How to tell cotton Turkish Towel from polyester?

The material used in manufacturing determines how the product performs under various conditions. For the satisfaction of the end user, it is important that the material is suitable for the intended use of the product. If we consider the product in this article specifically as a Turkish towel, when it is to be used for various purposes such as beach towels, bath towels, wellness towels, baby blankets, seat covers, tablecloths and scarves, it is preferably made of natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, viscose and linen. It can also be made from a mixture of these fibers. The preferred and traditional material for making Turkish towels is cotton.

However, in order to reuse the cotton waste in the industry, the cotton waste is shredded and regenerated cotton threads are made by adding a certain amount of polyester. There are also factories that produce Turkish towels from this recycled yarn.

There is nothing wrong with a brand making peshtemals (Turkish towels) from regenerated cotton yarn. If the customer wants to buy peshtemals (loincloths) made of regenerated yarn, he can buy products made in this way. It is also accepted as ethical to sell by specifying the polyester and cotton ratio on the label is also accepted as ethical. For example, if it is just a product to be placed in the sand at the beach, beach towels can be made from regenerated yarn. Or if a beach bag is to be made from peshtemal, its peshtemal can be made from regenerated yarn. Because the beach bag is not expected to absorb water.

However, in practice, peshtemals made from regenerated cotton yarn may be sold to the customer as consisting of 100% cotton. This situation brings with it many unethical concerns. The brand is paying more than its worth for a product that should be sold much cheaper. Without knowing that it contains polyester additives, it sells it to the end consumer. The end consumer may not be satisfied with the product they bought when they compare it to other cotton products. Even if the end consumer does not realize it, it means that an unethical trade has been made.

How do I know if the Turkish Towel I bought has polyester?

In order to learn exactly from which materials a textile product is produced, analyzes to be carried out in an accredited laboratory are needed. 

However, there is another easy way to find out if the product contains plastic (polyester): Pull some threads from the weft and cut a few warp threads from its fringe and burn these threads. If these threads turn into gray ash when burned, then there is no polyester in it. However, if the yarn leaves a lumpy black residue like black beads when burned, it means that polyester is present in the yarn.

We would like to share this video, which shows how fibers and fabrics behave when burned, as an example. You can also watch other similar test videos to observe more different examples.:

The components of the peshtemal are warp and weft threads. Warp is a huge beam that contains hundreds of parallel wounded yarns. The peshtemal has also weft threads placed horizontally by the shuttle.

Warp test

Generally, the warp threads are spooled from one color and the same material. However, technically it is also possible to wind each warp thread from a different material. For example, you can see that many colored threads are used in the warp of some peshtemals. In this way, the multicolored warp threads are wound up to use the remaining colored yarns owned by the factory, unless they have been specially ordered. In this type of mixed warp, some of the waste yarns could have been made from regenerated yarns. If you want to test the mixed color fringe peshtemals in this way, it is recommended to cut a few millimeters of all the fringes from the ends and burn them.

Weft test

Yarns of the same material are generally preferred for the weft of the peshtemal. However, it should be remembered that in practice there may be factories that use yarns of different materials to produce different colors of the product. Pulling the weft thread from the edge of the product near the fringe is easy and does not affect the appearance of the product. However, if you pull the weft thread from the inside of the product, the place where the threads are missing will be clearly visible. For this reason, it is not recommended to pull the weft threads from the inside unless you have serious doubts. However, if you have serious doubts and want to be absolutely sure, then it is better to sacrifice a few products. Please remember that you can still use these test peshtemals. So do not throw them away, but consider using them even in the bathroom or on the beach. You can also cut them into kitchen towels or use them as floor cleaning cloths or car wash cloths.

Textiles are an entertaining and almost limitless field of production. For example, in addition to cotton thread, linen or bamboo threads can be used as separate weft threads. Or cotton and linen, or cotton and bamboo, or linen and bamboo can be combined into a single thread in a spinning machine and woven in this way. As a brand owner, you can have the production done in the factories that respond to your request and use the materials you want to have made. However, it would be a mistake to think that every factory will use every yarn. Some factories will only use yarn made from 100% cotton. Some use only yarn made from regenerated cotton. Some may use both in their various products. If your order quantity is low, it might be harder to find a factory that uses certified organic 100% cotton yarn. However, if your order quantity is high and you are willing to bear the price difference in raw material, almost any factory can supply certified organic cotton specifically for your order, dye it in the color you want, wrap a special warp, and make your Turkish beach towels, peshtemals.

Work with the manufacturer you trust

We can say that Turkey as a whole is one of the textile factories of the world. Among textile products, Denizli in Turkey is the capital of Turkish towels. In Denizli, the centuries-old peshtemal production continues in many factories. Many of the producers in Denizli export abroad and have a tradition of producing export quality goods. For this reason, we can say that most of the factories are reliable. Nevertheless, you must consider the possibility that some factories may accidentally or intentionally produce your orders with materials that you do not want.
For this reason, we wanted to inform you about this simple method that you can use to determine whether the product you are receiving contains polyester or not. We also wanted to make you aware that it may not be enough to just burn the threads out of the fringe but you should also pull some threads out of the weft too.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the surest way to find out what the product is made of and what the percentage of the blend is, if any, is through an accredited laboratory test. This means both additional cost and delayed delivery. If the customer to whom you will be delivering the product wants an analysis report from you, remember that you can have a lab analysis done.
Last but not least, a suggestion on this topic is that if you have found a reliable factory, you should appreciate it. There may be alternatives that will give you a much lower price for the same quality product. But it is in your best interest to doubt offers that are too good to be true.

Best regards,
Towel Age Team

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