Soft white vegetable fiber from ½ to 2 inches long, which comes from the fluffy boll of the cotton plant, grown in Egypt, India, China, and southern U.S. Cotton is one of the strongest and most washable fabrics and makes removing stains easier. Cotton fabrics can withstand hot temperatures for washing and ironing. Fabric shrinks due to relaxation of yarn tension; however there is a maximum shrinkage. Highly resilient to degradation, however chlorine and oxygen bleaches over prolonged use will cause degradation. Strong acids degrade cotton fiber found in air pollutants etc therefore fine and antique articles should be stored in acid free paper and boxes. The fibers are damaged by fungi such as mildew and bacteria. Heavily starched items attract silverfish, therefore cotton items should be stored unstarched and unironed. Moths and beetles do not attack or damage cotton. Prolonged exposure to sunlight causes cotton to yellow and gradually degrade. Biodegradable and ecologically sound. Since cotton wrinkles, fiber polyester was added to give it wash and wear properties for a busy world, also cotton is often blended with other fibers such as linen, wool, to “blend” the best properties of each fiber. Consumers now often request “100% Cotton". Cotton can stand high temperatures and takes dyes easily.
Bath towels and robes; denim for blue jeans; cambric, popularly used in the manufacture of blue work shirts (from which we get the term "blue-collar"); and corduroy, seersucker, and cotton twill.
Socks, underwear, and most T-shirts are made from cotton. Bed sheets often are made from cotton. Cotton also is used to make yarn used in crochet and knitting. Fabric also can be made from recycled or recovered cotton that otherwise would be thrown away during the spinning, weaving, or cutting process. While many fabrics are made completely of cotton, some materials blend cotton with other fibers, including rayon and synthetic fibers such as polyester. It can either be used in knitted or woven fabrics, as it can be blended with elastine to make a stretchier thread for knitted fabrics, and apparel such as stretch jeans
When it comes to washability, cotton has no competition. It is the whitest, cleanest natural fiber and is easy to launder. Cotton is a durable fabric that can generally be machine washed and dried with no ill effects. For best results, machine wash cotton items in warm water, normal wash cycle, regular detergent (with color safe bleach if desired) and tumble dry on low setting. It may be safe to wash cotton whites with bleach on a hot water setting. Avoid using bleach if a finish has been applied to the garment. Also avoid using more than the recommended amount of bleach because it can damage the fibers. Cotton items can shrink and wrinkle easily so they are often combined with other fibers.Use a hot iron to remove wrinkles. Adding a spray starch will revive the crispness of cotton fabrics.