While relaxing on a cotton carpet, it’s easy to enjoy just how luxurious the material can feel, but it might surprise you to know just how big a part the fabric plays in our everyday lives.
Here are ten brilliant things about cotton that you might not have found out before.
1. Cotton flowers
It takes an average of 120 to 140 days for the first cotton blossom to appear. Flowers then change from white to yellow to pink before ending up as a vibrant rich red colour.
2. Pods and seeds
The amazingly tough little seeds are so strong that they can survive being blown across an ocean, travelling thousands of miles at a time and still grow a new crop in a totally different location.
3. Cotton history
Cotton has been cultivated by mankind for more than 5,000 years across the world. Grown by many different cultures in that time, the crop has always been cleaned, prepared, spun and weaved in exactly the same way wherever it’s found.
In ancient India, woven sheer cotton muslin used to be so fine and delicate that 73 yards of it only weighed one pound (453 grams).
Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution transformed the cotton trade in the UK and by 1913 mills in Lancashire exported 7,000,000,000 yards of cotton fabric a year.
With the Industrial Revolution came the ability to add a consistent colour to our cotton carpet and cotton rugs; making a dazzling impact on our homes. Up to that point cotton was only grown in assorted colours including brown, rust and light purple.
6. How much cotton to make…?
It may only seem like a simple piece of clothing but making just one pair of jeans will need an average of 1.5 lbs (680 grams) of cotton , whilst a T-shirt only needs half a pound (226 grams).
Surprisingly, a nice fluffy comfy bath towel needs little more than a T-shirt’s worth of cotton, coming in at .6 of a pound (272 grams).
7. Cottonseed oil
Like many cultivated crops, cotton also produces oil that has many different practical uses. Cottonseed oil can used for cooking but it’s mainly used in the production of a range of industrial products as varied as soap, margarine, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
8. What about lint?
Cottonseed goes through a process called ‘ginning’ and this leaves behind very short fibres called linters. Once removed and processed, these linters are then used to produce items such as bandages, cotton buds and x-rays!
9. Cotton fuel
It is now common for bio-fuels to be added to petrol but did you know that some of these come from cotton crops? The stalk of the cotton plant can be processed to make ethanol which is the main additive for petrol or diesel blends. It can also be used as mulch to improve the condition of organic matter in soil.
10. Pure and simple
Organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers, growth regulators, chemical pesticides or genetic engineering. However, all cotton is naturally hypoallergenic so a lying on a cotton mattress will never irritate even the most sensitive skin or cause any allergies.