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Cotton Inc. Introduces New Technology to Advance Cotton Performance

Adding fresh appeal to what’s already one of the most popular and sustainable fibers, Cotton Incorporated has launched Purepress, a durable press technology that keeps clothes wrinkle- and formaldehyde-free.

The technology utilizes already available chemistries in a patent-pending combination that performs as well as or better than conventional resins.

Cotton Incorporated researchers are constantly looking for sustainable and innovative ways to increase the appeal of cotton to industry and consumers,” Mary Ankeny, vice president of product development and implementation operations for Cotton Inc., said. “Purepress is a response to those manufacturers and brands that want an effective durable press finish without formaldehyde.”

The organization, funded by U.S. cotton producers and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, noted that cotton is naturally water absorbent, which can lead to wrinkles when the fabric is dried, and the hydrogen bonds break and reform in different configurations. In the 1900s, wrinkle-resistance chemistry was introduced and used formaldehyde containing resins to crosslink, or give memory, to the fibers to hold those bonds in place, resulting in a smooth fabric.

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance found even in apples. However, some global health organizations have identified significant exposure to formaldehyde as a probable carcinogen, Cotton Inc. noted.

Purepress technology claims attributes that include creating smoothness equal to that of conventional resins; removal of byproduct effects of formaldehyde; improved tensile strength, tear strength and abrasion resistance, and does not promote yellowing, shade change or cause odor.

Two responses to the Cotton Inc. Lifestyle Monitor survey of consumers indicates that Purepress answers their demands. The survey showed 77 percent of U.S. consumers agree that better quality garments are made from all-natural fibers, such as cotton, and 56 percent were “very or somewhat likely” to pay more for clothing with wrinkle-resistant properties.

Ankeny explained that there is an added bonus to the technology, adding, “Traditional durable press resins incur strength losses which have not mixed well with lighter weight fabrics, but the Purepress technology works incredibly well with these finer constructions.”