Do you know what a fabric finish is? What are the different types of fabric finishes? Why does a fabric have to undergo finishing? Is it necessary? In this article, we will answer all the questions you have in mind. So, stick around and walk through this article’s end to learn about fabric finishing and the different types of fabric finishes.
Fabric finishing is changing a fabric, such as yarn or fabric after it is produced. Finishing is done on fabrics to improve their look and feel. It enhances the texture and improves its quality to a certain extent. It is also done to make the textile more reliable and useful. Fabric finishing is done through a mechanical or chemical process, and finishing occurs in the last stages of fabric production.
Any fabric cannot just undergo any finishing. Rather, the type of finishing is determined by the type of fabric. The finishing processes and operations depend on the fabric’s feel and purpose. Some fabrics undergo decorating and softening, while some are skipped from those processes!
7 Types of Finishing Fabrics
There are various types of fabric finishing that are done. At a high level, there are 4 different categories of finishes, and those categories are further broken down into more types of fabric finishes. The 4 categories of fabric finishing are functional finishes, performance finishes, chemical finishes, and mechanical finishes.
Today, we will be discussing Sanding, Washing, Mercerizing, Coating, Glazing, Burn-Out, and Anti-Bacterial.
Washing here doesn’t refer to washing by water, but it is referred to as sand-washing. In sand-washing, minerals (like sand, silicone balls, and lava rocks) are used to remove the stiffness of the fabric. Some minerals are placed in a container with the fabric; then, the container is rotated, allowing the hard minerals to rub the fabric’s fibers. The contact of minerals with the fabric causes the fabric to have a smooth feel. Sand washing makes the fabric wrinkle-free and deters it from shrinking.
The process of sanding uses a sanding roller or a belt. This belt/roller is used to eradicate the fluff that’s present on the fabric surface. Multiple yards of fabric is passed between multiple rollers or a belt. These rollers have emery paper wrapped around them. When the fabric is rubbed against these rollers, the rollers break the fiber to soften the fabric and also remove the shine and silkiness of the fabric.
The coating is a process where a resin is deposited over a fabric substrate on either one or both sides of the fabric. In this method, the coating occurs on the whole yarn and also in the spaces in between them. The coating is done with natural oils or wax to prevent the water from wetting the fabric. Then these fabrics are embossed, which adds an animal skin effect to them. Embossing is done by using PVC and polyurethane to add glossiness, matt, or a metallic effect! These substances are applied to the fabric using a scraper, knife, or cylinder.
Mercerizing is done to shrink the fabric. It involves submerging the fabric in a cold compound solution that comprises around 20% of sodium carbonate, which causes the flab ribbon-like cotton fibers to be plump and enlarge but also decrease in length. This enlargement and contraction bring about an increase in the strength of the fabric. The increment in strength makes the fabric tough and tolerable for dyes! Thus, the fabric retains its strength in being colored.
Well, you all know what glazing means. It means adding a layer of shine. In fabric finishing, starch, shellac, or glue layer is applied to the textile to give it shine! This shine makes the fabric look attractive and better by tenfolds. After applying glue or shellac, the fabric is ironed under intense heat, which makes the fabric stiff and prevents dirt particles from entering the fabric.
Next, we have the burnout method, which involves the joining of two fibers, like polyester and cotton, to produce a single fabric. This mixed fiber goes through a chemical process that dissolves cellulose fibers and creates a semi-transparent pattern on the fabric.
As obvious by the name, anti-bacterial fabric finishing is done to offer protection against bacteria, viruses, and molds. This fabric is really good to wear in seasons when mosquito diseases are on the rise. The fabrics are given anti-bacterial properties because they have an antiseptic toner applied to them. Washing or dry cleaning does not steal the anti-bacterial properties of the fabric.
All in all, these are the only a few popularly used types of fabric finishes that we have discussed. There are many more that are being used, such as bulletproofing, starch treatment, and wrinkle treatments! Out of all that we have discussed, sanding and washing are the most popular techniques, as they most effectively reduce the stiffness of the fabric and give them a soft feel.