Moisture wicking clothing has many applications in today’s busy lifestyles. Whether someone likes to go hiking or is going through menopause, numerous people are using this type of clothing to increase their comfort. These new garments wick, or absorb, sweat caused by exertion, exercise, or hot flashes, pulling it away from the wearer’s skin. Able to be developed into multiple garment styles ranging from t-shirts and loungewear to undergarments such as bras and thermal underwear, this new technology has had an impact on sports performance and the level of comfort experienced by people who are bothered by excess perspiration. In addition, this type of clothing has also found its way into military use, improving the comfort of soldiers serving in hot climates.
How Moisture Wicking Clothing Works:
There are two basic ways in which a garment can be manufactured to be “moisture wicking.” The first is to apply a topical treatment to a garment made from hydrophobic fibers, such as polyester, to give it the ability to absorb sweat. The hydrophilic (water-loving) finish or treatment will allow this type of garment to absorb residue, while its hydrophobic (water-hating) fibers will help it to dry fast, keeping the wearer more comfortable.
The second way in which a garment can qualify is to be manufactured with an intimate blend of fibers that include both hydrophilic and hydrophobic fibers. Optimized blends of these fibers will allow the hydrophilic fibers to absorb fluid, moving it over a large surface area, while the hydrophobic fibers speed drying time. The benefit of these garments is that the moisture management properties are inherent in the fiber blend, meaning they will never wash or wear out.
How These Clothes Can be Used:
Although this comfortable, breathable clothing has historically been associated with athletes and active people working out in hot climates, the benefits of these garments have found their way into increasingly expanded uses. One of the uses that is perfectly suited to the properties of these garments is in layering, especially for activities where an individual may face sudden changes in temperature or is engaged in endurance activities where their body temperature can fluctuate over time. Most experienced hikers subscribe to a motto of “cotton kills,” highlighting cotton’s tendency to retain dampness and dry slowly, which can prompt the chills when the temperature drops. Wearing moisture wicking base layers, such as t-shirts or long sleeve undergarments can help to prevent these sudden changes in temperature by keeping wearers dry during activity. Thus, garments that were typically considered appropriate mostly for warm weather activities have found their way into a range of winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding, as well as in the gear used by military personnel throughout the world.
Additionally, these fabrics have also made their way into the sleepwear market, where a t-shirt or nightgown made from these materials can keep women suffering from menopause or anyone experiencing night sweats more comfortable.
Care of Moisture Wicking T-Shirts and Other Articles of Clothing:
Because of the particular properties they hold, moisture management clothing requires some special care. Since each garment is different, your best bet is to check the care label, which will give you specific instructions on washing and drying for your clothing. Typically, fabric softeners (including dryer sheets) should not be used on moisture wicking garments, since these products can leave a residual film on the fibers that can inhibit their properties. Additionally, it is sometimes suggested that you use a low dryer setting or hang these garments out to dry. If fabric softeners are used mistakenly, the garment can usually be saved by further washing without softeners or the use of commercially available products that remove the residue from these products. Since these garments are usually silky and soft to the touch, further softening is not required and neither is ironing.
From professional athletes and amateur sports enthusiasts to soldiers and people with night flashes, moisture wicking technologies have improved both performance and comfort, becoming an integral part of more and more people’s professional and personal lives.