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Textiles Natural and Synthetic Fibers Adapted from UEN.org
Natural Fibers Come from plants and animals Staple fibers: short, natural fibers General Characteristics –Hydrophilic (Absorb Water) –Most wrinkle easily
Natural Fibers Cotton Flax (Linen) Wool Silk Ramie Leather
Cotton advantages Strong, durable Soft Absorbs moisture Breathes well Washes easily
Cotton disadvantages Mildews Does not spring back into shape Wrinkles easily Burns readily Shrinks
Sheets Comforters Rugs Towels Upholstery Draperies Cotton uses
Care of Cotton Wash in washer and dry Iron at high temperature
Flax (Linen) Advantages STRONG Absorbs moisture Comfortable in warm weather Washes easily
Linen disadvantages Mildews WRINKLES Burns easily
Flax uses Tablecloths Upholstery Comforters Kitchen towels Draperies
Care of Linen Wash or Dry Clean, CHECK LABEL Iron at HIGH temperature
Wool Advantages WARM Durable ABSORBENT Resilient (returns to original shape quickly) Resists wrinkling Fire Retardant
Wool Disadvantages Requires special care Shrinks sometimes if washed, or dried in dryer Absorbs odors Requires protection against insects
Rugs Curtains Blankets Draperies Upholstery Wool uses
Care of Wool Dry Clean or Hand Wash and Dry flat Iron at low temperature
Silk Advantages Smooth Lustrous Strong Dries quickly
Silk Disadvantages Shows water spots Iron at low temperature
Draperies Lampshades Wall hangings Upholstery Comforters Silk uses
Care of silk Dry clean or hand wash, check label Iron at low temperature
Synthetic Fibers Made from petrochemicals Most are filaments Characteristics –Hydrophobic (water resistant) –Promote static cling –Heat Sensitive –Many pill –Most are wrinkle resistant
Synthetic Fibers Acetate Acrylic Nylon Polyester Rayon Spandex (Lycra) Aramid (Kevlar, Nomex) Olefin Triacetate Modacrylic
Acetate Advantages Soft Drapeable Dries quickly Resistant to shrinking
Acetate Disadvantages Can wrinkle Low abrasion resistance Heat sensitive Damaged by acetone
Bedspreads Draperies Upholstery Sheers Acetate uses
Acrylic Advantages Soft Warm Wool-like Light weight Wrinkle resistant Resistant to moths and sunlight
Acrylic Disadvantages Pills Static electricity Heat sensitive
Care of Acrylic Dry Cleaned or laundered Iron at low temperature
Blankets Carpets Draperies Rugs Upholstery Acrylic uses
Nylon Advantages Very Strong Resilient Lustrous Dries quickly
Nylon disadvantages May yellow or gray Heat Sensitive Low moisture absorbency
Carpets Curtains Draperies Slipcovers Tablecloths Upholstery Nylon uses
Care of Nylon Easily laundered Iron at low temperature
Polyester advantages Excellent WRINKLE RESISTANCE Resistant to abrasion Dries quickly Blends well with other fibers Retains heat-set pleats and creases
Polyester disadvantages Absorbs oily stains Low absorbency of moisture
Polyester uses Bedding carpeting Curtains Draperies Rugs Tablecloths Upholstery
Care of Polyester Easily laundered Needs little or no pressing
Rayon advantages Soft and comfortable High moisture absorbency drapeable
Rayon disadvantages May wrinkle or shrink unless treated May mildew
Bedding Draperies Slipcovers Tablecloths Upholstery Rayon uses
Care of Rayon Usually dry cleaned, sometimes washable Iron at low temperature
Aramid (Kevlar & Nomex) advantages Exceptional strength Exceptional heat and flame resistance Resistant to stretch and abrasion
Olefin Advantages Lightweight Strong Resistant to abrasion Non absorbent Disadvantages Heat sensitive
Olefin uses Carpet Slip covers Upholstery
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