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What is Cotton ?

Cotton is a fiber of vegetable origin, whose raw material is the husk of the cottonseed. Its plant is classified as part of the genus Gossypium, within the Malvaceae family, encompassing more than sixty subfamilies.

The origin of the cultivation and harvesting of cotton dates back to the 16th century, originally in India. Until now, the Asian continent continues to be the largest producer and distributor of this fiber, whose name means «fine tissue». However, it is also produced in Africa, where the quality of Egyptian cotton is appreciated, but also in Europe and America. Peru, the country that harvests the largest number of cotton plants, stands out in the new continent.

What is Cotton Good For ? Benefits, Uses and Applications

Cotton is a natural fiber of vegetable origin, of irreplaceable place in various areas of society, and of high economic value as a raw material. Its popularity is mainly due to the ease with which the fiber can be braided into yarns.

Cotton is prized for its versatility, performance, and accessibility. Its strength and absorbent properties make it an ideal fabric for the manufacture of clothing, articles for household use and consumption, and even industrial products.

Cotton is used to create a wide variety of fabrics to produce clothing suitable for the weather and a wide list of other uses. It is common for cotton to be mixed with natural fibers such as wool and synthetic fibers such as polyester; in addition to serving as a key input for textile products such as underwear, socks, shirts, dresses and T-shirts.

Cotton is also used in carp, fishing nets, book binding, coffee filters, and archival paper, among others. In this article, we mention some of the uses and benefits, in a general way.

Uses of Cotton

This element of natural origin is part of the daily life of billions of people in different areas or sectors. For example:


Cotton is used to make any type of clothing, appropriate to the taste or need of the person. Any clothing that people require can be made of cotton.


Cotton balls have traditionally been used in the beauty area for skin, complexion and nail care and treatments, even for intimate hygiene.


In the world of health, cotton is used as an absorbent and insulating material to clean wounds, dermal and even internal. Its use has also spread to control bleeding and in the manufacture of gauze.


Cotton seeds are used to extract an oil that is used in some countries for cooking.


Insecticides are made from the seed of the cotton plant.


Cotton as a raw material is used for the manufacture of tarpaulins, tents, rubbers and rafts among other objects of common use.


An unusual, but prominent, use of cotton is found in the preparation of gasoline used by space rockets.


Cotton is one of the elements necessary for the manufacture of paper money, from which banknotes are printed.

Cotton Benefits

Cotton Reduces the Risk of Infection

It is well known that cotton is the best material for making underwear, outperforming nylon, polyester and other synthetic fabrics because it does not retain moisture on the skin, the presence of which creates body conditions for the generation of infections. Cotton stays dry, breathes, and absorbs that moisture, reducing the risk of yeast infection.

Stay Cool in Summer with Cotton Clothes

Dressing appropriately during the summer can be somewhat difficult, for example to go to the workplace that requires a certain dress code. In many cases, clothing can become sticky, hot, and unbearable. A practical solution to this issue is to wear cotton clothing, which keeps you cool even on the hottest days.

On the other hand, cotton is easier to wash, and does not produce the unpleasant static charge, so you can have a wardrobe that is functional and even fashionable if you wish.

Cotton Helps Sleep

There is a very good reason why sleeping on good quality cotton sheets is preferred almost on a planetary scale. Scientific analysis indicates that cotton sheets can help you sleep better, as cotton breathes and does not retain heat under your sheets.

Cotton Characteristics

Thanks to its properties and high demand, cotton is one of the most widely cultivated agricultural products. Cotton has exceptional characteristics that have made it the most popular natural fiber, used in the world for making clothing. Its main characteristics are:


It offers protection even to the delicate skin of the baby, as it is a soft and pleasant fabric.


Its flexible fibers allow it to be woven in different ways, serving as a basis for producing a wide variety of products.


Cotton garments are strong and durable.


Fabrics made from cotton give breathing to the skin, absorbing sweat and mitigating body discomfort.


It is a dermatologically proven hypoallergenic fabric, capable of preventing irritations, infections and allergies.

Cotton Properties

Among the most striking properties of cotton, and which have extended its use, are that it absorbs moisture and expels body heat, can be easily dyed, does not generate static electricity, serves as an insulator and resists high temperatures. One of the main advantages of cotton is in its maintenance.

Similar to other natural fibers, cotton does not dissolve in organic solvents (such as formic acid, vinegar or alcohol), which makes it possible to take advantage of the use of these reagents to remove stains on cotton fabrics at home.

Cotton is sensitive to the action of inorganic acids and alkalis; In combination with alkalis (such as caustic soda) it is used in the manufacture of fabrics. Cotton is sensitive to the activity of microorganisms (it rots). The suggested temperature for moist heat treatment of cotton is 130 ° C. 

Cotton is sensitive to sunlight, about a thousand hours of exposure to it its strength is reduced by half. Cotton fabrics without proper processing wrinkle and wear easily.

Cotton can be combined with clothing fabrics made from synthetic fibers for the convenience of thermoplastic material (capable of restoring its shape after heating) with the freshness of cotton.

Medicinal Applications of Cotton

Either in infusion prepared with leaves, or in poultice made with crushed seeds; cotton helps alleviate ailments. With the crushed cotton seeds, a paste is prepared that can be applied to wounds on the skin, as well as in case of headaches and even hemorrhoid problems.

As an infusion, cotton is used to lower fever, calm diarrhea and / or flatulence, and even to induce labor in pregnant women. Likewise, it serves as a diuretic, to combat hepatitis, to stimulate the production of breast milk, and to help clear the airways.

Final Words

This prominent ally, cotton, has been a supplier of food, fiber and fuel for more than six thousand years. Its outstanding properties and benefits give this product a wide variety of applications in the textile industry. Cotton is part of daily life on a planetary scale, from drying and healing wounds, drying the skin with a soft cotton towel in the morning until we rest between fresh cotton sheets at nightfall.

Its multiplicity of uses, from «jeans» to braids for our shoes. Its softness and freshness, adaptable even for formal wear, ensure it a main place in every home and company around the world.

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What Is Cotton Good For, Definition, Benefits, Characteristics, Possible Uses. Properties, Medical Applications
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