The use of natural fibres such as cotton and bamboo are an important and growing market trend in disposable hygiene. Many consumers find purchasing and using products that contain natural materials such as these very appealing. Whether for baby care, feminine hygiene, or adult incontinence products, cotton is especially popular among consumers and manufacturers alike because of its contribution to softness. Cotton also has excellent wicking abilities which, coupled with its softness, helps to support skin health for both babies and adult users.
But there’s one important fact to keep in mind: Not all bonding methods will support the use of cotton or bamboo containing substrates. For example, those that require meltable (or partially meltable) substrates will burn these natural fibres instead of bonding them.
Derived from corn starch, PLA (polylactic acid) is another bio-based substrate which presents issues with alternative bonding methods. In the case of PLA, the difficulty comes from the difference between its melting point and those of other common substrates such as PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene). Once again, if your manufacturing goal is to use all-natural substrates, an appropriate bonding method is needed. For many, the choice is obvious: hot melt adhesives.
Another method to improve softness in disposable hygiene products is the use of bulkier substrates. These too are better bonded with adhesives than other methods, which may present operational as well as bonding challenges due their bulkiness.
An invaluable part of disposable hygiene manufacturing for decades, hot melt adhesives work well with cotton, bamboo, and other natural fibres. Adhesives do not require the substrate to partially melt. Instead, the adhesives themselves melt into the substrate fibres, creating a physical bond as they cool. In fact, natural fibres like cotton bond especially well with hot melt adhesives because of their texture. Adhesives also work with bulkier materials used to improve softness. Lastly, it may be possible to de-bond the adhesives, if the choice is to recycle or compost the substrates.
It’s simple: If you plan to use softer, sustainable substrates including cotton, bamboo, and more, adhesives are clearly the right choice.
Ask the hot melt adhesive experts
For more information on hot melt adhesives and their use in disposable hygiene, talk to our experts. With teams across the globe, we can share the latest trends—including those involving softness and sustainability—and expert solutions for your manufacturing needs.