade names:
Reprinted with permission of the New York State
College of Home Economics, a Contract College of
the State University, Cornell University, Ithaca,
New York, from Cornell Extension Bulletin 1126 by
Madeline Blum, Frances McFadden, and Jean
Illustrations on page 15, left, and on page 16, adapted from original draw-
ings by Harriet Allen in Textiles, by Norma Hollen and Jane Saddler, The
Macmillan Co., New York, 1952.
Illustration on page 20 from B. J. Waters, Evaluation of Girls' Wash and
Wear Cotton Dresses for Appearance and Performance, unpublished master's
thesis, Cornell Univ., 1960.
The information given herein is supplied with the understanding that
no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Florida Agricultural
Extension Service is implied.
It is sometimes convenient to use trade names of products or equipment
rather than scientific identifications. In so doing, it is unavoidable in
some cases that similar products which are on the market under other
trade names may not be cited. No endorsement of named products is
intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products which are not
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director