If you've been reading closely, we've been talking a lot about the benefits of bleached cotton in professional spa and salon products. We know "bleached" can carry with it some negative connotations. However, bleached cotton is not only an important industry term, it's also found in many cotton-related single-use supplies. The key is understanding what "bleached" really means—which means digging in a little deeper to what happens to cotton before it comes to us, and arrives at your spa or salon's doorstep.
TCF: It's a Critical Industry Acronym
The cotton we use in our products is TCF, which is Totally Chlorine-Free. Yes, you read that right: chlorine-free, totally. Of course, when you think of "bleached," you think of chlorine. However, the key ingredient used to purify cotton is hydrogen peroxide. How do you know that's safe? Well, remember that time you fell down, scraped your knee, and then started wailing? And then your Mom came to your rescue and poured a brown bottle of stuff over your scrape and it fizzed all up and freaked you out? In hindsight, you now know she used hydrogen peroxide to clean out your wound.
Still, Let's Get a Little More Technical
Technically, TCF bleaching is “oxygen bleaching.” The hydrogen peroxide purifies and whitens raw cotton, making it safe to use for many applications, including in spas and salons. But the beauty of the TCF processing method is that it's a green method, too: it doesn't release harmful toxins the way old-school bleaching methods used to. For example, the bleaching agent is environmentally friendly since it breaks down to hydrogen and water—even eliminating chlorine in wastewater as well.
A Little Less About "How," and More About "Why"
You might be asking, "Why do you even need to use hydrogen peroxide?" While it would be absolutely fantastic to pluck cotton from the field and use it immediately, there's a technical term used in our industry to describe cotton's state when it's harvested: grody to the max. Seriously, it's gross. Since cotton is completely natural, it has approximately 650,000 colony-forming units (CFUs) within it. In other words, freshly picked cotton is filled with molds, fungi, and bacteria. That's why it has to be purified. Keep in mind it's not inherently white or absorbent, either. TCF “bleaching” does the heavy lifting here, too, ensuring ultimate safety and superior quality.
Keeping It Totally Chlorine-Free
So, let's recap: "bleached" is not a dirty word, literally and figuratively. It keeps your spa and salon products purified, which is obviously a good thing since they constantly come into contact with your clients' skin. Beyond being safe for your customers, it's safe for the environment, too. Really, that's why cotton is not only used in salon and spa products, but for a wide range of applications such as health, baby, and feminine care. Really, no fiber has a longer and stronger track record.
Want to make like Mr. Wizard and dig deeper into the scientific details? Check out our parent company's site to learn more about cotton's five-step purification process.