What's the Difference Between Starch and Sizing?

Alan Spielvogel |

Q: What’s the difference between starch and sizing? Can spray starch be used in place of sizing?
A: Starch is used to stiffen fabrics such as shirt collars and cuffs, while sizing is used to add body, “crispness” and “hand” to garments. Starch is vegetable-based (it’s formulated from wheat, corn or rice), while sizing is a resinous solution that can be either vegetable- or plastic-based.
Because starch doesn’t satisfactorily adhere to thermoplastic fibers such as polyester, manufacturers often blend a plastic-based sizing agent and vegetable-based starch to impart stiffness to the synthetic fibers.
Starch and sizing alike can be added during the wetcleaning or drycleaning process, or they can be sprayed onto garments during the finishing process.
When starch is applied in place of sizing, the garment can become overly stiff, crease easily and wrinkle before and during wear. Because sizing adds body to fabric, it makes garments easier to finish, reduces wrinkling during wear, and keeps pleats and creases sharp.Have a processing problem? Click here to Ask The Expert!
 

About the author

Alan Spielvogel

National Cleaners Association (NCA)

Technical Director

Alan Spielvogel is technical director of the National Cleaners Association (NCA).

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