Textile chemist

Textile chemist article illustration


A textile chemist is a specialized professional who applies scientific principles to the development, testing, and production of textiles and fabrics. These professionals work to enhance the properties of textiles, improve manufacturing processes, and ensure the quality and functionality of textile products.

Textile chemists typically perform the following tasks:

  • Analyze the chemical and physical properties of fibers used in textile production, including natural fibers like cotton and wool, as well as synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon.
  • Develop and optimize dyeing and finishing processes to impart color, texture, and desired properties to textiles, ensuring colorfastness, durability, and comfort.
  • Design chemical treatments to enhance the performance of textiles, such as flame retardants, water repellents, or anti-microbial finishes.
  • Implement quality control measures to assess the quality and consistency of textiles, conducting tests for strength, shrinkage, color matching, and other properties.
  • Improve manufacturing processes for textile production, aiming for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability.
  • Conduct research to explore new materials, chemicals, and technologies that can enhance textile properties, keeping abreast of advancements in the field.
  • Ensure that textile production processes adhere to environmental regulations and sustainable practices, minimizing environmental impact.
  • Collaborate with production teams, textile engineers, and other professionals to troubleshoot issues, optimize processes, and introduce new technologies.
  • Contribute to the development of innovative textile products, such as performance fabrics, smart textiles, and environmentally friendly textiles.
  • Investigate and analyze defects in textiles, identifying root causes and implementing corrective measures.
  • Maintain detailed records of processes, formulations, and testing results, ensuring compliance with quality standards and regulatory requirements.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to textile chemist:

textile chemical technician
textile chemical supervisor
textile colour formulator
textile chemist and colourist
textile chemical coordinator

Working conditions

Textile chemists may work in laboratories, manufacturing facilities, or research and development departments within the textile and apparel industry. The role involves a combination of laboratory work, collaboration with production teams, and staying informed about industry trends.

Minimum qualifications

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in chemistry, textile chemistry, or a related field is typically required. Practical experience gained through internships, research projects, or entry-level positions in textile chemistry is valuable. Knowledge of textile manufacturing processes, chemical analysis techniques, and quality control methods is essential. Continuous learning and staying updated on advancements in textile chemistry contribute to ongoing professional development as a textile chemist.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Textile chemist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Textile chemist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to textile chemist.

textile quality manager
textile colourist
textile product developer
textile, leather and footwear researcher
textile technologist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of textile chemist.

  • Health and safety in the textile industry: The requirements, rules and applications of health and safety measures in the textile industry.
  • Dyeing technology: Processes involved in textile dyeing using different dyeing technologies. Also, addition of colours to textile materials using dye stuffs.
  • Textile chemistry: Chemical processing of textiles such as the reactions of textiles to chemicals.
  • Research and development in textiles: Development of new concepts through the use of scientific and other methods of applied research.
  • Textile technologies: Textile technologies to design, manufacture and evaluate the properties of textiles.
  • Properties of fabrics: The influence of chemical composition and molecular arrangement of yarn and fibre properties and fabric structure on the physical properties of textile fabrics; the different fibre types, their physical and chemical characteristics and different material characteristics; the materials used in different processes and the effect on materials as they are processed.
  • Textile printing technology: Addition of colour partially, according to the designed pattern, onto textile based materials. Processes for adding coloured patterns onto textile materials using printing machines and techniques (rotary of flat bed screen printing or others, heat transfer, inkjet, etc.).
  • Textile finishing technology: Processes used for changing the properties of textile materials. This includes operating, monitoring and maintaining textile finishing machines.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of textile chemist.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of textile chemist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of textile chemist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Manufacture man-made fibres: Perform the operation, monitoring and maintenance of machines and processes to manufacture man-made fibers, ensuring that the product meets the required specifications, keeping efficiency and productivity at high levels.
  • Develop textile colouring recipes: Develop recipes for dyeing and printing processes of textiles.

ISCO group and title

2113 – Chemists

  1. Textile chemist – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Terri Bleeker on Unsplash
Last updated on March 3, 2024