Impact of Water in Textile Wet Processing

Water is the most important of the compounds. It exists in large quantities in nature. Water is the very essential element in the textile industry. At present this industry can be said to be useless without water. Wet processing in the textile industry is impossible without water. Although there are several methods of waterless wet processing now, but all of them are very expensive.

What is Wet Processing?
Textile wet processing is the process of making fabrics through periodic processing of water and various chemicals on textile products (fibers, yarns, fabrics) obtained from weaving. Any wet processing requires a lot of water. But due to the presence of various contaminants in the natural water i.e. metallic, salts, this water cannot be used directly in this processing. So it is necessary to purify the water before using it in wet processing.

water in textile processing
Fig: Water in textile processing

Types of Wet Processing Process:
Wet processing processes are briefly divided into four main parts. That are :

  1. Pretreatment
  2. Dyeing
  3. Printing
  4. Finishing

Pretreatment means a preparatory process. This is the method that takes place in a textile chemical factory before dyeing cloth, yarn or fiber. The main purpose of the pretreatment process is to make the textile product suitable for dyeing.

This is the process of dyeing fibers, yarns or fabrics with various chemicals and other auxiliary substances by penetrating them with water.

According to the design, the process of highlighting the space, especially the color of the fabric, is called printing. This means to color the space according to the particular design. There are many ways in which colors can be enhanced.

After dyeing and printing the fabric, finishing is the method used to make the fabric shiny, smooth, shiny, beautiful, soft and above all to make it attractive to the buyer.

Impact of Water in Textile Wet Processing:
The importance of water for wet processing in textile industries is immense. In many parts of the world, without water, wet processing is done through foam. But it is very expensive to complete the work of wet processing through it. So water is still important in this process. But not all types of water can be used. Quality water must be used for wet processing. Due to the remarkable strength of this, various substances are mixed in the water. So no one other than the rain water of nature is usually found in pure state. But every step of the wet processing process like dyeing, printing, scouring, desizing, bleaching and finishing etc. must ensure the use of pure water i.e. quality water. Only by using this quality water can all the processes of wet processing be completed properly. The use of quality water can save time and labor on the chemicals used in the processes. In addition, the financial costs of the industrial establishments are under control. As a result of using quality water, industries can become more profitable.

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In addition to wet processing, water plays an important role in the textile industry. Such as:

  1. 85% of water is used for textile dyeing. 5.9 trillion liters of water is used every year for a single fabric dyeing.
  2. The amount of water required to grow cotton for a T-shirt is equivalent to the amount of water used by a human being for about three years.
  3. It takes about 8183 gallons of water to cultivate the amount of cotton needed to produce just one pair of jeans pants.
  4. About 2.6% of the water used worldwide is used in textile mills. It is estimated that the textile industry needs about 2.4 trillion gallons of water per year for dyeing.
  5. The fashion industry relies entirely on water for textile and garment manufacturing processes. It takes an average of 10,000 liters of water to grow just one kilogram of raw cotton, with cotton being used to make one-third of the textile produced worldwide (and it represents 90% of the natural fibers used).

Quality of Water Used in Textile Wet Processing:
The following qualities of water used in wet processing must be fulfilled.

  1. The water used for textile wet processing should be mild or soft.
  2. The water should be free of bicarbonate of metals like calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), iron (Fe) etc. and sulfate and chloride of calcium, magnesium and aluminum.
  3. Water should be free of ammonia and ammonium compounds.
  4. The water must be free of dissolved compounds.
  5. It must be free of insoluble or floating matter.
  6. At normal temperature water should be pure, colorless, odorless and tasteless liquid.
  7. Water must be free of hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and other dissolved gases.
  8. Water will have properties that evaporate at a temperature of zero degrees Celsius (O°C) and evaporate at a temperature of one hundred degrees Celsius (100°C).
  9. And the highest concentration of pure water at four degrees Celsius (4°C).

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Wet processing is an important step in textile processing. Over the ages, the textile industry has been a major contributor to economic development and civilization. And the use of wet processing in the textile industry which is related to water. However, we need to focus on reducing water use, reusing water and purifying water. However, sadly, due to the lack of clear policies in this regard, many industries are still operating despite the lack of proper water management outside the rules and regulations. It is our hope that the government and the non-governmental organizations will take more stringent, vigorous and effective measures to address the water crisis in the near future.


  1. Water in Textiles and Fashion: Consumption, Footprint, and Life Cycle Assessment Edited by Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu

Author of This Article:
Nazifa Tabassum
Dept. of Clothing and Textile
Govt. College of Applied Human Science, Dhaka

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