Know Your Fibers: The Difference Between Cotton and Polyester

difference between polyester and cotton

In the latest installment of our Know Your Fibers series, we’re taking a look at two of the dominant fibers used in multiple industry applications: cotton and polyester. Most people know that cotton is a natural fiber and polyester is a man-made, synthetic fiber. These differences are just the beginning, however, so let’s take a deeper dive on the unique properties of these fibers and how they’re processed. Continue reading

Purification Made Simple

Purification Made Simple

After cotton is harvested from the fields and is initially cleaned in the ginning process, it must be further cleaned and prepared for its use in the production of nonwoven and unspun applications. The processes for this stage of cleaning typically involve further mechanical cleaning to remove finer pieces of stem, stalk, and leaf and extraneous field matter as well as processes to remove potentially harmful bacteria, molds, and other contaminations from the fiber. The specific technologies and sophistication of the processes used in cleaning the fibers will differentiate the product’s final level of quality and usefulness. Methods vary from supplier to supplier, some will use mechanical cleaning alone or add a sterilization process at the end. But there’s only one way to get cotton to its cleanest, whitest state that’s preferred by consumers worldwide, and that’s through a process called purification. Continue reading

Q and A: What Is Viscose? What is Rayon?


Purchasers often compare viscose rayon to cotton products. In previous articles, we’ve compared viscose to purified cotton, and we’ve also discussed false labeling claims, where viscose rayon was used instead of bamboo in fabrics that claimed to be natural.  Whether you’re a product developer or a consumer, you’re probably quite familiar with the historic strengths and advancements in cotton applications, while you may need to learn more about viscose material.

Take a look at this brief Q + A that establishes some definitions and points of contrast between all-natural cotton and its artificial counterpart, viscose rayon. Continue reading

Three Products Perfectly Suited for Organic Cotton

Though organic cotton has a long way to go before it replaces conventional cotton, it’s been riding the organic wave that was started in the fruit and vegetable section of your local grocery store. While consumers mostly come into contact with organic cotton in their clothing, organic cotton is slowly moving into the consumer products market as well. Continue reading

Barnhardt Exhibits at the 2019 IDEA Conference

Barnhardt Exhibits at the 2019 IDEA Conference

In late March, the Barnhardt team traveled to sunny Miami Beach for the 2019 IDEA Conference, the premier global event for nonwovens and engineered fabrics, two important sectors for the company’s purified cotton products.

The IDEA Conference, an event produced by the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) took place March 25-28 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The annual conference attracts more than 7,000 attendees and more than 550 exhibiting companies from over 70 countries representing nearly every continent. Continue reading

What Is a Natural Fiber?

In the world of fibers, certain terms are used loosely, especially in product marketing. The term “natural fiber” is such a term, and its meaning has been stretched in the last several years to include some fibers, such as viscose rayon, that don’t hold up well as natural fibers when submitted to credible scrutiny.


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Not All Natural Fibers Are Created Equal: The Truth about Viscose Rayon

Not All Natural Fibers Are Created Equal: The Truth about Viscose Rayon

As the earth matures and we come to grips with humanity’s role in the degradation of the environment in multiple forms of pollution and the overarching condition of climate change, it’s important that we make the right choices as individuals and companies with regard to the products we use and the effects they have on the environment.

Product choices we make for sustainability should include the clothes we wear, which are predominantly made from cotton, an all-natural product; polyester, a man-made fiber, and viscose, the subject of this article. We can safely assume that natural products have a lower negative impact on the environment than man-made products, but they are certainly not equal; furthermore, not all products perceived to be natural actually are.

Let’s take a look at viscose, and why it shouldn’t be considered a fabric choice that’s also pro-environment. Continue reading