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This process, (mercerise) was invented and copyrighted in 1851 by the English chemist John Mercer who gave his name to this treatment.

mercerise(John Mercer)

First of all it is necessary to whiten and improve the quality of the raw cotton by adding sodium hydroxide at a temperature of 10° (Celsius) and with a concentration of 30° (Baumè) ; sodium hydroxide (see picture) is melted in water and this solution transforms the molecular structure of  the raw material giving it more softness. This type of treatment is use to give maximum brightness to the thread and consequently the final fabric; while in the case of colouredthread, the final result on the fabric will be a better intensity and stability of the colour; furthermore mercerising improves the dimentional stability and also increases the tearing resistence.

sodium hydroxide for mercerise


Results of mercerise

The fibers become more compact as a result more uniform and regular.

Big pores decrease , hence a more resistent fiber.

Micro pores increase, as a result there is better absorbtion.

The realligning of the fiber’s crystal structure consequently increasing the elasticity also the resistence.

Increased brightness.

Furthermore, all products made with mercerised cotton, have improved anallergic and antibacterical charateristics and above all, better absorbtion; in fact using this treatment , the natural body transpiration becomes absorbed and disperses in the air. This is a specialised treatment, due to this  not all varieties of cotton are suitable; only extra long stape, for example Egyptian Makò, Caribbean Sea -Island are able to reach the right brightness that is the principal benefit of mercerising. This process can be made on the fabric or the thread only after bleaching, therefore it is impossible to mercerise raw cotton; the fabric or the thread, remains in the  sodium hydroxide solution for a short amount of time ( aprox. 1 to 3 mins) after which, the excess liquid is removed before ironing.

Some of our mercerised products

Narrow strap vest

Crew neck short sleeves


More info