When you buy new clothing or material at the store, they are usually labeled and you know exactly what you are getting. However, if you have some old sheets or you purchase clothing from a third-party reseller, you may want to know what the material really is. There are a few ways to determine if a material is 100% cotton, as opposed to a cotton blend. Take a look at the following ways to determine if your material is 100% cotton.
The Burn Test
The best way to determine if a material is 100% cotton is with the burn test. You can cut a few fibers off of the material and burn them with a match. You should pay close attention to the smell and the ashes after it cools. Material that is 100% cotton will not melt; it will burn. It will leave behind a fine gray ash. It should smell the same as burning paper, wood, or leaves. Cotton does not shrink away from the flame, but instead it burns quickly and at a steady rate with a yellowish flame. If you try this test and it fits these characteristics, it is 100% cotton.
Feel the Fabric
Cotton is produced more than any other fiber in the world today. It is known for its comfort and its durability, which is why it is so popular. It can be woven and knitted, and it is soft and breathable. It works well in places with warm weather. People with sensitive skin also wear cotton.
When you feel cotton, it will be soft. It won’t cling to you. It is not stretchy, and it has a fixed shape. If you pull on the fabric, there will be just a little bit of give. It should feel substantive, and it won’t rip or tear easily. It is not as delicate as other fabrics. However, it is not as durable as a cotton/polyester blend or polyester.
When you feel the fabric, it should feel soft, smooth, and durable. You can rub it against your cheek to make sure. If you pull it tight and tap on it, it will feel rough, but you will not hear any friction. Try rubbing two sides together as well, and you should not feel any friction. You will be able to tell that it is cotton if you feel it and these characteristics are present.
Get it Wet
Another feature of cotton is that it doesn’t dry as quickly as other fabrics. If you get it wet, you will find that it holds the water as it dries. Some fabrics are made so that they do not absorb the moisture, and they dry quickly. Cotton will dry slowly over time.
In addition, if you use hot water, cotton will shrink. It is a natural material, and it can shrink up to 5% from one dose of hot water. The good news is that cotton also stretches, so you won’t ruin it by getting it wet with hot water.
The easiest way to tell if a material is 100% cotton is to check the label if it has one. However, there are times when you will come across cotton that doesn’t have a label. If you have this fabric at home, you can try the burn test. You can also try to test where you get it wet. You can also feel the fabric because cotton is soft and smooth. It will feel more durable than other fabrics.
If you have sensitive skin or allergies, it may be important that your sheets or clothing are made of 100% cotton, so you will want to familiarize yourself with these methods. You can tell if a material is 100% cotton by burning it, feeling it, or getting it wet.