Soft and gentle but still absorbent - Wacker Chemie AG


Soft and gentle but still absorbent

Toweling down your skin and hair should always be a soft and gentle experience, no matter how often the towel has been washed. That's possible if it has first been treated with WETSOFT® NE 750 from WACKER, a novel hydrophilic fabric softener for industrial textile finishing.

Our grandmothers and great grandmothers already wanted soft fabrics. Underwear should obviously be pleasantly soft, since it is worn next to the skin. Towels, on the other hand, require softness for functional reasons – generally, the softer they are, the more water they should absorb.

WOVEN AND KNITTED FABRICS

Woven garments were already known in ancient Egypt. And the basic principle of weaving has hardly changed at all to this day. Weavers interlace longitudinal and transverse threads – the so-called warp and weft – to form a tight, strong fabric. However, modern looms work so fast that our eyes can no longer follow this millennia-old process. Controlled fully automatically, the weft yarn whizzes back and forth on a width of up to six meters – some 800 times per minute. In next to no time, long widths of fabric are thus created, which can later be cut to size for bed linen, shirts or towels, for example. A second large material group is knitted fabric, where a loop formed by a yarn is pulled through another loop. Due to their structure, these kinds of fabrics are more elastic than woven textiles, which is why manufacturers like to use them for underwear and sportswear.

That’s why, before the chemical industry had developed modern-day textile auxiliaries, housewives used to swap tips on how to get textiles to feel as soft as possible. For example, by hanging laundry out to dry in a place where the air is not still, but moving. A gentle breeze ensures even moisture management at the textile surface and that the fine hairs are fluffed up. Condenser dryers, as commonly found in modern households, work on the same principle. Untreated laundry – especially cotton fabrics – feels hard and stiff if dried in absolutely calm air.

Cotton is by far the most frequently used natural fiber in the manufacture of household and clothing textiles. Around a third of global textile production is based on this fiber, which is obtained from the cotton plant’s bolls and consists of over 90% cellulose. To enhance its properties, cotton is often combined with polyester-based synthetic fibers to make a so-called blended fabric.

“It is often the soft feel that ultimately makes the end customer decide on a certain product.”

Thomas Funke Marketing Manager WACKER SILICONES