Cotton is a soft natural fibre that grows in a protective capsule of a cotton plant. It is one of the most commonly used natural fibres’ in textile industry. Thousand of acres of land have been devoted globally for its production. Cotton plant belongs to mallow family and produces lovely, delicate flowers. The use of cotton in textile industry started many centuries ago when it was discovered that this fluffy flower was suitable for textile use. Combing is done after harvesting cotton to remove the seeds from the fibre by using cotton gin. Lighter cotton holds a lot of air making them easily flammable and should be chemically treated. Many types of cotton are blended with other varieties of natural fibres’ like linen in order to add texture, strength and other properties to the fibre.
BENEFITS OF COTTON FABRICS
• MOISTURE CONTROL: Cotton cloth transmits moisture away from your body and also it can absorb liquid from the skin. Cotton fabric allows you to be comfortable as you exercise protecting the moisture from building up between the skin and the clothing.
• INSULATION: During the winter cotton clothing protects your body by providing thermal insulation and also during summer this clothing protects you against the heat. Cotton fibre allows more air to be trapped between the fabric and skin which gives the insulation and comfort.
• HYPO-ALLERGENIC: Cotton clothes rarely cause any allergic reactions. It is recommended that those who are suffering from skin allergies wear cotton clothes. Cotton fabric is hypo-allergenic making it favourable choice for medical products such as gauze and bandage. It is also the best choice for baby clothing.
• WEATHER RESISITANT: Cotton fabrics are also used to manufacture weather-proof garments used in construction industry. Cotton can be made dense or tight with a weather resistant repellent finish yet retaining its breathability and comfort.
• COMFORT: Cotton fabric is ease to stretch and soft making it comfortable cloth to wear. Due to its comfort and softness it is commonly used in undershirts and underwear.
• DURABILITY: Due to their high tensile strength, cotton fabrics are durable and strong. Cotton clothes are 30% strong when wet and therefore can withstand many washings even in hot water.
• CHEAP: Cotton clothes are known to be cheap as compared to other clothes and they are easily available in all clothing stores.
PRODUCTION OF COTTON
Cotton can be cultivated during the long frost free period of the year with plenty of sunshine and rainfall of between 600 to 1200mm. These sorts of conditions occur within dry tropics and subtropics in both northern and southern hemisphere. Most of the cotton today is cultivated in region of lower rainfall that even utilizes irrigation for production of the crop. Cotton can also be produced in different colours other than the yellowish off white colour. A natural coloured cotton come in red, green and other shades of brown.
Genetically modified cotton has become common which reduce the reliance of pesticides. This was first successful in Australia where the crop used less pesticide during the production of the crop. GM cotton has now been grown on more than 87% of the land used for growing cotton.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF COTTON
Today, cotton is widely used globally than any other fibre. In U.S cotton remains as the leading cash crop and it is estimated that cotton stimulates annual revenue of about $120 billion. At the production level of this crop more $ 5.3 billion is used in purchasing supplies and services. Handling and processing of this crop after it leaves the farm generates more business activity. Cotton fabric has become part of our lives and has hundreds of uses. Clothing industry and household items are the largest consumers of cotton fabrics.
Workers in the cotton industry without full-time health insurance can benefit from temporary health insurance from a recognized provider.