Cotton is the most used natural fibre in the world. It makes up the fabric out of which most of our garments are made, but the textile also has a wonderful versatility in terms of the products it can be used for. The earliest cotton seeds, dating back over seven millennia, were found in Peru, and today cotton is cultivated across the planet from China to the U.S.A. to Turkey.
Made up of cellulose, cotton fibres grow on bolls around the seeds of the cotton plant before being spun into yarn and woven into a fabric, oftentimes blended with synthetic fibres. A ‘cotton rich’ fabric is a fabric consisting of at least 60% fibres that are cotton, but here at AllÓRA all of our cotton products are made from 100% cotton – which we believe makes all the difference.
This blog lays out the top benefits to be reaped from opting for pure cotton items over their cotton blend alternatives, so continue reading to discover the properties of cotton fabric in all their glory.
Pure cotton is the fabric of choice for the most luxurious bath towels (see our recent post on cotton and linen towels), and for good reason. Cotton is hydrophilic, meaning that the cells in its fibres absorb water molecules by actively attracting them. This ability to store water within its cell walls is what makes cotton fabric so absorbent; it can soak up over 25 times its weight in water, making it ideal for towels and summer garments so that they can remove moisture from the skin. Textiles which have a lower percentage of cotton fibres, such as polycotton, are therefore not able hold as much water; causing them to be less absorbent and less effective at keeping your skin dry.
Now more than ever, we are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of implementing sustainable practices in different areas of our lives, and organic, pure cotton is one of the textile industry’s answers to the growing demand for eco-friendly fabrics. Cotton which is grown organically produces far less yield than cotton which has been sprayed with pesticides, accounting for less than 1% of cotton production worldwide and using greatly reduced amounts of water and land. After the cotton has been harvested, it is then left free of chemicals during the process of fabric manufacture and is, of course, not blended with fibres heavy in microplastics (such as polyester). The result is a cotton fabric which is completely biodegradable and recyclable and which does not contaminate our waterways, offering sustainability all round.
Pure cotton’s lack of pesticide and chemical use is also what makes it so ideal for sensitive skin, as these can irritate the skin and cause discomfort. Bacteria is another factor which can lead to irritation – however, pure cotton dries faster than less cotton rich fabrics due to water being able to evaporate easily from its cell walls, making it highly breathable and more resistant to build-ups of bacteria. Furthermore, while natural cotton fibres are not technically hypoallergenic, fabric which is 100% cotton and free of synthetic blends is extremely unlikely to contain allergens, and for this reason, organic cotton is outstandingly safe (and baby friendly).
As fabrics go, cotton is an immensely durable option, especially when it comes to homeware. Its high tensile strength means that it is incredibly long-lasting, and unlike other cellulosic materials such as wood pulp which deteriorate in moisture, fabric made from cotton is 30% stronger when wet. This great level of fibre strength is why cotton fabric withstands washing so well and barely stretches or loses its shape, giving it the added benefit of being a low maintenance textile. Easy to care for and easy to wash, you can be secure in the knowledge that your fabric woven from 100% cotton will retain its quality over many years.
Almost all different types of cotton fabric are soft to the touch, but pure, 100% cotton provides a supreme level of softness which takes the tactile experience of the textile up a notch. Cotton fibres protrude slightly from the surface of the fabric and create an air barrier between the skin and the fabric, which is what gives cotton clothing or cotton bedding that cushioned touch and makes the textile non-abrasive. Moreover, 100% cotton does not come with the issue of pilling. Pills are tiny balls of tangled fibres caused by friction which build up on the surface of fabrics, and while pilling is permanent on many materials, pure cotton sheds its pills in the wash; guaranteeing that smooth texture which is so characteristic of cotton.
Clearly, this exquisite natural fabric’s properties give many other fabrics a run for their money. Breathable, absorbent of moisture, chemical-free, durable and woven from the softest fibres, 100% cotton is a fabric which offers luxury and comfort throughout your home.
Browse our stunning collection of cotton bath towels and hand towels to experience the wonder of pure cotton. Alternatively, you can make your own garments or bed linen by ordering pure cotton fabric by the metre from our range of white, off-white and cream fabrics.