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Fibers and Their Characteristics

A brief overview of today’s


natural and manufactured fibers
Where do Fibers Come From?

 Natural  Manufactured
The Natural Fibers

They come
from Plants
 Cotton
 Flax
The Natural Fibers

They come
from Animals
 Wool
 Silk
The Manufactured Fibers

 They come from


cellulose
 Acetate
 Rayon
More Manufactured Fibers

They come
from Chemicals
 Polyester
 Nylon
 Acrylic
What is a blend?

 Two or more fibers


are mixed together
 Natural fibers are
often combined with
manufactured fibers
Cotton: the fabric of our lives

 Strong  Lacks elasticity


 Durable  Wrinkles
 Dries Quickly  Shrinks
 Absorbent
Laundering
Can be easily laundered. Cotton can withstand high temperatures .

Washing:  Drying: tumble dry


* Machine wash warm low
* Any good detergent can be used to
 * A higher heat setting is needed
wash cotton.
* Chlorine bleach can be used safely on in the dryer.
cotton whites. Use color-safe bleach on
dyed cottons.  Ironing: * Can be ironed
with a hot iron, and does not
scorch easily
 * Since cotton fibers are fairly
inelastic, they may wrinkle
easily. Fabric may need frequent
pressing.
Flax (Linen)

 Strong  Wrinkles
 Dries Quickly  Shrinks
 Absorbent  Mildews
Laundering

Washing: Any stains should be  Drying: Don't dry linen


treated prior to washing. You
can machine-wash linen as long in the sun or in a
as you wash it at less than 50°C tumble-dryer to prevent
to preserve the color and the
natural fabric.
it from shrinking.
Use non-chlorine washing Ironing: Iron while
powder/liquid for linen, and use still damp
a whitening product to stop it
going yellow.
Wool

 Warm and Soft  Shrinks and Mats


 Resilient  Susceptible to moths
 Breathes  Heat Sensitive
 Repels and absorbs  Itchy
moisture
Laundering

Washing: wool is very delicate and  Drying: Dry using a


shouldn't be boiled or washed with chlorine-
based products. Hand-washing is best, but you towel (without
can machine-wash wool mixes. Always check
the laundry label and set your machine to a twisting) and then dry
short non-spin program.
flat on a fresh towel.
Hand-washing: Wash wool
at a maximum temperature of 30° using  Ironing: Use a damp
special wool washing products and
without soaking. Scrub gently and rinse cloth between iron and
in lukewarm water, gently squeezing the
water out, then rinse in cold water.
fabric. Iron on wrong
side.
Silk

 Luxurious  Yellows
 Wrinkle resistant  Weakened by Sunlight
 Absorbent  Insect Damage
 Dyes easily
Laundering

Washing: Silk is very  Drying: Silk shouldn't


delicate and should be be twisted or rough-
hand-washed if dried. Spread it flat on
possible, except if the a towel or sponge to
laundry label says it dry. Shirts and blouses
can go in a machine. can be dried on a
Hand-wash silk in lukewarm soapy water
without soaking it. You can also add a few hanger.
drops of vinegar or sugar to cold water to
rinse.  Ironing: Iron while still damp
 Press on wrong side. Use no steam.
Polyester

 Strong  Holds oily stains


 Wrinkle Resistant  Non-absorbent (hot to
 Can be heat set wear)
 Stable
Laundering
* Most items made from polyester can be machine washed and dried.

Washing:  Drying: * Machine dry


* Use warm water and at low temperature
add a fabric softener to setting and remove
the final rinse cycle. articles as soon as the
tumbling cycle is
complete.
* Most items made  Ironing: * If ironing is
from polyester can be needed, use a
dry-cleaned. moderately warm iron.
Nylon

 Strong  Non-absorbent
 Dries Quickly  Damaged by sunlight
 High Wet Strength  Picks up stray dies
Laundering

Washing: Most items  Drying: * To minimize


made from nylon can static electricity use a
be machined washed dryer sheet when
and tumbled dried at machine drying.
low temperatures.  * Remove articles from the dryer
as soon as the tumbling cycle is
* Use warm water and completed.
add a fabric softener to
 Ironing: * If ironing is
the final rinse cycle.
required, use a warm
iron.
Acrylic

 Strong  Pilling
 Elastic  Holds oily stains
 Soft  Absorbency limited
 Imitates wool
Laundering

Washing: May be  Drying: Machine dry at low


machine washed or dry temperature. Remove from dryer
as soon as garments are dry.
cleaned.  Sweaters and circular knits
* When machine washing, use warm water
setting and add a fabric softener during the should be dried flat.
final rinse cycle.
* Static electricity can be reduced by  Ironing: If ironing is
using fabric softener in every third or
fourth washing required, use
* Gently squeeze out water, smooth or moderately warm iron.
shake out garment and let dry on a non-
rust hanger .
Acetate

 Absorbent  Poor wet strength


 Colorfast  Heat sensitive
 Luxurious feel  Dissolves in acetone
 Resilient (fingernail polish
 Inexpensive remover)
 Gets static electricity
Laundering

Washing: Most garments  Drying:


made from acetate do  Ironing: Press on
need to be wrong side while
professionally dry- damp.
cleaned,
Rayon: the first manufactured fiber

 Inexpensive  Poor wet strength


 Dyes and prints easily  Low resiliency
 Absorbent  Wrinkles easily
 Takes finishes well  Weakened by sunlight
Laundering

Washing: * Use mild  Drying: * Do not wring or


lukewarm or cool suds. twist the garment.
* Smooth or shake out the article
Gently squeeze suds and place on a non-rust hanger
through the fabric and to dry.
rinse in lukewarm  * Rayon sweaters should be laid
flat to dry
water.
 Ironing: * Press the article
while damp on the wrong side
with the iron at a moderate
setting.
Ironing Care

 Linen: 230 °C (445 °F)


Cotton: 204 °C (400 °F)
Triacetate: 200 °C (390 °F)
Viscose: 190 °C (375 °F)
Wool: 148 °C (300 °F)
Polyester: 148 °C (300 °F)
Silk: 148 °C (300 °F)
Acetate: 143 °C (290 °F)
Acrylic: 135 °C (275 °F)
Lycra/Spandex: 135 °C (275 °F)
Nylon: 135 °C (275 °F)