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The treatment of textile materials in aqueous or other solutions in order to remove natural waxes, proteins and other constituents, as well as dirt, oil and other impurities.

Note: The treatment varies with the type of fibre.

  • Cotton and flax goods are normally scoured at the boil or under pressure with sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or with lime followed by sodium carbonate (soda ash) or with a mixture of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and sodium carbonate (soda ash)
  • wool goods with aqueous solutions of sodium carbonate (soda ash) or soap or both temperatures not exceeding 50°C, or substantially neutral liquors containing a synthetic detergent in the presence of an inorganic salt
  • viscose rayon with soap and sodium carbonate (soda ash) at or below the boil
  • cellulose ethanoate (acetate) with soap and sodium carbonate (soda ash) liquors of relatively low alkalinity and at temperatures below the boil to prevent alkaline hydrolysis of the ethanoate (acetate)
  • nylon, etc., with soap and sodium carbonate (soda ash) or ammonia below the boil, although special cases neutral or acidic liquors may be used.

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The process of washing or cleansing wool of grease, soil, and suint in a water/soap/alkali solution. When scouring is done commercially, a normal fleece goes through 3 washings. During the scouring process, a fleece may loose up to 50% of its original weight.

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