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Scouring in Textile

Scouring is a treatment of textile materials in aqueous or other solutions in order to remove natural fats, waxes, proteins and other constituents, as well as dirt, oil and other impurities.

Scouring is a preparatory treatment of certain textile materials. Scouring removes soluble and insoluble impurities found in textiles as natural, added and adventitious impurities, for example, oils, waxes, fats, vegetable matter, as well as dirt. Removing these contaminants through scouring prepares the textiles for subsequent processes such as bleaching and dyeing. Though a general term, scouring is most often used for wool. In cotton, it is synonymously called boiling out, and in silk, and boiling off. 

Purpose of Scouring 
Scouring is an essential pre-treatment for the subsequent finishing stages that include bleaching, dyeing, and printing.  Raw and unfinished textiles contain a significant amount of impurities, both natural and foreign. It is necessary to eliminate these impurities to make the products ready for later steps in textile manufacturing. For instance, fatty substances and waxy matters are the major barriers in the hydrophilicity of the natural fibers. Absorbency helps the penetration of chemicals in the stages such as dyeing and printing or finishing of the textiles. These fats and waxy substances are converted into soluble salts with the help of alkali. This treatment is called saponification. 

Impurities 
Foreign matter in addition to fiber is known as impurities. Textile fibers contain many types of impurities. e.g.: 
- Natural impurities: Impurities gathered from the natural environment by the fibres. Natural impurities also include non-fibrous parts that are incorporated into the fiber during its growth. Notably, these are not present in synthetic fibres, which are manufactured artificially. 
- Added: Oils and waxes during spinning or knitting or weaving. 
- Accidental: dirt or mishandling, foreign contaminants.