Facts About Cotton
When you go shopping for fabric, or clothing, you are advised to choose those that are made from cotton. This has been repeated so many times that it’s almost automatic for many people. But while ‘cotton’ is on the lips of many shoppers, not many know a lot about cotton.
To help build your knowledge of cotton, below are some fun facts on cotton. They may come in handy when you are shopping.
1. Cotton has been used for eons
How far does cotton use go? This might come as a shocker, but its first use can be traced to 7000 years ago. So no, cotton isn’t a new product. The ancient Romans and Greeks used cotton for their as cotton bags, homes, buildings, sails, boats, and clothing. Most of the togas in ancient Rome were fashioned from cotton.
And aside from being used to make fabric, the Aztecs considered it a precious commodity that they made it their legal tender.
2. There are more than 50 natural species of cotton
Many people think since they’ve seen one cotton plant, they’ve seen it all. Well, this is not quite true. Cotton plants are diverse. So much so that some types come in the form of trees. But despite the diversity, there are only four types of cotton plants farmed commercially. This is because the four have ample fibre length and oil content enough to make large scale cultivation profitable.
3. Cotton plants bear fruit
Fruit is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cotton plants. Given the images of fluffy cotton on the internet, many believe cotton plants produce long faibres ready to be spun and weaved into clothing.
But on the contrary, cotton fibres pop from mature and dry pods. Before they dry and pop, the pods are fruits known as bolls.
Note: ‘Fruit,’ in this case, does not mean cotton is edible. It refers to the part of the plant that develops from the fertilization in the ovary of the plant
4. Original cotton came in varied colours
Today’s cotton fibres are only white. This has fuelled the notion that all types of cotton have white fibres. But this could not be further from the truth. Before modern cotton processing, farmers planted cotton that bore different colours. These cotton varieties had pink, brown, green, red, blue, and tan varieties. But because of their short fibres, non-white cotton aren’t produced for commercial processing.
5. Cotton is highly absorbent
Cotton balls are common in medical centres. This is because they can soak up a lot of liquid. In addition to being easy to pack and light, cotton can absorb liquids weighing 30x its original weight.
Cotton is so absorbent that researchers are looking into creating new cotton products to clean oil spills and coastlines and in the open oceans.
6. Cotton gets stronger when wet
Though most products weaken when wet, cotton gets stronger. This quality is made possible because of its molecular structure. Cotton fibres feature crystalline sections that have hydrogen bonds. The hydrogen bonds create a barrier that water molecules cannot pass through. Therefore, the water doesn’t get a chance to weaken the fibres.
There you go – a few fun facts to make you fall in love with cotton products even more. The next time you’ll be buying cotton fabric, you’ll treasure it for its value.