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Chemistry around us - non-iron shirts

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What makes a non-iron shirt stay crease-free?

Very few people actually enjoy ironing. But how exactly do non-iron textiles maintain their shape, and prevent creasing? Ordinarily, cotton fibers swell during washing and fail to regain their prior form once dry. This is what causes fabric to look wrinkled. Non-iron materials, however, are treated with special products known as resins that stabilize the cotton and prevent the fibers from swelling up and creasing.

These materials do not need to be ironed – this saves energy and helps protect the environment. An added bonus of this technology is that treated cotton dries faster because it absorbs less water.

Tip

Non-iron shirts are best left to drip-dry on a coat hanger. They should then be ready to wear – if any small creases remain, they will smooth out with the effect of the wearer’s body heat.