Fashion & Style Clothing

What Materials Are Waterproof Clothing Made Of?

Introduction

When rainy season is around the corner, getting yourself geared for the weather is very important. While standard items like umbrellas may help you in rain, they don’t keep you dry completely. Moreover carrying them around is a big nuisance. The best way of keeping yourself dry in wet weather is by using waterproof clothing. Apart from keeping you dry during the rainy season, waterproof clothing is also used in water sports to prevent participants from getting wet. This kind of clothing is used by scuba divers, swimmers, tri-athletes and others who have to spend lot of time in water. Unlike conventional clothing the fabric in these clothing does not absorb water, this feature allows the wearer to remain in water for long hours. 

History

Waterproof clothes have been around since ancient times. The material used was natural rubber and other naturally available materials. Fabric and animal skin was coated with oil to make it waterproof. Mackintosh was one of the earliest creators of waterproof clothing. After patenting their waterproof cloth they introduced rubberized fabric coats in the year 1823. Later many more companies followed suit. There are now innumerable numbers of methods to make waterproof fabric. Use of synthetics in waterproof clothes only started after the 19th century.

Features

The material with which waterproof clothing are made up of is decided by the usage of the clothes. Conventional rain suits having waterproof jacket, trousers and shoes are made of breathable material. Therefore, although these materials are waterproof it exudes perspiration and sweat from the clothing. This type of clothing which is made from rubberized fabric or coated nylon does not allow water to pass through but allows passage of water vapor. Polyvinyl chloride or PVC is the material of choice for footwear. Normal fabric and nylon are water absorbent by nature by are made waterproof by coating them with other materials like Teflon.


GORE-TEX is another type of material that is getting very popular for its breathable nature. It keeps the wearer completely dry, warm and comfortable. GORE-TEX is one of the costliest waterproof clothing materials and is hence is used in branded waterproof clothes. Water sports clothing have a totally different need. They have to be lightweight, flexible and strong as the person wearing it has to move against the resistance of water. Hence they are made of liquid latex coated material.

Tips and comments

Normal fabrics also can be made into waterproof clothing by use of waterproofing sprays. These sprays usually contain silicon or wax. Wax based sprays are much more widely used than silicone sprays because of its long lasting effect. Wax sprays can also be used for restoring waterproof garments that have been damaged. Using such sprays can sometimes alter the color and texture of the clothing completely. So be careful before using these sprays. Irrespective of the material used, waterproof clothes need to be maintained well so they last long. To improve the properties and performance of material multi layered clothing’s are also manufactured. Such clothings have waterproof and non waterproof layers to increase its breathing and absorbing ability.

By Sia Attavar, published at 03/06/2012
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