TOUGH COTTON™ Technology



Consumers already know cotton for its quality and durability. That’s nothing new. Now, the long-lasting comfort of cotton is even better. Cotton can withstand even the toughest challenges—falls on the playground, climbing the trail, and dominating that sales pitch. TOUGH COTTON™ technology brings you increased durability, superior abrasion, and wrinkle resistance throughout the life of the garment. So go ahead, GET TOUGH. We aren’t afraid of a little wear and tear.



What is TOUGH COTTONTechnology?


Through everyday use and home laundering, fabrics can become abraded, causing cotton fibers to rise to the surface, weakening the fabric, and making the appearance look faded. With TOUGH COTTON™ technology, you don’t need to worry about poor performance. Fabrics treated with TOUGH COTTON™ technology offer enhanced durability—a combination of abrasion resistance, strength, and colorfastness.

TOUGH COTTON™ technology is designed for a variety of product categories, from workwear to tailored apparel, depending on the type of application. No matter the product, fabrics treated with TOUGH COTTON™ technology are made to last throughout the life of the garment.


  • Outerwear & Jackets
  • Knit & Woven Bottoms
  • Workwear & Uniforms
  • Tailored Apparel
  • Childrenswear
  • Denim
  • Canvas Accessories
  • Yoga & Activewear



How It Works


TOUGH COTTON™ technology offers flexibility with resin and non-resin formulas. TOUGH COTTON™ technology without resin uses a proprietary blend of softeners and crosslinking agents to achieve superior abrasion resistance, durability, and strength while improving fabric hand and sewability.


To achieve superior durable press properties, TOUGH COTTON™ technology uses a unique combination of resins and catalysts to form flexible bonds on the cotton to improve the fabric strength and prevent breakage.


Both formulas can be applied in fabric or garment form and can be combined with other performance finishes, such as STORM COTTON™ technology, to achieve the ultimate performance cotton garment.


  • TOUGH COTTON™ wovens are tested according to the ASTM D4966 standard.
  • TOUGH COTTON™ knits are tested according to a modified ASTM D4966 standard using a 3M™ TRIZACT™ abradant rather than wool to test against a harsher surface.



What Consumers Are Saying


  • 80% of parents feel that durability and quality play an important role in purchasing decisions for children’s clothing
  • 58% believe that “good quality” means durable or long-lasting, 23% believe it means good or strong fibers and materials, and 12% believe the garment was made well
  • 58% say that quality and durability (49%) are very important in their clothing purchase decisions
  • 77% say that better quality garments are made from all-natural fibers such as cotton

Durable Technology for Cotton That Offers Superior Performance


  • Improves strength, durability, and abrasion resistance
  • Improves wrinkle resistance with a durable press option
  • Maintains the natural comfort and breathability of cotton
  • Applicable on knit and woven fabrics
  • Lasts the life of the garment



From lightweight twills to heavy-duty canvas, TOUGH COTTON™ technology adds that extra layer of protection to any woven fabric. Snags, tears, and rips are now the least of your worries when on the mountain or the job site.


TOUGH COTTON™ technology for wovens offers significantly improved abrasion resistance compared to untreated cotton wovens. And don’t worry about that superior performance declining over time—TOUGH COTTON™ technology has you covered for the life of the garment.

U to 8x better abrasion resistance than untreated cotton for wovens.



Leave the worry at home. TOUGH COTTON™ technology makes knits stronger and last longer, no matter what you put them through. Clothes treated with TOUGH COTTON™ technology can withstand the toughest playgrounds, the most challenging obstacle courses, and tumbles off the bike. And TOUGH COTTON™ technology isn’t just for the kids—it will keep you protected and centered through the toughest yoga poses. TOUGH COTTON™ technology keeps clothes looking newer longer with improved abrasion resistance, so no need to replace clothes due to holes in the knees or elbows.




Up to 26% improvement in tear strength compared to standard DP finishes.


TOUGH COTTON™ technology goes beyond durability and abrasion resistance to offer wrinkle resistance for top and bottom weight wovens. Unlike traditional durable press technologies that may become brittle and weaken fabrics, TOUGH COTTON™ technology remains flexible to maximize comfort without any loss of strength. The durable press technology truly extends the life of the garment and keeps you looking sharp and wrinkle-free.





Cotton Incorporated’s dual technology options are a combination of our top performance finishes that offer superior quality and protection. Our TOUGH COTTON™ technology provides superior abrasion resistance, durability, and strength. The TOUGH COTTON™ finish can be combined with the TransDRY™ technology for extra moisture management benefits that reduce cotton’s absorbent capacity and move moisture away from the body to keep the wearer cool and dry. If you’re looking for a water repellent finish, STORM COTTON™ technology can be combined with the TOUGH COTTON™ technology for an added layer of protection that offers protection from moisture and dries faster than untreated cotton.


TransDRY™ and TOUGH COTTON™ Technologies



Here are a few examples of TOUGH COTTON™ technology from Cotton Incorporated’s licensed suppliers. These are just a sampling of constructions, designs, and fabrics that can be developed for your supply chain.



The TOUGH COTTON™ technology has been adopted by major brands and is commercially available through leading manufacturers around the globe. Contact one of these suppliers to implement TOUGH COTTON™ into your apparel line.


[1] Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey