Mercerizing is a chemical treatment process for cotton and other cellulosic fibers that improves their strength, durability, and appearance. In this process, the cotton fibers are treated with a solution of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) while under tension. This causes the fibers to swell and straighten, resulting in a more lustrous and smooth surface.
The mercerizing process also makes the cotton fibers more absorbent, allowing them to hold more dye and produce brighter and more vibrant colors. Mercerized cotton is also less prone to shrinkage and wrinkling, making it easier to care for and more durable.
Mercerized cotton is commonly used in the production of high-quality fabrics such as dress shirts, tablecloths, and bed linens, as well as in the production of high-end yarns for knitting and crocheting. It is also used in the production of sewing thread, as it has a smoother surface that reduces friction and allows for easier threading through a needle.