The purpose of this experiment was to determine how the type of fabric
affected ease of stain removal.
I became interested in this idea when I was doing the laundry and realized
that stains came out better on some fabrics than others.
The information gained from this experiment would help homemakers, professional
cleaners, and large institutions like hospitals, schools, and gymnasiums
to purchase easily cleaned fabrics.
My hypothesis was that 100% cotton cloth would be easiest to remove
I based my hypothesis on observations I made while doing laundry and
knowing that most of my clothes made from cotton, they were easier to remove
The constants in this study were:
The manipulated variable was the different types of fabric, which are 100%
cotton, 50% cotton-50% polyester and 100% polyester.
The type of detergent
Temperature (cold, wash setting)
Time (70 minutes for both washer and dryer)
Stain (mixture of cranberry juice, mustard, ketchup, and chocolate syrup)
Washer and dryer (used)
Color of fabric (white)
Washer/dryer setting (delicate)
Hardness of the water
Amount of the wash water
The responding variable was the amount of stain removal.
To measure the responding variable I used a colorimeter to determine
the whiteness of the cleaned cloth.
||Bottle of Detergent
||Different Fabrics (100% and 50% cotton and polyester)
||Of each kind of fabric into 10 by 10 cm. squares
||Hunter Reflectance Spectrophotometer
1. First, cut each kind of fabric into ten 10 by 10 cm squares.
2. Next mix 350 milliliters of mustard, ketchup, chocolate syrup and
450 milliliters of cranberry juice into a large open container.
3. Place all fabric squares into stain and stir for 2 minutes. Let
sit for 15 minutes. Stir for 2 more minutes and let sit for 15 more minutes.
4. Remove fabric squares and hang on line to dry.
5. Wait for 12 hours.
6. Then put fabrics in the washing machine for 70 minutes on cold.
7. When the fabrics are done washing, carefully put all the fabrics
8.After all the cloths are in the dryer, put the same time as when
washing and set on delicate.
9.When you have set the settings for the dryer, put a bounty sheet
in, shut the door and push start.
10.When the dryer makes a loud noise, carefully take the fabrics out
and then compare each fabricís stain.
The original purpose of this experiment was to determine how the type
of fabric affected ease of stain removal.
The results of the experiment were that 50% cotton was the easiest to
remove stains from.
See the table and graph.
My hypothesis was that 100% cotton cloth would be easiest to remove
The results indicate that this hypothesis should be rejected.
Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I and other people
should by clothes that are 50% cotton.
If I were to conduct this project again I would take a lot of
notes and work harder.
Many people wonder where their clothes and other material made items that
they own are made from. They also wonder what their detergent or soap can
be used for.
Textile is a woven fabric from raw or manufactured material. Some important
textiles are cotton, polyester, rayon, wool, silk, satin, and linen. The
word textile is a genetic term "to weave" (Latin). Textiles are not only
for clothes. They can be used for other things like bedding, furniture,
blankets, rope, and even parachute material. Textile fibers can be woven,
knitted, braided, and felted. In ancient Egypt, the earliest fabric was
woven from flax.
Cotton is a natural fiber from a tall plant that is spun into yarns. It
grows soft white fibers in a fluff mass. Cotton also has strength and absorbency.
It is very important in the clothing industry. That is why most clothes
are made from cotton. Cotton is not just used for clothing. It could be
used for tablecloths, carpeting, furniture, and much more. After the cotton
is harvested, ginned, and sold to manufacturers it is turned into cloth.
Tiny shrubs of the gossypium genus produce cotton plants. In the gossypium
genus it includes hibiscus, okra, and the swamp mallow. The plant has long,
white seeded hairs called lint.
Polyester is a strong, flexible, wrinkle proof, plastic that is widely
used. The most important kind of this fabric is spun into fibers to make
film or to put together other or sculpted into parts of plastic. Polyester
is a synthetic polymer. A polymer is a long molecule. Unsaturated polyester
is also another important fiber which has unsaturated acids in it.
Researchers found the chemistry of polyester in the 1930ís. Then the aircraft
industries began to use unsaturated polyesters in the 1940ís. After that,
in the 1950ís, PET fibers became a major product.
Nylon was introduced in the 1930ís, but in the 1940ís other fibers gained
importance. Especially when Qiana came out in 1968. Qiana was a silk like
fabric that resists wrinkles, retains creases and pleats, has great color
clarity, and stays the color you want when dyed. Nylon is stronger than
silk and is used for clothing, hosiery, parachute fabric, and rope.
Wool was sold in the city of Dimashq in biblical times. Wool comes from
animals like sheep. The best wool came from sheep in Spain called Merino
sheep. When China sent silk out as "fashionable", silk outdated wool.
In 37 B.C., silk was announced in China. Emperor Huang Tiís wife found
out how to reel the silkworm for weaving. All silk fabrics or raw silk
were only exported to the Mediterranean countries for a long time. In 1620,
in the western hemisphere, attempts to dig up and grow the silkworm were
In 1664 an English scientist named Robert Hooke thought of synthesizing
a substance similar to that made when a silkworm spins into a cocoon. Two
hundred years later, in 1864, another scientist that was French, named
Count Hilaire de Chardonnet, launched a commercial production of manufactured
fibers. His process was forcing a viscous fluid through tiny nozzles called
spinnerets. In 1924, artificial silk was replaced by a more definite word
that would be rayon. Rayon was first recognized in the U.S. in 1937.
Two major processes in rayon are viscose rayon and acetate rayon.
A colorimeter, also known as a Hunter Reflectance Spectrophotometer, is
an object that uses L, A, and B scales. L measures the whiteness/darkness
scales, so if the whiter the item is, the higher the L rate will be. The
A and B scales are used to measure colors such as blue vs. yellow and red
vs. green. A colorimeter is similar to a box. There is a hole at the top
of it and the light shines through that hole. When the object you are scanning
is placed on that same hole, put the black lid over the hole. Next press
"scan". Then you will find the L, A and B value. For example: the scale
value might look like this. L=93.89 A=0.94 B=0.45.
Detergent is a cleaning product use for mainly laundry and dish washing.
A German scientist named Fritz Gunther created the first detergent in 1916.
Then during World War II, detergents came into wide use for the very first
time because the ingredient for soap was in short supply. A detergent is
a natural chemical substance made up of carbon, oxygen, sulfur, and hydrogen
Soap is a cleansing agent made by mixing alkali with fat or fatty acids
and consisting basically of sodium or potassium salts. The first soaps
were made in Italy in 600 AD. Then after 700 AD France became the main
soap maker of the world for the next numerous years. The average American
uses about 25 pounds of soap in a year or 11 kg.
Type of Stains
Some items that commonly stain fabrics are chocolate, lipstick, coffee,
ketchup, mustard, blood, grass, mud/dirt, juice, and other substances related
to those items.
Many people dislike stains on clothing. If a stain canít be removed from
a piece of clothing, then they have to buy another. People donít like doing
that all the time, especially when it was a nice piece of clothing.
" The World of Textiles " http://www.tx.ncsu.edu
Hartman, Marvis E. World Book Encyclopedia 1998 "Polyester"
World Book Encyclopedia 1998 "Cotton"
"Textile" Encarta, 1993
World Book Dictionary, 2002
"Stain Detective" Tide http://www.tide.com/staindetective
I would like to thank the following people.
Mr. Newkirk and Mrs. Helms for helping me with my project when needed.
My mom and dad for supporting and pushing me to do my best.
My friends Sam, Molly, and Katlin for helping with my project.
I would also like to thank Debbie Briesmeister at Tree Top for helping
me use the colorimeter.
Top of page
Menu of 2002-2003 Science Projects
Back to the Selah Homepag