The mercerisation process for cotton, flax and hemp yarns
Mercerisation is a process that is applied to yarns and fabrics mainly made of cotton.
This process was invented in 1851 by the English chemist John Mercer, from whom it takes its name, and subsequently improved by H. A. Howe.
Improved sheen with the yarn mercerisation process
The yarn mercerisation process uses a caustic soda solution to give yarns greater strength and sheen.
Caustic soda changes cotton fibres from flat to cylindrical, so they reflect light better and give the cotton a very shiny effect.
When used on dyed yarn, this treatment will give intense shades and improve colour durability.
The best cottons for mercerisation
Mercerisation can be applied to yarns or fabrics.
However, not all cottons are suitable for this type of treatment: fine cottons such as Egyptian Makò and Caribbean Sea Island are those that give the best results, reaching a high degree of sheen.
See the other processes
Find out about the other types of processing to choose the textile fibre that best suits your needs.