Chemistry of textile manufacturing

Textile can be defined as “it is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn”. Textiles widely used for carpeting, furnishings, window shades, towels, coverings for tables, beds, flags, backpacks, tents, nets, handkerchiefs, balloons, kites, sails.

Textiles can be made from many materials. These materials come from four main sources: animal (wool, silk), plant (cotton, flax, jute), mineral (asbestos, glass fibre), and synthetic (nylon, polyester, acrylic). Textiles many contain residues of a large number of chemicals used in their manufacture. Some of these chemicals may have inherent properties that are hazardous to human health or the environment.

Imagine you’re getting late for office, and you discover that your shirt hasn’t been ironed. It makes you so angry, doesn’t it?

Well, do you know there are fabrics that don’t need ironing!

How do we feel when we come under shadow of big tree after walking for few minutes in scorching heat?

Why do we start sweating too much if we are wearing synthetic clothes? But not cotton clothes!

Answers for all these are is depend on textile manufacturing, raw materials, chemicals treatment methods.

Fibres for fabrics come in three types

  • natural (cotton, silk, wool)
  • cellulosic (viscose, acetate, cupro)
  • synthetic (polyester, acrylic and nylon)

Cellulosic fibres are regenerated from chemically treated cellulose, originally derived from wood pulp; while synthetics are derived from petrochemicals.

Man-made fibres have already begun to dominate the market. Within this category, it is polyester — poly(ethyleneterephthalate) or PET — that is powering demand. So the environmental impact of these fibres has become much more significant, and, for traditional synthetics, the picture is far from green. They are derived from petrochemicals, meaning their production depends on declining reserves of oil and gas and they are not renewable. Also, their production is energy-intensive, the fibres don’t biodegrade and they are not easy to recycle. Chemicals are used in the manufacture and treatment of textiles. Example: Process chemicals may be added at fiber manufacturing, bleaching, dyeing and printing of fabrics.

Chemicals may also be added to the finished product to obtain different functions. Example: Antibacterial treatment of sportwear, flame-retardant treatment of furnishing textiles, impregnation of outdoor clothing and anti-mould preparations for transport and storage.

Coatings in plastic on clothes may contain plasticizers such as phthalates.

Following steps shows the different stages of textile manufacturing process where chemicals are applied

  • Washing and scouring of fibers and yarn
  • Bleaching of yarn and cloth
  • Mercerizing of yarn and cloth
  • Dyeing of yarn and cloth
  • Printing of cloth and garment
  • Finishing of cloth and garment
  • Washing of treated yarn, cloth and garment

The chemicals which during textile manufacturing are categorized based on their functionality

Mercerizing agents

Mercerizing agents helps in treatment of cotton fabrics with concentrated caustic soda under fabric tension. Mercerizing agents are added in ordered to impart a greater affinity for dyes and various chemical finishes to cotton fabrics.

Peroxide stabilizers

Peroxide stabilizers can be applied on cotton, linen, polyester, yarns, towels and knitted fabrics made of cellulose and blended fabrics to bleach them.

Peroxide killers

Peroxide killers can be added at the stage of pre-bleaching stage and also at peroxide bleaching processes to destroy the peroxide content. Peroxide killers save the water and energy by reducing peroxide levels in fabrics.


Neutralizers are a chemical compounds which neutralizes the more acid and alkali content from fabrics. Some neutralizing agents can neutralize the acids like acetic acid content from textile products.

Textile dyes

Textile dyes are applied to textiles and its products like fabrics, fibers, yarns with different type of natural and synthetic dyes. Textile dying chemicals can be used at different stages of textile production processes.


Dispersants prevents re-deposition and to maintain stable, homogenous nature of dyes like indigo dyes, sulfur dyes, vat dyes and direct dyes on textile surface.

Levelling agents

Levelling agents are added the stage of batch dyeing process of textiles to improve level the dyes dispersion on textile products. Levelling agents still makes dyes penetrate into textile products

Soaping agents

Soaping agents can be used after printing fibre, synthetic fibre and blend textile. Soaping agents effectively remove the flooding, improve color brightness, and prevent second contamination from the dropped dye in previous soap process.

Printing chemicals

Printing chemicals can be used to textile fabrics to obtain accurate print printing design and to prevent slipping during processing. Printing chemicals used for textile fabrics like knits and woven fabrics made from all kinds of fibers.

Vat levelling agents

Vat levelling agents can increase and supports the dye penetration and migration of vat dyes to textile fabrics. Vat levelling agents also applied to cellulosic fibers. Vat levelling agents prevents rapid dye take-up by the textile fabrics.


Thickeners applied on the textile fabric surface without bleeding or spreading to hold printing stuffs. Thickeners can be applied different type of textile materials like polyester, nylon, acrylic and silk fabrics.


Binders are used at the stage of textile printing. Binders like puff binders, pearl binders give shimmer, metallic and 3D effects to textile fabrics. Binders can protect the pigment from mechanical abrasions and helps in fixing pigments to fabrics.

Stain removers

Stain removers can remove ink stains, oil, grease, emulsion residues, textile inks from textile fabrics. Textile stain removers are non-toxic, accurate, active, fast acting, low odor agents.

Textile anti back staining agent

Textile anti back staining agent also termed as anti redeposition agent. Anti back staining agent mainly used to reduce back staining and dye re-depositing during various washing steps. Anti back staining agent prevents redeposition and enhances brightness.

Textile finishing chemicals

Textile finishing chemicals applied to the fabrics and clothing to give special effects. Finishing chemicals recommended for resistant finishes, shrinkage control finishes, pre-cure soil release finishes and pre-cure permanent press finishes.

Cationic softeners

Cationic Softeners imparts soft, soapy, balanced internal softness, voluminous surface and smooth handle for textile fabrics. Buy cationic fabric softener in the form of flakes, paste forms from world of

Nonionic softeners

Nonionic softeners can compatible to use for synthetic fibers and its blends to impart bulky, heavy feel and to protect yellowing. Nonionic softeners come in the form of flakes and paste form.

Anionic softeners

Anionic softeners can modify the softness of resin treated textile fabrics. Anionic softeners give antistatic effects and rewetting properties.

Reactive softeners

Reactive softeners can give tensile strength, tear strength, abrasion resistance and water resistance to textile fabrics. Reactive softeners also used to give permanent softness to textiles.

Soluble softener

Soluble softener is a textile auxiliary agent which provides rich soft feel, minimum yellowing and high solubility in cold water.

Antistatic agents

Antistatic agents have multiple applications in textile industry such as usage in dyeing and finishing, speeding up the emission of the charges effectively on fabric and reduce the static electricity.

Spin finishing agents

Spin finishing agents made up of different type of lubricants, emulsifiers and antistatic agents. Chemical spin finishes are added to the spinning bath prior to fiber formation.

Spinning aids

Spinning aids improves spinning performance and fibre-to-fibre frictional properties and also reduces yarn imperfections.

Textile specialty chemicals

Textile specialty chemicals enable the textile processer to manufacture textile with a comfortable feel and appearance. Textile specialty chemicals also used for dyeing, printing and finishing stages of textile manufacturing.

Dyeing auxiliaries

Dyeing auxiliaries usually used along with direct, disperse, reactive, acid, basic, indigo, sulfur and indanthrene dyes. Dyeing auxiliaries influences the dyeing behavior and providing intensified shades, dye penetration, optimizing the behavior of the dyeing process.

Pretreatment chemicals

Pretreatment chemicals a type of textile processing chemicals which helps to remove impurities like dirt, waxes and starch impurities. Pretreatment chemicals also help in further processes like dyeing and finishing. Buy pretreatment chemicals from world of

Textile polymers

Textile polymers used to improve textile functionalities like aesthetic appeal, comfort, textile soft display, smart wetting properties. Polymer coated textile fabrics used in protective clothing for ?remen, waterproof jackets, and seat upholstery for cars.

Apart from general chemicals used, there are some chemical which are support or enhance the textile manufacturing process.

Bleaching agent – hydrogen peroxide

Antifoaming agent – cibaflow c;antifoam tc;primasol nf

Anticreasing agent – ciba fluid p;ciba fluid c

Perioxide stabilizer – Lavatex;prestozen pl;stabilol p

Sequestering agent – ladiqueast 1097;dekol sm

Peroxide killer – invatex pc;lorinol pk;basopal pk

Reactive fixing agent – cibaflex eco

Mercerizing wetting agent – mercerol qwlf

Enzyme finishing agent – bio polish al

Leveling agent – baso winch pel;osimol rol;uniperol el

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