For the best laundry results, it is good to have a working knowledge of fabrics and how to care for them. This glossary will help you interpret clothing care labels. Follow the blue links to find more information on how to remove stains and care for specific fabrics.
A manufactured fiber refined from cotton filaments and/or wood pulp, and acetic acid that has been extruded through a spinneret and then hardened.
A type of nylon made by DuPont®.
Bamboo fabric is made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. It is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, and is to some extent antibacterial. This antibacterial quality helps to reduce bacteria that thrives on clothing and causes unpleasant odors. In addition, bamboo fabric has insulating properties and will keep the wearer cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Crisp, fine linen which is sometimes called altar cloth and used for that purpose.
A term applied to a yarn or a fabric that is made up of more than one fiber. In blended yarns, two or more different types of staple fibers are twisted or spun together to form the yarn. Polyester/cotton is an example of a typical blended yarn or fabric.
Wool fabric is felted to create a very dense final product used for coats, jackets and slippers.
This fabric can be a knit or a woven but is made with a novelty yarn. The finished fabric has protruding loops or curls on the surface. Care must be used when cleaning to prevent snagging.
A carbon fabric blends carbon-infused fibers by the burning of bamboo and blends them with synthetic fiber to create a durable, tech fabrication that is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, breathable and moisture wicking.
A lightweight silk or silk-like fabric.
A soft fuzzy fabric developed in France. The name means caterpillar in French. It can be made from cotton or a blended fiber.
An extremely sheer, lightweight, soft fabric made of silk, polyester, rayon or other fibers. It is made of highly twisted filament yarns.
Study plain or twill weave cotton fabric. Most of these fabrics are dyed a khaki color but can be navy, black or olive drab.
A glazed cotton in a plain weave. Chintz has bright colors and prints, often florals.
- Combed Cotton
Cotton in which a combing process removes the short fibers and any debris that may be with the fiber when it was in the field. This results in a cleaner, more uniform and lustrous yarn.
A polyester fiber designed to move moisture away from the body and out onto the surface of the garment for quick evaporation.
Usually made from cotton, corduroy is a durable pile fabric with lengthwise ridges cut into the pile called wales. Corduroy is available as a cotton/polyester blend to help prevent wrinkles.
A natural fiber that grows in the seedpod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers - longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties - produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.
- Cotton Lisle
A hard-spun two ply cotton yarn made from long staple fibers and treated to remove all short fuzzy ends for a smooth finish. Lisle is a popular choice for fine men's knitwear, including tops and socks.
Damask refers to the type of weave used to create jacquard-woven florals or geometric designs. The fabric can be made from cotton, linen, polyester or from blended fibers.
- Double Knit
A knit fabric in which two layers of loops are formed that cannot be separated. A double knit machine, which has two complete sets of needles, is required for this construction.
- Ecosil polyester
Ecosil means the polyester fibers are spun very compactly to give the fabric a clean appearance, and a resistance to pilling and abrasion.
- Egyptian cotton
All cotton grown in Egypt is "Egyptian" but it is not all extra-long staple cotton which is the most desirable and softest.
Elastane is just another name for an old fiber: Spandex. The word "elastane" is used in Europe while "spandex" is used in the United States. Elastane/spandex trade names are Lycra and Dorlastan.
A type of fabric with patterned cut-out designs, around which stitching or embroidery is applied in order to prevent the fabric from raveling. It can be made from cotton or man-made fibers.
A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers.
Lightweight, synthetic fiber that can be used to line coats, vests and padded garments
- French terry
A circular knit fabric with a looped pile back and smooth face. The fabric can be a natural fiber like cotton or bamboo or a synthetic fiber.
Sturdy fabric with a twill weave. Can be made of cotton, wool or synthetic fibers.
Fabric that attracts water and is absorbent.
Fabric that tends to repel water.
- Interlock knit
A rib stitch variation, interlock stitch fabrics are thicker, heavier and more stable than single knit constructions.
- Italian Nylon
A very high quality knit fabric with 4-way stretch that comes from Italy. Italian nylon includes some lycra to give great stretch and recovery, abrasion resistance and anti-bacterial qualities.
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