We wear cotton clothing all the time and never really think about where it comes from. Cotton has long been amazing humans with its so many different applications and uses. Here are some fascinating cotton facts that might surprise you:
- Humans have been using cotton since ancient times. In Peru, cotton seeds have been uncovered that date back to 450 BC. It feels comfortable, can be warm or cool depending on the weather and can be worn by those with sensitive skin. For a range of Farah Shirts made from cotton, visit ejmenswear.com/men/farah
- Cotton Gin is not an alcoholic beverage. The gin in this combination is short for engine, part of a machine that is used for removing cotton fibres from the seeds.
- There is no wastage when cotton plants are harvested. The main part used is the fibre, but the seeds are also used to make animal feed and cottonseed oil. Even the stalks are placed back in the soil after harvesting. Cotton is a sustainable fibre. The seeds are planted in spring and six months later, the bolls mature and open up for harvesting.
- Cotton fibre consists of cellulose, a natural polymer which humans can’t digest. Horses and cattle are able to digest it as they have enzymes that break down the cellulose into sugars.
- To get very fine yarns from any variety of cotton, the shorter fibres are combed out before spinning. This is called comber yarn and the short fibres are recycled and turned into products such as cotton wool balls and cotton buds.
- Cotton yarns are classified by number. The higher the number, the softer and thinner the yarn. For example, a 16 yarn is twice the weight of a 32 yarn.
- Cotton can be grown in many countries around the world. In the U.S, there are 17 states that grow cotton from California to Virginia.
- Cotton is both compostable and 100% biodegradable. Whether exposed to air or not, cotton wipes will completely biodegrade within one month.
- Cotton is not pure white as we often imagine it to be, it is actually a tan colour. To make it pure white in colour, chlorine chemicals used to be added to it. These days, companies prefer to use a chlorine-free method that removes waxes, oils and colour to create soft and white cotton.
10. Cotton is highly absorbent and becomes stronger when it is wet. Other fibres made of cellulose weaken when wet but cotton does the opposite. The best bath towels are always made from cotton because it such an absorbent material, able to absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water.