Chemicals for Textile Finishing

Textile Finishing is a process used in manufacturing of fiber, fabric, or clothing. In order to impart the required functional properties to the fiber or fabric, it is customary to subject the material to different type of physical and chemical treatments. For example wash and wear finish for a cotton fabric is necessary to make it crease free or wrinkle free. In a similar way, mercerising, singeing, flame retardant, water repellent, water proof, antistatic finish, peach finish etc are some of the important finishes applied to textile fabric. The finishes applied by means of chemicals of different origins, a fabric can receive properties otherwise impossible to obtain with mechanical means.


Softening is carried out when the softness characteristics of a certain fabric must be improved,always carefully considering the composition and properties of the substrate.

Elastomeric Finishes

Elastomeric finishes are also referred to as stretch or elastic finishes and are particularly important for knitwear. These finishes are currently achieved only with silicone-based products. The main effect is durable elasticity, because not only must extensibility be enhanced, but recovery from deformation is of crucial importance. After all stresses and disturbing forces have been released, the fabric should return to its original shape.

Crease Resistant or Crease Proofing

Crease Resistant Finishes are applied to cellulose fibres (cotton, linen and rayon) that wrinkle easily. Permanent Press fabrics have crease resistant finishes that resist wrinkling and also help to maintain creases and pleats throughout wearing and cleaning.

Soil Release Finishes

These finishes attract water to the surface of fibres during cleaning and help remove soil.

Flame Retardant Treatment

Are applied to combustible fabrics used in children's sleepwear, carpets and curtains and prevent highly flammable textiles from bursting into flame.

Peach finish

Subjecting the fabric (either cotton or its synthetic blends) to emery wheels, makes the surface velvet like. This is a special finish mostly used in garments.

Anti Pilling

Pilling is a phenomenon exhibited by fabrics formed from spun yarns (yarns made from staple fibres). Pills are masses of tangled fibres that appear on fabric surfaces during wear or laundering. Fabrics with pills have an unsightly appearance and an unpleasant handle. Loose fibres are pulled from yarns and are formed into spherical balls by the frictional forces of abrasion. These balls of tangled fibres are held to the fabric surface by longer fibres called anchor fibres.

Anti pilling finish reduces the forming of pills on fabrics and knitted products made from yarns with a synthetic-fibre content, which are inclined to pilling by their considerable strength, flexibility and resistance to impact. Anti pilling finish is based on the use of chemical treatments which aim to suppress the ability of fibres to slacken and also to reduce the mechanical resistance of synthetic fibre.

Non Slip Finish

A finish applied to a yarn to make it resistant to slipping and sliding when in contact with another yarn.The main effect of non-slip finishes is to increase the adhesion between fibres and yarns regardless of fabric construction, the generic term for these finishes would be fibre and yarn bonding finishes. Other terms that can be used include anti-slip, non-shift and slip-proofing finishes.

Stain and Soil Resistant Finishes

Prevent soil and stains from being attracted to fabrics. Such finishes may be resistant to oil-boure or water-bourne soil and stains or both. Stain and soil resistant finishes can be applied to fabrics used in clothing and furniture. Scotchgard is a stain and soil resistant finish commonly applied to carpet and furniture.

Oil and Water Proofing

Waterproof Finishes -Allows no water to penetrate, but tend to be uncomfortable because they trap moisture next to the body. Recently, fabrics have been developed that are waterproof, yet are also breathable

Water-Repellent Finishes

Water-repellent finishes resist wetting. If the fabric becomes very wet, water will eventually pass through. Applied to fabrics found in raincoats, all-weather coats, hats, capes, umbrellas and shower curtains.

Absorbent Finishes

Increase fibres' moisture holding power. Such finishes have been applied to towels, cloth diapers, underwear, sports shirts and other items where moisture absorption is important.

Anti Static Finish

Reduce static electricity which may accumulate on fibres. The most common type of anti-static finishes are fabric softeners.

Anti Mildew

In certain ambient (humidity and heat) conditions, cellulose can be permanently damaged. This damage can be due to depolymerisation of the cellulose or to the fact that certain microoganisms (mildews) feed off it. The situation is worsened, during long storage periods, by the presence of starch finishing agents.This damage can be prevented by the use of antiseptics, bacteria controlling products containing quaternary ammonium salts, and phenol derivatives. Dyestuffs containing heavy metals can also act as antiseptics. Permanent modification of the fibre (cyanoethylation) is another possibility.

Mothproofing Finishes

Protect protein-containing fibres, such as wool, from being attacked by moths, carpet beetles and other insects.

Antibacterial Finish

The inherent properties of textile fibres provide room for the growth of micro-organisms. The structure and chemical process may induce the growth, but it is the humid and warm environment that aggravates the problem further. Antimicrobial finish is applied to textile materials with a view to protect the wearer and textile substrate itself.

Antimicrobial finish provides the various benefits of controlling the infestation by microbes, protect textiles from staining, discoloration, and quality deterioration and prevents the odor formation.Anti-microbial agents can be applied to the textile substrates by exhaust, pad-dry-cure, coating, spray and foam techniques. The application of the finish is now extended to textiles used for outdoor, healthcare sector, sports and leisure.

UV ProtectionFabric treated with UV absorbers ensures that the clothes deflect the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, reducing a person's UVR exposure and protecting the skin from potential damage. The extent of skin protection required by different types of human skin depends on UV radiation intensity and distribution with reference togeographical location, time of day, and season. This protection is expressed as SPF (Sun Protection Factor), higher the SPF value better is the protection against UV radiation.

Colorfastness Improving Finish

Colour fastness is the resistance of a material to change in any of its colour characteristics, to the transfer of its colourants to adjacent materials or both. Fading means that the colour changes and lightens. Bleeding is the transfer of colour to a secondary, accompanying fibre material. This is often expressed as soiling or staining meaning that the accompanying material gets soiled or stained.

The physical and chemical principles involved in the performance of the fastnessnimproving finishes concern either the interaction with the dyestuff or with the fibre or both.

The finishes are applied to

  • Improve the colorfastness to washing
  • Improve the colorfastness to crocking
  • Improve the colorfastness to light
  • Improve the colorfastness to weathering