Cotton is something billions of us use and likely won’t think too much about – but we really do rely on it! It’s warm, it’s comfy, and believe it or not, it’s complex. The cotton industry is absolutely massive – and without it, we’d be stuck with much less comfortable clothing, bedding and more besides! Here are some fun facts about cotton to help clue you in.
1. Cotton keeps people working.
Cotton is a huge employer – it’s said that upwards of more than 100 million different people are employed in the picking and production of cotton somewhere in the world. It’s an industry that’s always growing, too.
2. It’s a natural resource.
Cotton comes from a plant – the cotton plant, funnily enough – and it can take up to half a year for a plant to start fully producing the good stuff! Did you know that the same plant also grows seed for animal feed, too? It even provides cottonseed oil.
3. We’ve used cotton for thousands of years.
Cotton’s been a part of our global industry for what many believe to be millennia. Did you know, for example, that there’s evidence suggesting we were using and wearing cotton fibers as far back as 3,000 BC?
4. Cotton doesn’t just grow in one place.
It’s possible to find cotton growing all over the world. Many adore Egyptian cotton in particular, for example, because it’s extremely long in growth – making for softer padding. However, you’ll also find cotton plantations in North America, too.
5. Is cotton always white?
Cotton isn’t always naturally white – it has various waxes removed during production to help give it that classic look. However – as we’ll soon discuss – cotton can take on many different colors beyond the classic white, too!
6. Soft yet strong!
Believe it or not, cotton is extremely strong and will normally bear a massive weight. It’s said that you can soak cotton more than 30x its bearing weight and it will bounce back.
7. Cotton bales are seriously heavy!
A bale of cotton, on average, will weigh around 500lbs – that’s 227kg! Heavy stuff indeed – it’s all to do with how much it compacts.
8. Is cotton evolving?
The cotton plant has actually evolved massively over the years. Weirdly, it’s all in the DNA! Modern cotton plants, for example, are said to have double the chromosomes they originally grew decades ago – strange stuff, indeed!
9. Cotton’s sometimes multicolor.
As mentioned, waxes are removed from cotton to give it a white look. However, did you know that cotton also arrives in pinks and greens?
10. Trading in cotton?
11. Cotton even grows in space!
Chinese astronauts have been able to grow cotton on the Moon. They planted seeds in the rock and found that cotton was sprouting some years later!
12. India is a leader in cotton.
India remains the leading name in cotton production worldwide, with almost 5.8 million tons of the supply leaving their industry. The US is in second place on almost 4 million tons, with China and Brazil not too far behind.
13. Cotton’s popular for many reasons!
Cotton remains a popular choice for clothes and bedding thanks to the fact that it’s naturally hypoallergenic, and that it can conduct heat.
FAQs about Cotton
What is cotton actually made of?
Cotton is technically made from up to 90% cellulose - it’s a substance that emits from certain plants. The rest is largely water!
Can you eat cotton?
No - cotton seeds are poisonous - it’s advised that you avoid eating cotton in any form! However, some reports show that edible cotton may have been engineered!
Is cotton a fruit?
The cotton we use in clothing and bedding isn’t considered fruit, however, the cotton plant does bear what we’d scientifically refer to as fruit - specifically, the green bolls that you may occasionally see growing on the plant.
Do you know any interesting facts about cotton? Share them in the comments below!