Cotton is recycled in these steps:
1) Garments and scraps that have been collected are sorted by color, this reduces the need to bleach or dye later.
2) Like-colored textiles are put into a large shredder to cut the fabric into very small pieces. This is called "shoddy" and is similar to the consistency of shredded paper.
3) The shredded material is combed and carded to get the fibers back to a fluff stage similar to raw cotton. This process helps to clean, soften, and organize the fibers lengthwise. If fiber for upholstery or batting is needed, the fiber is ready for this purpose now.
4) If the recycled fibers are intended to be reused in clothing, the recycled fibers are mixed with new fibers then spun into thread and multiplied to form yarns again. Due to the shredding in the recycling process, the cotton fibers are shortened, which makes them less strong. For this reason, it is optimal that only about 30% of fiber used for clothing is recycled to ensure durability.