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Finishing is a series of processing operations applied to a textile material to improve its appearance, handle and functional properties. Finishing applies to all of the operations both chemical and physical carried out to the fabric after production from weaving /knitting machine

To enhance the suitability of the fabric for end use. To improve appearance and sale appeal for comfort and utility. To make the fabric attractive and acceptable to the consumer several finishing processes are applied Sometimes special finishes are also applied to the fabric to make it serviceable for particular end use

To give desirable qualities to the fabric like Softness Luster Drape Dimensional Stability Crease Recovery Soil Repellence

More specifically, objects of finishing can be To improve the appearance of the fabric. To improve the feel of the fabric. To cover faults in the original fabric. To improve wearing qualities of fabric by making it shrink or crease resistant

To set garment shape. E.g. Durable Press To impart special properties to the fabric for specific end uses such as waterproofing, flame-proofing etc. To strengthen the fabric by coating or laminating. To produce novelty effects e.g. Organdie fabrics by parchmentising.

Considerations for finishing

Before Finishing: Finishes may be applied with regard to the Type of Fiber and Yarn Thread Count Method of Fabric Construction Federal Trade Commission Rulings Hand, Weight and Drapability qualities desired Anticipated end use

Further understanding is required according to the following factors Climate Conditions Work activities Sports activities Care Factors Life of Garment Construction Procedure

Finishes can be applied either directly on Fabrics or Garments

1) On the basis of end products : Aesthetic finishes Functional finishes 2) On the basis of textile processes Mechanical finishes Chemical finishes

3) On the basis of permanence : Permanent finishes Durable finishes Semi-durable finishes, and Temporary finishes

On the basis of end products



Aesthetic Finishes modify the appearance and hand or drape of the fabrics Following are the methods used for this kind of finishes:
Fulling Mercerization Napping And Sueding Plisse Shearing Softening Stiffening

Fulling is a permanent finish used on wool fabrics It is also known as milling or felting The process is a carefully controlled scouring or laundering process to induce felting shrinkage in wool fabrics The resultant fulled fabric is smoother, more compact and has yarns more tightly embedded than an unfulled fabric Woolens are frequently heavily fulled

Mercerization is one of the most important of all cotton finishes. This finish imparts luster to the cotton, increases its strength by nearly 25% and improves dye affinity, producing brighter shades than unmercerized cotton. It also enhances the hand as well as uses less dye to achieve the same depth of shade. The finish consists of treating the material while under tension with cold, concentrated sodium hydroxide solution.

Both fabrics and yarns can be mercerized, but fibres cannot. Mercerization is a permanent finish. In textiles, a chemical treatment applied to cotton fibres or fabrics to permanently impart a greater affinity for dyes and various chemical finishes. Mercerizing also gives cotton cloth increased tensile strength greater absorptive properties, and, usually, a high degree of lustre, depending on the method used.

Napping is a mechanical finish in which woven or knitted fabrics are passed against rotating, bristled wire-covered brushes. This action results in fibres actually being raised from the fabric. The overall effect is a fabric with raised fibre surface. Napped fabrics provide better insulation than the same materials unnapped because they can entrap more air. Hence, their wide use in blankets, sleepwear and winter clothing. The low resilience of these fibres causes premature flattening of the fibre nap.The nap can partially be restored by frequent brushing.

Mechanical finish similar to napping. Fabric is passed against rotating cylinder covered with sandpaper. Produces a soft, suede like surface on the fabric.

Plisse is a permanent finish, produced on cotton by the action of sodium hydroxide The fabric shrinks only where the sodium hydroxide is applied, producing a puckered effect. Sodium Hydroxide paste is printed as stripes / checks or any other pattern. Mainly used for Cotton / Rayon Usually do not require ironing

Shearing is a process used to cut off surface fibres on fabrics. It makes uniform the surface of napped fabrics. Most cut pile fabrics are also sheared to provide uniform pile height

To impart softness, smoothness and flexibility. According to ionic nature softener can be classified into: Anionic softener Cationic softener Amphoteric softener Non ionic softener Among them, cationic softeners are mostly used because most of the textile is anionic in nature. Therefore cationic softeners have a god affinity towards textile fibers

Softening of fabric gave a more pleasant hand and to provide better drapability. Fabric softening may be accomplished by either mechanical or chemical finishing procedures. In Chemical finishing the most effective and widely used are Silicon compounds which are durable. This finish is applied by pad method and dried.

To impart hard or stiff handle it is necessary to apply a softening agent . For stiffening treatment the following chamber chemicals can be used. Starch or modified starch Polyvinyl acetate(PVA) Polyethylene Emulsion Stiffening of fabrics may be done by any of several chemical finishes, all applied by Pad and either dried or cured.

Starch of various types is widely used as a stiffening agent. Fine yarn, sheer cotton fabrics can be finished to be both stiff and transparent. The process, called Acid Stiffening, involves the rapid immersion of a fabric in a Sulfuric Acid followed by immediate neutralization in Sodium Hydroxide. For eg: Organdy

Functional Finishes improve the performance properties of the fabric like durability, strength etc Following are some of the functional finishes :
Antimicrobial/Antiseptic Antistatic Crease resistant Durable Press Flame Resistant Mothproof Shrinkage Control Soil Release Water Proof/Repellant

The garments / fabrics should be treated with some specialty chemicals, which can restrict the growth of these micro organisms. Antimicrobial finishing is one of the special types of finishing given to the textiles where the chances of bacterial growth are high and the safety is paramount. Antimicrobial treatment on the undergarments controls the growth of the microbes on it,

Maintains hygiene and freshness, stops bad odor. Controls or eliminates microbial staining. Improves life of the articles wherever it is applied. Improves hand of most of the fabric. Eliminates the chances of disease transmission. Effective on any substrate like cellulose, synthetics as well as their blends and any surface other than textiles.

Static electricity is created when two non-conducting surfaces, such as synthetic textiles, rub together. The two surfaces become oppositely charged and as the rubbing continues, an electrical charge will build up, increasing in strength (voltage) until it can be discharged by contact or close proximity with a conducting surface such as a metal radiator or door handle. Static electricity also causes fabrics to cling, when two layers of clothing rub together, causing discomfort.

Crease resistant finishes are popularly known as CRF finishes. They are used on cotton, rayon and linen because these three fibres wrinkle easily. CKF finishes are resin finishes; the fabric is saturated with resin and then the resin is cured at temperatures of about 360F. The fabric becomes stiffer, less absorbent and more resistant to wrinkling. Resin treatments also results in tensile strength loss and reduction of abrasion resistance in cellulosic fibres. Most CRF finishes are durable.

There are 3 basic system through which the objectives are attained By heat setting of thermoplastic fibers By resin treatment and curing in fabrics of Cellulosic/polyester blends and of 100% cellulosic. By liquid ammonia process for 100% cellulosic Fibrics.

Flame retardants are chemicals, which are added to combustible materials to render them more resistant to ignition. They are designed to minimize the risk of a fire starting in case of contact with a small heat source such as cigarette, candle or an electrical fault. If the flame retarded material has ignited, the flame retardant will slow down combustion and prevent fire from spreading to other items.

Since the term flame retardant describes a function and not a chemical class, there is a wide range of different chemicals, which are used for this purpose. Wax and salt solutions are used for these types of finishes. However, they can not stand laundering but are resistant to dry cleaning.

Mainly applied for Wool and Wool Blends; Chemical finish, Permethrin It is applied at the scouring or dyeing stage; Semi Durable Finish => 15 20 launderings The prime requirement of mothproofing agent is that it to be toxic to moths and beetles that attack wool, but it must not be toxic to human beings at concentration levels used for mothproofing.


Soil release finishes in fabrics permit relatively easy removal of soils (especially oily soils) with ordinary home laundering. Helps in making the fibre more absorbent (hydrophilic), thus permitting better wettability" for improved soil removal. Most soil release finishes are applied at the same time that the resins are applied to textiles.

Most are durable through 40 to 50 launderings and are routinely applied to fabrics for work clothes and table cloths. These include: improved antistatic properties, improved fabric drapability and somewhat greater comfort in hot weather.

As opposed to waterproof fabrics, these fabrics are porous for allowing body perspiration to escape and therefore are more comfortable. Some fibers such as nylon and polyester do not readily absorb water where as other fibers such as cotton and rayon can absorb water easily. The fibers of water absorbent fabrics are preferred for making items such as rain coats.

As the time of water resistance differ, the garments too differ in their properties. The shower-resistant garments are effective for light rains only and rain-resistant garments for moderate rains where as storm-resistant garments can resist water penetration for many hours and are suitable for heavy rains. There are generally three types of finishes given to water repellent fabrics. These are nondurable, semidurable and durable finishes.

On the basis of permanence


Semi Permanent


Finishes according to durability

Permanent finishes can be referred to as those finishes which sustain their characteristics for extended periods of time for a larger part of the life of fabric or garment. Following are its types : Sanforising Resin Finish Water Proof Flame Proof

Sanforising allows to prevent the cotton from shrinking when washed. It is carried out by compressing the cotton to reduce its shrinking capacity . A sample of fabric is measured, the measurements are recorded, and the fabric is laundered such a way as to produce maximum shrinkage. The shrunken fabric is measured, and percentages of warp and weft shrinkage are calculated. This indicates the processor the amount of compression to be given to the fabric.

For giving a hairy surface to a fabric, several methods are adopted for pulling fiber ends to its surface. This fabric is then known as raised fabric. It is different from pile construction ( such as tufting) which is woven or knitted with extra yarns placed on the fabric. Some of the methods of raising are Napping, Sanding, Gigging and Tigering.


A Finishing on the fabric is said to be semi permanent finish if it is stable to more than 5 to 10 washes and not afterwards. Following are its types : Schreiner Calendering Buckram Finish

A finish which is not stable and goes off after the first wash is known as temporary finish These finishes disappears during subsequent washing and usage Following are the types of temporary finishes : Calendering Embossing Starching Softening

Calendering is done to add luster to fabrics. Calenders are heavy machines made up of at least two rollers that can go upto seven in number. It is done to get a deep hairy surface. The fabric is passed under a roller having fine steel wires with small hooks on the ends. It produces a soft fabric with air trapped in the cells lending warmth to the fabric

Calendering is done for: Smoothing the surface of fabric Increasing the luster of the fabric Closing threads of woven fabric Improve the handle of the fabric Surface patterning by embossing To compress the fabric and reduce the thickness To reduce yarn slippage To reduce the Air Permeability of the fabric by changing its porosity

Through embossing, raised figures or designs are produced on the surface of the fabrics. This is done by passing the fabric between heated engraved rollers. This process can be applied to all the fabrics except wool. When the process is combined with certain chemical resins, the embossing becomes permanent.

On the basis of textile processes

Chemical Finish

Mechanical Finish

Mechanical finishes
Mechanical finishes usually involved specific physical treatment to a fabric surface to cause a change in fabric appearance. This is also known as dry finish. Some of the types of mechanical finishes are : Calendering Raising Sanforising Milling

Chemical finishes
Chemical finishes are usually applied to fabric by padding followed by curing and drying. These are also called as wet Finishes. Following are types of chemical finishes : Stiff and transparent Flame Retardant Soil Release Water Proof Crease Resistance Softening

Classification of Finishes
Aside from the previously mentioned, finishes can also be categorized as: 1. Regular Finish & Special Finish 2. Internal Finish & External Finish

Classification of Finishes
Regular finishes are frequently applied to most fabrics like calendaring. Special finishes change, alter or modify the behavior of the fabric. Internal finishes are applied by the absorption within the fiber. External finishes are additives to coat the surface of the yarn or fabric.