We investigated the chemically induced graft copolymerizations of acrylic acid (AA), acrylamide, crotonic acid, and itaconic acid (IA) onto cotton fibers. Benzoyl peroxide was used as an initiator. The effects of grafting temperature, grafting time, and monomer and initiator concentrations on the grafting yields were studied, and optimum grafting conditions were determined for the sample material. The maximum grafting yield value obtained was 23.8% for AA. Swelling tests, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy analyses of grafted and ungrafted fibers were also performed to characterize fiber properties. IA-grafted fibers were measured as the most swollen fibers, with a swelling value of 510%. (c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.