Chemical finishing of textiles

Fluorine-containing durable water repellent makes a fabric water-resistant.

Chemical finishing of textiles refers to the process of applying and treating textiles with a variety of chemicals in order to achieve desired functional properties. Chemical finishing of textiles is a part of the textile finishing process where the emphasis is on chemical substances instead of mechanical finishing.[1][2] Chemical finishing in textiles also known as wet finishing.[3] Chemical finishing adds properties to the treated textiles. These properties may vary from Normal to Advanced or High Tech. Softening of textiles, durable water repellancy and wrinkle free fabric finishes are examples of chemical finishing.[1][4][2]

Cravenette was an old chemical finish of the early 20th century that makes cloths water repellant.[5][6][7][8][9]


Textile finishing is the process of converting the loomstate or raw goods into a useful product, which can be done mechanically or chemically. Finishing is a broad term that refers to a variety of physical and chemical techniques and treatments that finish one stage of textile production while also preparing for the next. Textile finishing can include aspects like improving surface feel, aesthetical enhancement, and adding advanced chemical finishes.[10] A finish is any process that transforms unfinished products into finished products.[11] This includes mechanical finishing and chemical applications which alter the composition of treated textiles (fiber, yarn or fabric.)

Mechanical finishes

Mechanical finish purports machine finishes such as embossing, heat setting, sanforizing, sheering, various, luster imparting, surface finishes, and glaze finishes.[12][13]

Mechanical Finishes[13]
Raised surface finishesLuster impartingGlaze and design

Chemical finishes

Chemical finishes are chemicals that may alter the properties of the treated fabrics.[1] Finishes may vary from aesthetic to special purposes.[2] Examples of Chemical finishes are:


Finishing makes the textiles attractive and more useful.[14] The finishing process adds essential properties to the treated textiles and enhances the serviceability of the products.

Serviceability in textiles includes aesthetics, comfort, durability, care and protection attributes.[15]: 21 

Performance Chemical finishes

Remarkably, performance finishes are not a new concept; Oilcloth is the first known coated fabric. Boiling linseed oil is used to make oilcloth. Boiling oils have been used from the year 200 AD.[16] The "special purpose finishes" or ''Performance finishes'' are that improve the performance of textiles for a specific end-use.[17]: 301  Performance finishing contributes to a variety of areas. Following is an illustration.

  • Flame retardant finishes based on inorganic, organophosphorus, halogenated organic and nitrogen-based compounds make the treated fabric fire retarding i.e. The fabric inhibits or suppresses the combustion process. Hence, the finish protects the wearer from accidents.[18][19]
  • Durable water repellent finishes provide water repellancy to the treated fabrics.[20]
  • Wrinkle-resistant fabrics are treated fabrics with wrinkle-free finishes.[21]
  • In manufacturing of pristine clothes.[22]
  • Self cleaning fabrics with lotus effect.[23]
  • PPE kits, aprons, coverall and gowns for healthcare workers usable in viral diseases such as COVID-19,[24][25] medical textiles with protecting properties, body fluid resistance and antimicrobial surface.[26][25]
  • In distinctive areas, coated fabrics are used for transportation, industrial application, geotextile, and military use.[27]


Chemical finishes can be applied in three different ways. Exhaust applications, coating, and padding, for example.


Exhaust application is carried out by immersion the substrate in the chemical solution.[28]


In padding applications, the material comes in contact with chemicals on a padding mangle. The material is then dried or cured using a stenter.[29]


The coating is an application of chemical substances on the surface of fabric that is to be made functional or decorative.[30] Coating is attained by applying a thin layer of a functional chemical, compound, or polymer on the substrate's surface. Coatings use less material than other types of applications, such as exhaust or padding on stenter.[31]

Nano materials

Advances in chemical finishes include application of nano materials.[32]

Chemical hazards

Certain chemical finishes contain potential hazards to health and the environment. Perfluorinated acids are considered to be hazardous to human health by the US Environmental Protection Agency.[33]

Name of the substanceAdvantage in textile productsAssociated health risks and environmental impactsReferences
Perfluorooctanoic acid ( PFOA), Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon)Hydrophobic effectEndocrine disruptor[34][35]
Fluorocarbon (PFC)Hydrophobic effectMay cause respiratory illness[36]
BromineBrominated flame retardantPersistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances may cause Neurobehavioral disorders and Endocrine disruption[37]
Silver Or Silver nanoparticleAntimicrobial resistanceEnvironmental impact of silver nanoparticles and toxic effects on human health[38][39]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Schindler, W. D.; Hauser, P. J. (2004-08-10). Chemical Finishing of Textiles. Elsevier. pp. 1–20. ISBN 978-1-84569-037-3.
  2. ^ a b c Kadolph, Sara J. (1998). Textiles. Internet Archive. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Merrill. pp. 285, 300–316. ISBN 978-0-13-494592-7.
  3. ^ "Chemical Finishing - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  4. ^ a b Roy Choudhury, Asim Kumar (2017-01-01). "Softening". Principles of Textile Finishing. Woodhead Publishing. pp. 109–148. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-100646-7.00006-0. ISBN 978-0-08-100646-7.
  5. ^ "Definition of CRAVENETTE". Retrieved 2021-07-24.
  6. ^ Company, Sears, Roebuck and (1922). Catalog. Sears, Roebuck. p. 67.
  7. ^ The Saturday Evening Post. 1952. pp. 64, 87.
  8. ^ Winge, Jane (1981). Fabric Finishes. Cooperative Extension Service, North Dakota State University. p. 7.
  9. ^ Treasury, United States Department of the (1905). Treasury Decisions Under the Customs, Internal Revenue, and Other Laws: Including the Decisions of the Board of General Appraisers and the Court of Customs Appeals. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 8.
  10. ^ Choudhury, Asim Kumar Roy (2017-04-29). Principles of Textile Finishing. Woodhead Publishing. pp. 1–10. ISBN 978-0-08-100661-0.
  11. ^ Hollen, Norma R.; Hollen, Norma R. Textiles (1988). Textiles. Internet Archive. New York : Macmillan. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-02-367530-0.
  12. ^ Schindler, W. D.; Hauser, P. J. (2004-08-10). Chemical Finishing of Textiles. Elsevier. pp. 1, 2. ISBN 978-1-84569-037-3.
  13. ^ a b Joseph, Marjory L. (1992). Joseph's introductory textile science. Internet Archive. Fort Worth : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. pp. 337, 338, 339, 340. ISBN 978-0-03-050723-6.
  14. ^ Agricultural Leaders' Digest. American Agricultural Services. 1940. p. 32.
  15. ^ Kadolph, Sara J. (1998). Textiles. Internet Archive. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Merrill. ISBN 978-0-13-494592-7.
  16. ^ "MoreInfo-Staining and Finishing for Muzzeloading Gun Builders - Methods and Materials 1750-1850". 2013-05-30. Archived from the original on 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2021-08-08.
  17. ^ Kadolph, Sara J. (1998). Textiles. Internet Archive. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Merrill. ISBN 978-0-13-494592-7.
  18. ^ Lacasse, K. (Katia); Baumann, W. (Werner) (2004). Textile chemicals [electronic resource] : environmental data and facts. Berlin ; New York : Springer. pp. 425, 426. ISBN 978-3-642-18898-5.
  19. ^ handbook_of_technical_textile_. pp. 164–167.
  20. ^ Williams, John T. (2017-11-21). Waterproof and Water Repellent Textiles and Clothing. Woodhead Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-08-101134-8.
  21. ^ "Creating 'greener' wrinkle-resistant cotton fabric". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2021-07-24.
  22. ^ "Lasers help create water-repelling, light-absorbing, self-cleaning metals". New Atlas. 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2021-08-08.
  23. ^ "Lotus Effect - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". Retrieved 2021-08-08.
  24. ^ Karim1, Nazmul1; Afroj, Shaila; Lloyd, Kate; Oaten, Laura Clarke; Andreeva, Daria V.; Carr, Chris; Farmery, Andrew D.; Kim, Il-Doo; Novoselov, Kostya S. (2020). "Sustainable Personal Protective Clothing for Healthcare Applications: A Review". ACS Nano. 14 (10): 12313–12340. doi:10.1021/acsnano.0c05537. ISSN 1936-0851. PMC 7518242. PMID 32866368.
  25. ^ a b Dehghani, Mohammad Hadi; Karri, Rama; Roy, Sharmili (2021-06-26). Environmental and Health Management of Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Academic Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-323-90924-2.
  26. ^ Galante, Anthony J.; Haghanifar, Sajad; Romanowski, Eric G.; Shanks, Robert M. Q.; Leu, Paul W. (2020-05-13). "Superhemophobic and Antivirofouling Coating for Mechanically Durable and Wash-Stable Medical Textiles". ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 12 (19): 22120–22128. doi:10.1021/acsami.9b23058. ISSN 1944-8244. PMID 32320200. S2CID 216084757.
  27. ^ Fung, W. (2002-05-23). Coated and Laminated Textiles. Woodhead Publishing. pp. 9, 247. ISBN 978-1-85573-576-7.
  28. ^ "Exhaust Method - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". Retrieved 2021-08-09.
  29. ^ "Padding Mangle - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". Retrieved 2021-08-09.
  30. ^ "Surface coating | chemistry". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-08-08.
  31. ^ "Using Liquid Finishes to Create Nanofabrics". Retrieved 2021-08-08.
  32. ^ Shahid, Mohammad; Adivarekar, Ravindra (2020-06-10). Advances in Functional Finishing of Textiles. Springer Nature. p. 43. ISBN 978-981-15-3669-4.
  33. ^ US EPA, OCSPP (2015-04-29). "Chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)". Retrieved 2021-07-24.
  34. ^ Betts, Kellyn S. (2007). "PERFLUOROALKYL ACIDS: What Is the Evidence Telling Us?". Environmental Health Perspectives. 115 (5): A250–A256. doi:10.1289/ehp.115-a250. ISSN 0091-6765. PMC 1867999. PMID 17520044.
  35. ^ "Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA): 1. What is PFOA and what is it used for?". Archived from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  36. ^ Hays, Hannah L.; Mathew, Dana; Chapman, Jennifer (2021), "Fluorides and Fluorocarbons Toxicity", StatPearls, Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, PMID 28613550, archived from the original on 2021-08-11, retrieved 2021-07-01
  37. ^ "Brominated Flame retardants in the Environment" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  38. ^ Ermini, Maria Laura; Voliani, Valerio (2021-04-27). "Antimicrobial Nano-Agents: The Copper Age". ACS Nano. 15 (4): 6008–6029. doi:10.1021/acsnano.0c10756. ISSN 1936-0851. PMC 8155324. PMID 33792292.
  39. ^ AshaRani, P. V.; Low Kah Mun, Grace; Hande, Manoor Prakash; Valiyaveettil, Suresh (2009-02-24). "Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity of Silver Nanoparticles in Human Cells". ACS Nano. 3 (2): 279–290. doi:10.1021/nn800596w. ISSN 1936-0851. PMID 19236062.

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