Cotton paper

Regardless of its components, the paper making recipe involves product (wood/cotton/linen), water, and energy to create. In short, the product is cleaned with water, then sent on to the pulping process where more water is used to separate the fibers from one another. Spreading the fibers out along a moving belt of wire mesh, heat and pressure slowly removes the water. The final dry product is rolled, or calendared, and then cut to size depending on its final use.

Cotton paper is normally made from cotton linters or cotton from used cloths (rags) as the primary material source, hence the name rag paper. Cotton paper is superior in both strength and durability to wood pulp-based paper.

Certain cotton fiber paper is known to last hundreds of years without appreciable fading, discoloration, or deterioration, so it is often used for important documents such as the archival copies of dissertations or theses. As a rule of thumb, for each percentage point of cotton fiber, a user may expect one year of resisting deterioration by use (the handling to which paper may be subjected). Legal document paper typically contains 25% cotton. Cotton paper will produce a better printout than copy paper because it is able to absorb ink/toner better. Cotton paper is typically graded as 25%, 50%, or 100% cotton. Usually it can be checked by holding the cotton paper up to the light and looking just below the watermark for a number. Second-cut cotton linters have a normal average fiber length of 1.45 µm, and have similar properties as a short softwood pulp.