Different Types of Textile Finishes

The fabrics come out from the loom shed are in greige form. After the weaving process, fabrics are passed through various wet processing to achieve desired feel and properties. In this article, would be focused more on the additional processes done on the fabric as a value addition by imparting newer properties. After reading this post, you will have a good idea of different types of textile finishes.

Finishing is the process done after production in the textiles .i.e. yarns, fabrics, garments to make it attractive, presentable as well as impart certain desirable properties, broadening the area of textile application and use. It is most often that the yarns are exempted from the finishing process as they can be later finished in fabric or garment form. A desirable finished can easily increase the value of textile goods rather than their raw form.

Textile finishes
Image credit: www.ecotextile.com

Different Types of Textile Finishes

With growing demands both in quality as well as properties finishing techniques can be divided into three different parts:
  1. Temporary Finish
  2. Semi-durable Finish
  3. Permanent Finish

1. Temporary finishes for textiles

Temporary finishes are the one which washes away on washing. The life expectancy of these finishes is only limited to a number of washes. These type of finishes are often carried out by treating the fabric with a paste consisting of starches and gum, filling materials, softening agents, wetting agents, glazing agents, optical brightener, etc. it is the final fabric feel, properties, etc. upon which the quantity of the ingredients will depend on and its construction.
  1. The use of softener is done to impart softening and glazing to the surface of the fabric. Examples of softeners are wax emulsion, glaring paste, polyethylene emulsion.
  2. For imparting stiffness, body luster starches can be used. E.g. Tapioca, maize, etc.
  3. Wetting agents are also used with the paste to wet the fabric quickly for further finishing. They are mainly of three types depending on the type of the ionic characteristics of the mixture.
  4. The use of wetting agent can be also seen in adding weight in the fabric. French chalk, china clay, synthetic softeners are used and what it does is fill the thick and thin places.
  5. Optical brighteners like victoria blue or acid violet used to impart a slightest bluish tone to the finished fabric to compensate for the slight yellow tinge of the base fabric. This chloride salt absolves the invisible ultraviolet portion of the daylight and gives visible blue light which gives a bright and white appearance to the finished material.

2. Semi-durable finishes for textiles

Semi-durable finishes are the one which lasts more in terms of washing cycle than that of temporary finishes. The average life span of this washing depends on the types of finishes used on the fabric. Below are some examples of temporary finishes.
Waterproof finishes can be done using a special type of chemicals which are most often wax-based. What it does is form a coating to the fabric in the form of water-resistant film and closes the crevices of the cloth. Substances like rubber, drying oils, etc. are most commonly used but in recent years synthetic substances like butyl rubber, synthetic resins, and polyvinyl chloride are also getting used. The waterproofing in this fabric does depend on the level of coating done on the fabric but for the most part, the fabrics can withstand heavy showers of rain or sudden splashes. With coating done, what it does is make the fabric impermeable to air making it unusable in day to day apparels. Some of the common uses are tents, tarpaulins and wagon covers.

i. Water repellent finish 
Water repellent finish is done similar to that of waterproofing but instead of coating the entire fabric, the crevices between the warp and the weft are left vacant allowing for the air and water vapor to pass through the fabric. This kind of coating is done by the process of pad-dry-cure with the use of chemicals like a combination of Aluminium acetate and soap, aluminum salt and wax. Some of the synthetic approaches are the use of octadecyl isocyanate, silicon, fluoro chemicals but the process remains the same. Fluoro chemicals can also impart oil repellency.

ii. Flame proofing: 
Since burning is a physical process, having a complete flame proof fabric is very difficult to get but what can be done is slow down the process. Textile fabrics can be given a temporary flame proof by immersing the fabric in water solution of borax and boric acid, mixture of boric acid, di-ammonium phosphate, sulphamic acid, etc. but the treatment have to be done after every wash. For getting a much durable finish chemical treatment have to be done which fuses with the fibres thus altering the fabric properties thus stiffening it.

iii. Soil release finish: 
This type of finish includes soil resistance, soil release, and anti-soil redeposition. This property allows the fabric to shed the soil gathered during normal washing and further stop redeposition onto the fabric. It often depends on the fabric construction but some of the common processes of getting this finish are the application of metal oxides ad salts to the textiles, finishing with starch, carboxy methyl cellulose, fluoro chemicals etc.

iv. Mothproof: 
Unlike cotton, silk etc. wools are more susceptible to attack of the moths. It’s not the moths that damage the wool, but its eggs which later hatches into worms r grubs and start eating away the wool. Some of the ways to prevent this from happening are exposure to light and air, closed packing, cold storage, hot ironing with super-heated steam, contact poison like fluorides and silica and use of strong volatile compounds like naphthalene balls or para-dichlor-benzene. Apart from this as semi-durable finish treating the fabric by impregnating the fibers with non-volatile substances also work.

3. Durable finishes for textiles

Durable finish as the name indicates is more susceptible to washes and can withstand longer washing cycle if not for its lifetime. It is mostly done by altering with the fiber properties to minimize the flaws in the fabric be it natural or man-made.
i. Anti-shrink finish: 
It is done to prevent the fabric from shrinking during washing specially used for cotton or cotton-blends. This was first done by ’Cluctt Paybody and Co’ under the patented name ’sanforised fabric’. In this process, the fabric is mechanically shrunk between drums and rubber belts as it passed through the stenter machine. This sets the fabric preventing further shrinkage, especially during washing.

ii. Resin finish: 
Most of the natural fibers like cotton lack dry and wet crease recovery along with sharp crease retention which becomes very much necessary in apparels. And this is imparted with the use of resins types like DMDHEU, DMPU, Carbamates by thermosetting it into the fabric. There are mainly three types of finishing treatment with resin:
  • Anti-crease finish
  • Wash-and-wear finishing
  • Durable press treatment
Apart from this flame-resistant and water repellent have been also developed as a durable finish.

Ref: Garment finishing and care labelling- S.S. Satsangi

Soumyadeep Saha

Soumyadeep Saha holds a Master's Degree in Fashion Technology from NIFT, New Delhi. He is also a graduate in apparel production. His area of interest includes Quality Assurance and technology implementations in Apparel Production.

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