Cotton – The Reliable And Multi-Purpose Choice

Cotton is a staple of everyday life from clothing to furniture, everyone touches cotton every day. Have you ever wondered just exactly what the story of cotton is? No one knows exactly how long cotton has been around but it is estimated to be at least 7000 years old. When Christopher Columbus discovered America he discovered cotton to be growing in what is known as the Bahamas. The discovery of the Cotton Gin in 1793 changed the way cotton fabric could be used, the role in the world today and increased the value tremendously.

Grown in the warm climates of the Unites States as well as several other countries cotton seed is planted with the use of machines that can plant rows upon rows at one time. About two months later a bud appears and blossoms a few weeks later. The petals them turn from white to yellow to pink to dark red and three days later wither and fall off leaving behind what is called a cotton boll. The boll ripens, turns brown and is heated by the sun and eventually the white fluffy cotton bursts out of the boll looking like white cotton candy. Cotton is harvested and then processed into different fabrics. Those fabrics are compressed into what appears to be large loves of white bread and then sent to the finishing plant to be bleached, dyed, printed and finished.

Cotton fabric comes in many different styles depending on what it is being used for. Upland is your basic cotton and it thought to be generic and not as strong as other types. Pima cotton is what most sheet sets are made from. If your label does not say 100% Pima that generally means it is a combination of Upland and Pima cotton and is generally less expensive. Egyptian cotton is the most luxurious of cottons and is found in the best made sheets and clothing. Egyptian cotton linens can be found in high end hotels and the homes of those who are willing to spend a little bit more for the luxurious look and feel of this type of fabric.

The uses for cotton fabric are endless and even found in items that you would not think of. Everyone knows that jeans, shirts, and just about every piece of clothing are made from cotton fabric; the more luxurious the cotton the softer the clothing. Did you know that is it also used in window shades, wall coverings, book bindings, and medical supplies? What about fishing nets, coffee filters and gun powder?

In the past cotton farmers relied on chemicals and pesticides to keep their harvest safe from bugs and pests but in today’s world of moving away from unnecessary chemicals a large number of growers are turning towards production of organic cotton.

The next time you dry yourself off with a towel, slip underneath warm blankets to sleep at night, or have that morning cup of coffee think about the simple white “cotton candy” plant and how it evolved.

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