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National Institute of Fashion Technology, Mumbai

Fabric & Garment Finishing

Assignment 1
Stiffening Finish

Submitted By
1. Yash Raj Sharan
2. Yogesh Kumar
Stiffening Introduction
Classification of stiffening
Preparation Of stiffener
Steps of Stiffening
Uses of stiffener
Some Tips

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A stiffening effect is desirable in certain polyamides and polyester materials for petticoats, collar
interlinings, etc., which can be done by reducing the mutual independence of structural element of
fabric by polymer deposition on coating as a fine film. Some special
Urea formaldehyde pre condensates have been found to be useful. Application of film forming
acrylates dispersions as well as latex rubber emulsions gives a fuller effect with
sufficient stiffness.

Purpose of stiffening A certain amount of crispness in apparel and household linen gives them
a fresh look. This crisp appearance is obtained by using stiffeners. In common language we tend
to use the term starching even though the stiffening agent may not be a starch.
The reasons for stiffening are as follows:
1. To impart crispness to the fabric, this gives it a neat appearance.
2. To help keep the clothes clean for a longer time by holding down the surface fibres which
catch dust and dirt.
3. To facilitate stain and soil removal. Stains and dirt remain on the surface and do not penetrate
into the fabric.
Classification of Stiffening Agents
Category Type Name
Starches Maize or Corn, Wheat, Rice, Sago, Potato, Tapioca, Arrowroot.
Natural Gums Arabic, Tragacantth, Karaya, Locust beans, Gaur, Agar,
Glues Gelatin, Albumin, Casein
Soluble Pregelatinized, Acid modified, Dextrin, Oxidized, Chlorinated
Modified Cellulose Carboxymethyl cellulose(CMC), Hydroxymethyl cellulose,
naturals derivative Methyl cellulose, Hydroxypropyl Cellulose, Cellulose Caprylate
Gums Meyprogum, Indalca
Glues Soyabean
Synthetics Vinyl Polyvinyl pyrolidone, Polyvinyl Alcohols, Polyvinyl ethers.
Acrylic Polyacrylic acid and its derivatives

It is one of the most abundant substances in nature occurring in most plants, either as cereals,
tubers, bark or pith. Chemically it is a carbohydrate having empirical formula (C6H10O5)n.. It is
insoluble in cold and hot water but when the aqueous suspension is heated the starch granule
swell, i.e. water enter in the starch granule, the starch granuale gets hydrated and finally bursts
forming a viscous paste. This stage is reached when the aqueous opaque tarch suspension
forms a clear, translucent gel. The gelatinization Temperatures of different starches are
Starch Temperature
Potato 65-68 C
Tapioca 70-74C
Sago 72-77C
Maize 80-83C
Wheat 80-82C

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Rice 80-83C

The largest amount of starch is from maize and is available as cornflour. Corn starch is
manufactured by soaking corn in warm water, to which sulphur dioxide is added and is allowed to
stand for two days. The kernel softens. It is then separated from the germ (or the inside portion).
The kernel is then ground and sifted. The starch is separated from gluten (protein), filtered,
washed, dried and packaged.
Wheat starch is prepared by kneading wheat flour into a dough and then washing out the starch by
a stream of water. This is then filtered, dried and packaged.
Rice starch is made by soaking the grain in an alkaline chemical which dissolves the gluten
leaving behind the starch. Rice grain is steeped in dilute ammonia or sodium hydroxide solution to
soften and disintegrate it. It is then ground to a very fine paste. This is washed and separated by
centrifugation. The process of Washing and centrifugation is repeated several times to obtain pure
starch. This is then dried and packaged.
Potato starch is used to a great extent in the manufacturing consists in mashing or rasping the
thoroughly washed potatoes. The pulp is then washed a number of times to remove the free starch.
The wash waters are centrifuged. The starch obtained is further refined by washing and
sedimentation. It is then dried and packaged. Arrowroot and tapioca starch are prepared in a
similar way.
For the same concentration, Potato starch has a higher viscosity than sago. The viscosity of com
starch lies between that of potato starch and sago.
Rice starch gives clothes a boardy effect. It makes the fabric firm because it has good penetration
into the cellulosic fibre. It is less affected by humidity than other starches and hence it is of great
interest in the laundering industry. Potato starch does not penetrate much into the yams of the
fabric. It coats the surface of the yarns and gives a crisp effect. When borax or wax is added to it,
it gives a soft and pliable finish with high gloss and without appreciably increasing the weight of
the fabric. Corn starch gives a crisp effect which is harsher than that of potato starch, however it is
more stable than potato starch which has to be used the same day. Sago starch gives good
stiffness, unfortunately it gives a surface film which tends to crack on folding.

Gum Arabic, also known as Gum Senegal, is the exudate of trees to various of Arabia. It is
marketed as round or irregular shaped lumps, varying in size and in color. The color varies from
pale yellow to a deep brownish red. It is slightly acidic in nature. It dissolves in boiling water to
give a sticky solution. However, to facilitate its dissolution it is preferable to soak the gum in
water overnight. Gum Arabic solution is used to stiffen silk fabrics. Tragacanth is the exudate of
leguminous plants like Astragalus Gummiferae. It is marketed as yellow to white dry, horny
scales. These swell in water giving a thick gel. Solubility is achieved by adding a small amount of
alkali. The paste is neutral. Gum Karaya is the exudate of the Sterculia tree. It is relatively soluble
in water. It is used in place of tragacanth in stiffening textiles. Ltxust bean gum occurs in the
endosperm of the leguminosae plant family it is neutral and soluble in water. Guar Gum is
obtained from the endosperm of the guar plant seed. It gives high viscosity pastes. Agar is
obtained from a sea-weed. It is gelatinous and is used mainly in food preparations.

Glues are obtained from animal hides, tendons, bones and blood. These are high in collagen.
Gelatin is a mixture of proteins obtained by hydrolysis of collagen by boiling skins, ligaments,

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tendons, bones and blood. It is purer glue. It is highly hydrophilic, absorbing up to ten times its
weight of water and forming reversible gels of high strength and viscosity. 2% gelatin in water
forms a stiff gel.

Casein is a colloidal aggregate composed of several proteins together with phosphorous and
calcium. It occurs in milk as calcium caseinate and can by a number of methods. One of the
methods consists of treating skimmed milk with the enzyme rennin. Another way of separating
casein is bringing the pH of milk to 4.7. Casein is manufactured mainly in Australia, New
Argentina and United States. Glue is manufactured from soybean. It is a vegetable glue.

Soluble Starches
These are generally prepared from com starch or potato starch. Certain heat or acid treatments are
given which makes the starch soluble, hence the name. They are also known as thin-boiling starch.
The viscosity of the paste is lower than that of ordinary starch of the same concentration.

Pregelatinized Starches : These are cold water soluble starches. Starch is cooked and gelatinized
and then dried and packaged. This starch when mixed in cold water forms a paste and can used
without having to boil.

Acid Starches: Various physical like heat and grinding are used to obtain products that swell and
form pastes with cold water. It is however preferable to pour boiling water onto this paste to
gelatinize it.
Thin boiling starches are much in use. The reason being that they can be easily prepared and used
cold. The paste is thinner than that obtained from raw starch. It has penetrating priorities. They do
not rub and scale off during ironing but also do not give as much stiffness as untreated starches.
Commercial Starches :
Many commercial starches sold in packages under various trade nanrs consist of a mixture of
different starches that have been treated to improve solubility and boiling qualities. Commercial
starches contain additives which improve the gloss, the softness, the whiteness, etc. Glycerin,
soluble oils and sulphated alcohols when incorporated into the starch increases softness and
pliability, whilst borax, coconut oil and paraffin wax enhance luster. Paraffin wax and fatty
alcohol sulphate help in emulsifying the starch. Sodium chloride, sodium sulphate or aluminum
sulphate give greater rrnetrating power to the starch. Citronella oil for perfurne, ultramarine blue
fluorescent brighteners as am included in soar brands.

Cellulosic Derivatives: These are used in the textile industry for sizing and in the preparation of
printing pastes. Hydroxyl ethyl or hydroxyl propyl cellulose can easily obtained when gelatinized
starch is treated with ethylene oxide or propylene oxide. The reactions can be shown as follows:

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Carboxymethyl cellulose, commonly known as CMC s obtained when cellulose is treated with
concentrated sodium hydroxide to get soda cellulose. Soda cellulose is then reacted with sodium
Cell OH + NaOH Cell- ONa
Soda Cellulose
Cell - ONa + Cl.CH2COONA Cell-O- CH2 COONa
Sodium monochloro acetate soda cellulose
Methyl Cellulose is prepared in similar way. Cellulose is first converted to soda cellulose which is
then treated with methyl chloride.
Cell - OH +NaOH Cell O Na
Cell- ONa+ CH3CL Cell O CH3
Synthetic Stiffeners
Synthetic stiffeners are thermoplastic resins. They are either polyvinyl or polyacrylonitrile
polymers. The compound most used for stiffening ispolyvinyl acetate. Polwinyl acetate is soluble
in water and is available as a dispersion, hich is stable in the presence of small amounts Of acids
or alkalies. Polyvinyl alcohol is obtained as a White to cream coloured powder on hydrolysis Of
polyvinyl acetate. If the polyvinyl acetate is fully hydrolysed it is soluble in hot water, but if
ipartially hydrolysed it is soluble in cold water.


The type of fabric to be stiffened and the end-use of the article will determine the choice of the
stiffener and its consistency. Table 6.3 indicates the correct stiffener and its preparation in each

1. Choose the correct stiffener based on:

a) Of fibre cellulosic, proteinic, synthetic.

b) TYF of fabric light, medium or heavy weight.

c) Colour Of the cloth.

d) Degree of stiffness required.

2. Wash the garment or article to be Ftiffened.

Use of stiffener
Stiffener Preparation and use Fabric on which used

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Starches hot Make a paste in a little cold Cotton, Linen, Rayons, (saree, duppattas, table
water water and por into water and linen, curtains etc.
cook till the solution is
translucent. Prepare to
whatever consisitency
required for light medium ,
heavy starching.
Starches cold Pre-cooked starches dissolve Cotton, Silk, Rayon(Sarre, dupattas, table
water type in the cold water. Mix to linen)
obtain light, medium, heavy
starching. Follow directions
on the package.
Gelatin Add 30gm of gelatin to 2 Silk(saree,dupattas)
cups of cold water and heart
until it dissolve. Dilute1 part
of this solution in 8 to 15
parts of hot water.
Gum arabic Add 30 gms arabic to 2 cups Silk and Wool
of cold water and heat until it
dissolve. Dilute 5 to 10 times
in hot water.
Gum Mix 20gm of tregacanth in 2 Wool, silk, & Dark cottons.
tregacanth cup s of cold water and heat
untillit dissolve. Dilute 8 to
12 times
Glue Dissolve 1gm glue in 1 cup of Wool
water by boiling. Keep the
quantity to 1cup by adding
hot wa
Synthetic Dilute ot required Wool , Cotton
Sizing consisitency and use

A small amount of borax may be added when preparing starch solution to help preserve it.
Addition of 2% boric acid acts as an antispeptic. It helps to prevent mildew forming on the
3. Prepare enough starch to cover the article or articles being starched.
Starching may done by hand or in a washer. When starching in a washer, should sufficient so
that the use is economical. Enough starch should used to produce the right degree of stiffness.
Clothes should be agitated in the starch solution for 5 minutes. Then spin clothes to damp dry
stage and line dry. The tub should cleaned after the starching is done.
4. White clothes should be starched separately from coloured clothes.
5. When hand starching several articles, sufficient starch should be diluted for each item from the
bulk Of the starch that has been prepared. Each garment or linen should be opened out well
and immersed in the starch solution, worked in it for I or 2 minutes at least and then gently
squeezed out and dried. More starch may added to the same solution thenext article is dripped
into the starch. Starch White articles first. then the coloured ones ending with the darkest
coloured clothes. It is best to turn dark coloured garments right side in so that no streaks if any
are seen. Squeeze or wring the excess liquid. The spinner Of the automatic washing machine
may be used for this.

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6. Shake the wrinkles out of the garments and articles and line dry. Starched articles may dried in
the drier but in that case the whole load should of starched items Or else items that are not
starched will take up starch as the clothes tumble in the drier. Remove the clothes from the
drier while still damp. If dried completely in the drier the starch will wear off.
7. After drying the garnments should be sprayed With water and rolled up for 30 minutes or
more for the moisture to penetrate evenly. Then iron With a hot iron. The iron should be
heated to the right ternlrrature. TOO hot an iron may cause scorching while too cool an iron
may cause sticking.
8. The iron should cleaned with a damp cloth after it cools to remove any starch that may have
stuck to the sole plate.


Nets and laces are to be stiffened with gums or glues or synthetic stiffeners Starches should not
use. Silk is stiffened with gum Arabic or gelatin. After dipping the article in the stiffening do not
wrinkle or twist. Smoothen out the wrinkles and dry in the shade. Then the garment and iron if
possible on the wrong side or using press cloth and a moderately hot iron.

Light-weight wool and wool blends sometimes need sizing. Glue solution, gum Arabic or gum
tragacanth should use. Glue solution should use lukewarm. The garment should be in this solution
and the excess glue should be wiped off with a piece of cloth. The garment should be allowed to
dry in the shade. It is then damped and rolled in a cloth. The ironing board should
Covered with a dark cover. Glue that accumulates on the iron should be
Cleaned off after the iron is cool, using cotton wool dipped in dilute vinegar.
Rayons are stiffened in a light solution of starch and are ironed while damp with the iron set at
rayon setting.
Nylon, Polyester and Acrylic fabrics may be stiffened with light starch solLflion or a synthetic
stiffener. Curtains serially need some crispness. Nylon curtains should rolled in a towel to remove
extra starch. They should then be hung and pulled into shape. Rums, if any, should finger pressed
as tie curtains dry.

When starching dark colored clothes the starch can tinted. For blacks and blues some bluing may
added; for browns, strong, clear tea rnay Kidded. Some factors to be considered in a stiffening

Some factors to be considered in selecting a stiffening agent:

1. The fabric it is needed for
2. Cost
3. Time required for preparation
4. Ready to use
5. Ease of application
6. Permanency: Starches need to be renewed each time Synthetic stiffeners last through
five six laundrings.
7. Ease of ironing.
8. Whether it contains a building and or a fluorescent brightener.

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Some Stiffening Agents Name
ECCOGEL F: This material is a proteinaceous compound designed to give stiffness and
hand to suit the desired finishes on various types and narrow fabrics.
DURABOND 650/DURABOND 655: These materials are a synthetic resin stiffener and
hand modifier, durable in nature, and designed to supply various degrees of stiffness and hand
into finishing formulations.
Ecce FINISH P-25: This material is a 25% solution for a polyvinyl alcohol designed to give
stiffness when applied to fabric. This stiffness can be made durable by exposing the treated
fabric to formaldehyde treatment to insure durability.
Ecce SELBIND FL-2-T-1 (NEW): This is a pseudo-selvage type material designed to give
edging and stiffness to light-weight knit goods. This product is rapid drying and non-
flammable for acetates and Nylons.
Ecce SELBIND THINNER: The appropriate thinners are supplied in conjunction with the
ECCO SELBIND being used.
Ecce FINISH DF-2: This aqueous solution of a substituted starch provides excellent body
and stiffness on textiles and narrow fabrics.

1. Textile finishing Chemicals : An Industrial Guide, By Ernest W. Flick
2. Fabric Care: Noemia DSOUZA
3. Chemical finishing of textiles, By W. D. Schindler and P. J. Hauser
4. Chemistry of textile auxiliaries by Dr V.A.Shenai

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