All about Cotton – The White Gold !!


Cotton

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Cultivation
Cotton is the most predominant fibre, accounting for almost half of the world’s fibre usage.
Cotton fibres are the seed hairs of the cotton plant, which is grown in countries with a warm
climate and a plentiful water supply. China, India and the USA are three of the main
producers.
The crop is harvested either by hand or by machine and is then cleaned or ‘ginned’.
In some areas cotton-growers have to use irrigation systems and artificial fertilisers to work at
a profit. The use of pesticides and weed killers varies from one country to another. Defiliation
agents, some of which can be harmful to the environment, are also used in some areas. These
are sprayed on the plants prior to mechanical picking in order to reduce impurities in the
cotton.

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Advantages:
o Hard wearing.
o 10-25% stronger wet than dry.
o Resistant to mechanical action, strong cleaning agents and heat.
o Good absorption capacity.
o Less expensive than linen and wool.
Disadvantages:
o Creases badly (can be improved with chemicals).
o Poor stretch and elasticity (except when used in jersey knits).
o Stiff.
o Poor crease resistance (can be improved with chemical fixatives).
o May shrink, by up to 10%.
o Poor insulating properties.
Ecological cultivation
If a crop is cultivated ecologically, no manufactured chemicals, pesticides or fertilisers may be
used. Instead insects which are beneficial to the crop are encouraged so that they hold the
harmful ones at bay. Crops are rotated to maintain the micro-biology of the soil and keep
yields high.
Frosts are used to defoliate crops naturally. Sometimes a mild salt solution is used.
Cotton has to be cultivated ecologically for 3 years before it can be called organic.

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