Prevent Lint Contamination

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Prevent Lint Contamination (135K PDF)
More in-depth information about preventing lint contamination.

Clean cotton means satisfied customers! Protect your cotton fiber, and you will preserve your markets!

Foreign Material

Foreign material can contaminate seed cotton and lint, resulting in blemished finished goods.

Contaminated ShirtU.S. cotton producers are competing with man-made fibers and foreign cotton in today’s global marketplace. In this highly competitive business environment, one of cotton’s greatest attributes - its pure, natural quality - can be degraded by a variety of adulterants. Non-cotton impurities such as plastic, nylon, oil and grease can impair producers’ relationships with textile manufacturers, undermine promotional activities and threaten U.S. cotton’s excellent reputation.

Contaminants can end up in finished yarn and fabric products, resulting in defective fabrics and clothing seconds sold at a fraction of their original value. Tainted products are costly to textile manufacturers and undermine consumer appeal. Spinners carefully calculate which raw materials they can blend to produce yarns and fabrics that satisfy their customers. There’s no room for contaminated cotton lint in that mix.

Potentional Sources of Contamination


  • Module covers and netting
  • Tie-downs - plastic twine, cordage or rope
  • Irrigation ditch liners
  • Discarded tote bags - roadside debris


  • Black picker doffers

Grease and Oil

  • Harvester and ginning lubricants
  • Oil-based wetting agents and spray-on additives

Other Materials

  • Insect residues - honeydew, fungi and mold
  • Rags, clothes, hats and similar materials
  • Machine parts, wire, bearings, bolts, bushings, wood and other foreign objects
  • Excess moisture - seed cotton and lint
  • Spray paint
  • Inferior bale packaging materials

  • Torn Module CoverRemove plastic irrigation pipes, irrigation ditch liners and foreign materials from fields before harvest.

  • Inspect, repair or discard worn or frayed module covers.

  • Use cotton cord or rope, never use plastic twine for securing module tarps.

  • Remove module covers and tie-down materials completely before ginning.

  • Insist on non-contaminating doffer and moistener pads - never use black doffers.

Grease and Oil
  • Keep Plastic out of machinery

    Properly Adjusted Doffers
    Follow picker manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Service pickers daily. DO NOT OVER-LUBRICATE! Wipe excess grease from fittings and housings.

  • Clean picker heads and assemblies at least once a week to remove lubricant build-up. Keep pickers and strippers in good mechanical repair.

  • Use only water or picker manufacturer-approved wetting agents in the moistening system.

  • Never use motor or diesel oil in moistening systems.

  • Replace worn machine parts, such as spindles, moistener pads, doffers, bearings, bushings, springs and rails.

  • Adjust spindle/doffer clearance to factory specifications.

Other Materials
  • Push Broom with ContaminationScout fields and control honeydew producing insects such as aphids and whiteflies.

  • Keep fabrics, like articles of clothing, away from seed cotton and gin machinery.

  • Monitor moisture during harvesting, ginning and storage to optimize drying and moisture conditioning.

  • Monitor at bale press for foreign objects such as metal parts and wood.

  • Use only non-contaminating module and bale markers.

  • Use only packaging materials approved by the USDA.


This web page is based on the best information available and is offered as an educational service for the benefit of the U.S. cotton industry. This web page is in no way intended to be an endorsement of any product or manufacturer. The National Cotton Council, National Cotton Ginners Association and USDA-ARS cannot be held responsible for problems associated with lint contamination.

To the best of our knowledge the list of potential sources of contamination describes the major kinds of contaminants. In any growing area, there are other sources of potential contaminants, both natural and man made, that should be identified and removed prior to harvesting and ginning. Persons involved in harvesting, ginning, storing and transporting both seed cotton and cotton bales should be aware of all potential sources of contamination.

Contact Information

Published by the National Cotton Council
in cooperation with National Cotton Ginners and USDA ARS Cotton Technology.

Copies of this brochure are available from:
National Cotton Council
Technical Services Department
P.O. Box 820285
Memphis TN 38182-0285