Product Compliance Resources provided by ProductIP


Wrinkle finishing of textiles

Disclaimer: This document provides guidance and is not a legally binding interpretation and shall therefore not be relied upon as legal advice.


A wrinkle, is a fold, ridge or crease in clothes or garments. Sometimes wrinkles are intentionally added to create a "look" but more often wrinkles are not desired and fabrics are treated to become "wrinkle-free".
In both cases chemical finishing techniques are applied to the fibers or fabrics.
Wrinkle finishing comprehends the following steps:

  1. Textile finishing chemicals/agents are applied to the fabric;
  2. The fabric is pressed, clamped and heated (curing) during a certain period of time;
  3. The fabric is released with the desired appearance.

Typical formulations used for wrinkle finishing are formaldehyde resins mixed with wetting agents, polymer emulsions and acetic acid.

Chemical risks

Textiles that are treated with formaldehyde resins may release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde has some useful purposes with respect to textiles, but it may also cause problems. It is a potentially dangerous substance and known as a carcinogenic when used in large amounts. Too much formaldehyde in textiles can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. Some people prone to allergies are especially susceptible to formaldehyde.

Several countries have set limits on formaldehyde content in textiles which have prolonged skin contact.

On November 20, 2019 the EU published Directive (EU) 2019/1929 to restrict formaldehyde in specific toy materials. The formaldehyde content in textile toy material may not exceed 30 mg/kg.

Adding certain properties to textiles, such as wrinkle-free, means adding the risk that hazardous chemical remain present on the final product. Involve your supplier before you decide on adding properties to textiles.

For the chemical risk assessment of materials this is essential information from your supply chain.

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