What is Cotton Rag paper?


Cotton rag paper, as the name suggests is a paper made using cotton textile remnants. There is also cotton paper, which unlike cotton rag will be made up from cotton linters. Many cotton papers today are made up either from 100% cotton linters or a mixture of both cotton linters and cotton textile remnants.

The benefit cotton rag specifically is that the fibers are typically longer than that of cotton linters which ensures that they provide additional strength and are therefore more durable. Cotton linters are pure cellulose fibers that are the byproducts of cotton processing. Even though their fibers are shorter than those of the cotton rag, they do still provide excellent strength and archival quality.

At PrintIT we stock a papers that are 100% cotton rag, 100% cotton linters, and a mixture. This enables us to provide clients with high quality archival papers across different needs and budgets.

How does cotton paper compare to wood pulp based paper?

Cotton based paper is far superior to wood pulp based paper in terms of archival quality. In simple terms, if you are looking for a print to last the test of time, then you would want to print on cotton, not wood pulp based paper.

If you have viewed an old book, print or artwork, you may have observed the yellowing effect, which is quite unique to paper made from wood pulp. This yellowing is the result of  something called lingin, the polymer that is responsible for binding cellulose fibers together.

When lignin is exposed to the environment, it undergoes oxidation, which causes it to destabilise and absorb more light, which in effect causes it to turn yellow. In order to preserve wood pulp paper you would effectively need to ensure it is not exposed to sunlight. It takes only brief exposure to begin the oxidation process and this cannot be reversed.