What is Mercerized Cotton?
Are your Luxury Bed Linens made from Mercerized cotton - Here is why they should be!
The truth is that not all bed sheets use Mercerized cotton. Mercerizing is an additional step in the overall production of garments or bed linens. There is an additional cost associated with this extra step, which has prompted some bed linen manufacturers to avoid it altogether.
At Vero Linens, we take this extra step because we believe the benefits of mercerizing greatly outweigh the cost. And by using mercerized fabric, we can produce a superior product that our customers both recognize and appreciate.
What is mercerizing?
- The mercerizing process was developed in 1844 by John Mercer.
- Mercerizing reduces the rate of color fade in textiles, while providing other beneficial attributes, discussed below.
- The Mercerizing process is relatively the same as it was when first introduced. The fabric is exposed to Sodium Hydroxide (SH), and this treatment improves the ability of the cotton to absorb and hold the dye.
- Sodium Hydroxides alter the physical properties of the cotton fiber, causing it to swell and increase the surface area of the fibers.
What does Mercerizing have to do with bed sheets?
Regardless of its quality or origin, cotton is natural cellulose fiber. All natural fibers absorb dyes. However, they are also prone to releasing the dye molecules that detach from the fiber when exposed to chemicals such as detergents.
- Washing bed sheets with detergents will fade or wash away these dye molecules over time. This is true for luxury linens as well as other cotton garments.
- Mercerizing increases the diameter of the cotton fiber and the surface area of the individual fiber. It also causes the length of the fiber to shrink. The entire piece of fabric can ultimately shrink by as much as 25%.
- In 1890, Horace A. Lowe learned that by putting the fabric under tension, as it passed through a SH solution (as shown below), the shrinking of the textile was dramatically reduced.
- Other attributes of the cotton were also improved. Because the weave of the mercerized fabric is tightened up during this process, the tensile strength of the fabric is increased.
- Textiles that have undergone mercerizing also become smoother and shinier in appearance. Both of these attributes are considered desirable in bed linen fabrics.
You may also enjoy these articles:
- How much will your sheets shrink?
- Buying new bed sheets and you're confused?
- The difference between Sateen and Percale bed sheets.
- Remove wrinkles from luxury bed sheets without an iron.
Vero Linens uses mercerized cotton in all of our bed sheets to provide our customers with the finest luxury linens on the market today. We also offer feather and down sleeping pillows, striped and solid duvet covers, and more fine bed linens that will enhance your overall sleeping experience. Check out Vero Linens today and upgrade your future in bed.
What is the difference between Percale & Sateen?
- Sateen and Percale weaves are the most popular type of weave found in bedsheets.
- Sateen is usually 100% Cotton.
- Sateen fabrics are woven on a Jacquard loom.
- Sateen is a silkier weave.
- Percale weave offers that cool, crisp feel.
- To learn more, read our article, “What is the difference between Sateen and Percale bed sheets”
What are the different fibers or materials used in bedsheets?
- Cotton is the most popular.
- Cotton Poly
- To learn more about these different fibers, read our article, “The different fibers/fabrics used in bedsheets.”
What are the different weaves found in bedsheets?
- Jersey knit
- To learn more read our article “The different weaves used in bed linens.”
What is Thread Count?
- Thread count is the number of individual yarns found in one square inch of fabric.
- To learn more about thread count and why is not as important read our article “What is thread count."