Cotton Incorporated has launched a patent-pending anti-wrinkle and formaldehyde-free technology that gives a durable press finish on cotton fabrics.

PurePress utilises ready-available chemistries in a combination that is said to perform as well as, or better than, conventional resins.

"Cotton Incorporated researchers are constantly looking for sustainable and innovative ways to increase the appeal of cotton to industry and consumers," explains Mary Ankeny, vice president, product development and implementation operations for Cotton Incorporated. "PurePress is a response to those manufacturers and brands that want an effective durable press finish without formaldehyde."

The natural absorbency of water into cotton can lead to wrinkles when the fabric is dried and the hydrogen bonds break and reform in different configurations. In the mid-1900s, wrinkle-resistance chemistry was introduced using formaldehyde containing resins to crosslink (or give memory to the fibres) and hold those bonds in place to keep fabric smooth.

Formaldehyde is a naturally-occurring substance found even in apples. However, some global health organisations have identified significant exposure to formaldehyde as a probable carcinogen, Cotton Inc says.

PurePress technology is said to create smoothness equal to that of conventional resins; removes by-product effects of formaldehyde; improves tensile strength, tear strength, and abrasion resistance; and does not promote yellowing, shade change, or cause odour.

Ankeny says there is an added bonus to the technology: "Traditional durable press resins incur strength losses which have not mixed well with lighter weight fabrics, but the PurePress technology works incredibly well with these finer constructions."

Cotton Incorporated is funded by US cotton producers and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, and conducts worldwide research and promotion activities to increase demand for cotton.