what is mercerised cotton fabric?difference vs cotton
Mercerized cotton is a textile finishing treatment and a fabric type, usually referring to knitted pure cotton mercerized cloth (although woven fabrics can also undergo mercerization). Mercerised cotton involves immersing cotton fabric or yarn in a solution of caustic soda to modify the fibers’ natural curl, causing the fibers to swell and become smoother. The resulting mercerised cotton fibers not only retain their original attributes such as moisture absorption, softness, and breathability but also present a silk-like luster, which is why the industry refers to it as "silk cotton."
What Is Mercerised Cotton Fabric Made Of?
Initially, mercerised cotton fabric referred to 100% cotton material. However, as fabric development has evolved to include more variety, the material composition of mercerised cotton now also includes blends like cotton elastane, cotton polyester, cotton viscose, and even luxurious fibers such as modal, lyocell (Tencel), and cuprammonium. If you come across mercerised cotton fabric that claims to be 100% polyester, then it is undoubtedly a counterfeit product since the market is rife with imitation mercerized cotton materials using polyester or rayon. Remember, quality always comes at a price.
Is Mercerized Cotton Polyester?
No, mercerised cloth is predominantly made from cotton, though it may contain a small percentage of polyester fibers to ensure the fabric meets performance standards for elasticity, resilience, and shrinkage. Any mercerised cotton fabric advertised as 100% polyester is definitely fake and a trick used by unreliable suppliers. Consumers should always check the composition label when purchasing mercerised cotton T-shirts and polo shirts. Components listed as 100% polyester, 100% rayon, or 100% viscose are unmistakably counterfeit.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mercerised Cotton Fabric
Advantages: Mercerised cotton fabric boasts several benefits. It is lighter and less heavy than typical knit cotton fabrics; resistant to wrinkles, soft to the touch, and comfortable to wear; non-irritating to the skin with excellent moisture-wicking and breathability; its bright and vibrant color saturation; high-quality raw materials with fewer loose fibers and distinct texture; smooth, fine, and silk-like lustrous surface; stable sizing with minimal shrinkage and superior drape; and is less prone to pilling. Different finishings can achieve various hand feels, from crisp and soft to voluminous and dry.
Disadvantages: The material of the mercerised cotton fabric also has some clear shortcomings, particularly its cleaning methods; it is highly sensitive to acids, and accidental spills should be promptly washed off. Mercerised cotton fabric is better cleaned with a neutral detergent in lukewarm water. It attracts small dust particles, especially noticeable on dark colors; excessive use of softening agents can make the fabric less breathable, especially in summer or when outdoors; and garment care is slightly labor-intensive, allowing machine wash but requires avoiding direct sunlight and prefers natural drying with ironing to keep the fabric smooth. Mercerised cotton fabric is generally used for lighter summer garments, with less usage in winter, thus offering average insulation properties.
Does Mercerised Cotton Pill?
No, due to the singeing and mercerization processes, most of the mercerised cotton fabric surface fuzz is removed, rendering mercerized cotton generally resistant to pilling under normal wear conditions.
Does Mercerised Cotton Shrink or Warp?
Compared to regular pure cotton knits, both mercerised cotton fabrics and garments made from them are less likely to shrink or warp. This is due to the mercerization process, which swells cotton fibers, reducing the gaps between them, therefore limiting the fabric’s potential to shrink. Typically, the shrinkage rate for standard mercerized cotton fabric material is within 3% (according to the national standard GB for line dry).
Applications of Mercerised Cotton Fabric
Mercerised cotton fabric is often used for summer T-shirts, polo shirts, and dresses. The fabric has a cool icy feel with a bit of sheen, making it appear quite sophisticated.
Which Is Better, Mercerised Cotton or Pure Cotton?
To understand the difference, let's look at the characteristics of both. Mercerised cotton fabric, made primarily from long-staple or Pima cotton into knitting fabric, typically uses combed high count double yarns combined with processes like singeing, mercerization, dyeing, shrink-proofing, and shaping. This high-quality mercerized knit fabric retains the excellent natural characteristics of the cotton while boasting a silken luster, excellent breathability and drape, and a smooth, cool feel, elevating it to a higher status among fabrics. Combined with custom vibrant colors, wearing it is a fashion statement. Single Mercerized cotton fabric and double mercerized cotton fabric are suitable for high-quality business menswear, fashionable womenswear, and more.
Pure cotton materials generally use carded or some long-staple cotton, known for being breathable and moisture-absorbing but prone to deformation and not as smooth to the touch. Pure cotton can be stiffer, less gleaming, and not as slick compared to mercerized cotton, which also tends to shrink more. Pure cotton is more commonly found in casual wear and home clothes. It provides warmth and heat resistance that mercerized cotton lacks, but the refreshing feel and softness of mercerized cannot be found in pure cotton.
Price of Mercerised Cotton Fabric
Based on first-class national standards, the kilogram price of mercerized cotton fabric tends to be above 90 CNY/kg, with prices rising for varieties that include elastane, jacquard, or special technical processes. This rate is considered quite high within the cotton fabric market, where common pure cotton materials may cost around 50 CNY/kg.
Is Mercerised Cotton More Expensive than Pure Cotton?
In general, mercerised cotton fabrics are more costly than pure cotton knits. As mentioned, ordinary pure cotton knit prices hover around 50 CNY/kg for good quality, whereas mercerized cotton starts at 90 CNY and up. However, exceptions exist, such as 140S or 200 count pure cotton materials, which can cost more than standard mercerized cotton due to the high cost of premium raw materials.
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what is mercerised cotton fabric?difference vs cotton
What is mercerised cotton fabric?Mercerized cotton is a textile finishing treatment and a fabric type, usually referring to knitted pure cotton mercerized cloth (although woven fabrics can also undergo mercerization)...