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What does Mercerization mean?

An industrial process used on yarn or fabrics to increase it’s lustre and dye affinity. For fabrics used in the denim industry, mercerization can be used for keeping dye on the surface of the yarns or fabrics and to prevent dyes from fully penetrating the fibres.

Heddels Explains Mercerization

Created by John Mercer in 1844, mercerization is a chemical treatment used on cotton. In addition to increasing the fabric’s luster, it also improves its strength.

The process involves dipping the material in baths of sodium hydroxide several times to shrink the fibers and smooth the grains of the threads. Mercerized cotton is also known as pearl cotton because of its lustrous appearance after the process.

Additional Resources

Snapshot of a mercerization machine:

Raw Denim Term - Mercerization

Source:  fangzhijx.com