Softening agents are one of the finishing agents which give softness, better handle, drape, cutting and sewing qualities to fabric. Softening agents are applying on fiber, yarn, woven or knitted fabrics during dyeing process. Softening agents are applying on the materials at the last stage of dyeing process. Most of the time softening agents applies on fabric by softener machine. Various techniques are applied for softening agent application.
Requirements of Softening Agents: Following requirements should be fulfilled by a softening agent. They are-
- Physical properties of the fabric should not be affected by softening agent.
- Softening agents should be compatible with other finishing chemicals.
- It should not affect the fastness properties of dyed and printed materials.
- It should not create any yellowish problem to the fabric.
- Softening agent should not affect the depth and tone of dyed or printed fabrics.
- Softening agent should not give irritation to human skin.
- Softening agent should have strong properties on own.
Types of Softening Agents: Softening agents are classified according to their chemical properties. Softening agents are classified as the following way.
- Cationic Softener
- Anionic Softener
- Nonionic Softener
- Reactive Softener
- Amphoteric Softener
- Silicon Softener
Above softening agents are used for softening of the fabrics. The application of the softening agents depends on the types of textile materials. All of the softening agents are not suitable for all types of textile materials. Faulty selection of softener agents could be harmful for the dyed or printed fabrics.
So, we should have deep knowledge about the various types of softening agents.