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Permanent Press

A Complete Explanation of the Process of Permanent Press

Permanent press fabrics are chemically treated to get the wrinkle-free effect. To know more on how these come about and how to maintain them well, go through the following sections.
Pushpa Duddukuri
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Wrinkled shirts are a nightmare which haunts every office-goer, especially when he or she has to get ready to go to work. Hastily ironing shirts, having breakfast in a jiffy, dashing to the car becomes the daily routine, but then you get stuck in the traffic too; and after patiently honking for what seems like hours, you finally reach your destination for an important business meeting, only to find creases all over the shirt. All your efforts go down the drain when you are less than your best self on such a crucial day. Well, thanks to wrinkle-free shirts, you can rescue yourself from such a predicament. Its credit goes to a process called permanent press.
The Process
This is a chemical process where fabrics are chemically treated to prevent the wrinkles from forming at all, thus holding on to their shape. As the effect of this treatment is long-lasting, the chemicals in it are quite strong, leaving the fabric weak and prone to tearing. Hence, thick or good quality fabrics are preferred for such a treatment. The chemicals used in it are usually the simplest forms of alcohol, mainly methanol.
During the mid 19th century, a religious sect called the Shakers manufactured a cotton which was chemically treated to give a wrinkle-free look. Later, a scientist and inventor named Ruth Benerito made some significant contributions to the textile industry by developing a modern process called permanent press based on methanal (formaldehyde).
After some years, this chemical was replaced by DMDHEU for treating garments to get a wrinkle-free effect. When nano-technology came into the picture, it was also used in the textile industry to solve the wrinkle problem. In this technology, tiny molecules attach themselves to the fabric (unlike the formaldehyde treatment where the chemical was coated on to the fabric), leading to clogging of the pores of the fabrics. The nano technological process leads to lesser health risks than the earlier methods.
This term is also referred to a method of washing clothes. Those clothes which are labeled as permanent press are meant for the dryer of this specific function.
Essentials of the Cycle
A button with this same name is a regular feature on washing machines nowadays. If you wash your clothes in this wash cycle, you will notice that the agitation level in the cycle is less than the regular wash which leads to minimum or no wrinkles. In this cycle, moisture is added to the clothes in order to maintain their moisture content and minimize the wrinkles. After the wash, a cool down rinse cycle follows.
But this feature might differ in some new washing machine models. The temperature required for this wash cycle is "cold", and after the washing is done, it is required that you set it on the drying function. Go for this dryer only if you are washing fabrics or synthetic clothes that are labeled so. A permanent press cycle in the dryer is especially made to resist the wrinkles in the man-made fibers. It begins with a normal temperature but cools down at the end of the cycle.
The textile industry has come a long way from weaving and spinning. With methods like permanent press around, there are going to more comfortable and convenient fabrics for us to use. Since washing clothes on a laundry day is hardly a dreaded task anymore, I guess your morning blues especially regarding wrinkled garments are over.