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What is moisture wicking and why is it important for FR knit apparel?

Q:

What is moisture wicking and why is it important for FR knit apparel?

A:

Moisture wicking technology in apparel is the use of specific clothing fibers designed to pull moisture off the skin, transport it through the fabric, and then spread it on the surface of the fabric allowing it to dissipate.

Today's industry leading moisture wicking fabrics combine two types of fibers together: hydrophobic (water hating) fibers and hydrophilic (water loving) fibers. The moisture wicking fabric should be made up of a blend of both synthetic and natural fibers, with a superior garment typically having a blend of 55/45 synthetic/natural fiber makeup for optimal performance. With proper design, the moisture wicking fabric will:

  • Absorb sweat and moisture from the body with hydrophilic fibers
  • Push sweat and moisture away from the body with hydrophobic fibers
  • Pull sweat and moisture through the garment to the outer surface of the garment
  • Spread moisture throughout the outer surface of the garment so it can dry quickly

Moisture wicking is important for FR knit apparel because it can help improve safety on the job (read 3 Ways Moisture Wicking Flame Resistant Fabrics Can Improve Workplace Safety).

  • Staying cool in hot, humid temperatures can help prevent overheating and heat stroke (learn more in Workers and Heat Stress: What You Need to Know).
  • If the clothes you wear on the job are sticky and full of sweat, you may lose focus and concentration due to the distraction of constantly adjusting your apparel.
  • If work clothes are heavy, restrictive and uncomfortable, your fine motor skills can diminish.

Remember, not all moisture wicking garments are created equal. Pay attention to the quality of the fabric, and when in doubt, look for the 55/45 blend of synthetic to natural fibers for superior moisture wicking capabilities.

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Written by Mike Schoonover
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Mike Schoonover is Vice President of Marketing for Lakeland Industries, a global manufacturer of protective apparel. Mike has over 25 years of B2B sales and marketing experience working with a variety of safety equipment manufacturers.

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