Why don’t currency notes disintegrate when it gets washed?« Back to Questions List

Usually normal papers like notebooks paper, newspaper are made out of cellulose. Cellulose is an organic compound that comes from trees. It is mainly used to produce paperboard. Trees are chemically broken down into their individual wood fibers. The cellulose fibers are chosen and formed into very thin sheets to create paper.


Paper used for making currency notes is thinner compared to notebook papers. Currency notes  are actually made from paper made of rags. The term ‘rag’ and ‘cotton’ can be used interchangeably. However, rag specifically refers to papers made with cotton remnants. Cotton or linen fabric is beaten to create cotton or linen fibers.

The paper used for money is squeezed with thousands of pounds of pressure during the printing process. This makes it even thinner and gives newly made bills a special crispness. Also there are tiny blue and red fibers mixed into the paper when it is made. They are made so fine so that they cannot be reproduced very easily.


The rag fibers also bond together much more firmly than fibers in regular paper. Rag fibers are basically unaffected by water, whereas cellulose fibers absorb water and come apart when they get wet. Rag fibers are longer compared to cotton linters (pure cellulose fibers) and so they provide extra strength. Hence currency notes cannot disintegrate easily even when it makes through the washing machine. 



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