Facts about Cotton
Cotton is the oldest crop and is the backbone of the fashion industry. The first mention and use of cotton was in India. However, it had its breakthrough at the start of the 19th century when textile manufacturing was gaining traction. Today, more than a third of all fabrics are made from cotton, like cotton bags. Cotton cultivation is done on a large scale and in different parts of the world but mainly in the tropical regions. This is because cotton thrives in hot climates.
Why not also read: Where is Cotton Grown?
Cotton is the preferred textile in the world by many manufacturers and customers alike. But have you ever asked yourself why this is so? Well, below are a few fun facts to help you appreciate cotton even more.
Every bit of the cotton plant is used
The primary reason for growing cotton is for fibre. But other plant parts have use as well. The seeds are used as animal feeds and also produce cottonseed oil for human consumption. On the other hand, cotton plant stalks are replanted after harvesting. As such, nothing goes to waste.
Cotton Gin isn’t a drink
Gin is a term used to refer to alcoholic drinks. But in the case of cotton, gin refers to a machine used to extract cotton fibres from cotton seeds.
Cotton is made up of cellulose
The digestive system of human beings is not designed to digest cellulose. However, ruminants including horses and cattle digest it with ease courtesy of an enzyme present in their system which breaks it down to sugars.
Numbers describe yarns
The soft, thin and fine yarn has a higher number than coarse and thick cotton. This means that a 32 yarn and is finer and softer than a 16 yarn (even twice as soft).
Cotton is grown all over the world
Cotton is grown in countries including China, India, the U.S, and Pakistan. According to a study done in 2017, these countries were rated the top cotton producers in the world.
Cotton has an Arabic background
The word cotton is derived from ‘qutun’ an Arabic word. ‘Qutun’ means fine fabric. The origin of the name shouldn’t be surprising since woven fabrics made from cotton were first popular in Islamic countries.
Cotton has a large global workforce
When you purchase a cotton product, you support a global workforce ranging from cotton transporters, harvesters, planters, weavers, and others. The workforce comes from different political systems, religions and ethnicities.
Cotton has a complex genetic makeup
Of all the plants humans have domesticated for commercial use, the cotton plant has the most complicated genetic makeup. The wild cotton plant has 13 chromosome pairs, but the domesticated cotton has 26 chromosome pairs.
Cotton seeds are salt resistant
Wild cotton plants are wafted over oceans by strong winds. Because of this, the wild cotton can be found in different islands in the world, including the Galapagos and the Caribbean.
Now, wild cotton wouldn’t make it so far and over salty water bodies if its coating wasn’t resistant to saltwater which leeches out water and nutrients from the seeds. It is because other plant seeds aren’t salt-resistant that they don’t make it across oceans.
Keep the above fun facts in mind the next time you wear a soft vest, shirt or dress. Appreciate what makes cotton unique and the amount of work that goes into making the product.