Do your uniforms keep your employees cool or do they function more like an oven? With summer approaching, it may be time to consider whether your uniform fabric is helping or hurting your business.
We’ve all had one of those long, unbearably hot days – the kind that seems to go on forever, melt the muscles right off our bones and fry our brains. While this can often be easily remedied at home with some air conditioning, a quick shower and a change of clothes, things may not be as easy at work.
Working in hot conditions has far graver consequences than just the embarrassing pit stains and reduced productivity. Too much heat, in extreme scenarios, can strain the heart and lungs and cause painful muscle cramps.
But one of the more common, but certainly not less dangerous, consequences of working in hot conditions is reduced concentration which, in turn, raises the risk of occupational injuries and accidents. This problem is not only specific to industrial and outdoor workplaces – it is also a common problem in indoor work spaces. Aside from making sure that common solutions against heat stress are in place (i.e. air conditioning, water supply, etc.), it is important to select work clothes and fabric that keeps you cool and keeps your employees cool.
Cotton is a breathable fabric it retains moisture which makes it a poor choice if you are looking for breathable fabrics. Nylon and polyester have moisture-wicking properties and also dry quickly which makes it a fit for uniforms with breathability.
Advantages of Cotton Uniform
The world uses cotton more than any other natural fiber and it is primarily grown and used to make cloth. Other parts of the cotton plant are put to good use and are used in the production of foods, plastics and in paper products, according to the National Cotton Council of America. Because cotton is a natural product and because of the way it is designed and manufactured into clothing, it has many advantages, such as its ability to control moisture, insulate, provide comfort and it is also hypoallergenic, weatherproof and is a durable fabric.
Cotton fabric is breathable and transmits moisture away from the body and is absorbent and removes liquid from the skin, like a towel, according to Cotton Incorporated. Cotton allows you to remain comfortable as you exercise, keeping moisture from building up between your skin and clothing. The International Forum for Cotton Promotion states that cotton can take up to one-fifth of its weight in water before feeling damp.
Cotton clothing protects against from heat in the summer and cold in the winter by providing thermal insulation as the cotton fabric traps air between the fabric fibers. The cotton fibers in clothing hold the fabric away from the skin, further allowing for more air to be trapped between the skin and fabric which helps with insulation and comfort.
Cotton fabric rarely causes allergic reactions and wearing cotton is often recommended for those with skin allergies, notes Cotton Incorporated. Because cotton is hypoallergenic and does not irritate skin, it is used in medical products like bandages and gauze, and is the fabric of choice when it comes to baby clothing.
Cotton fabrics can easily be manufactured into weather-resistant garments through construction and finishing of the fabric. For example, cotton can be made into a tight, dense fabric with a weather-repellent finish to make weather resistant clothing, yet the cotton fabric retains its comfort and breathability.
Cotton clothing is soft and easily stretches, making it a comfortable fabric to wear. Due to its softness and comfort, it is often used in underwear and undershirts, according to the International Forum for Cotton Promotion.
Cotton has a high tensile strength, making it strong, durable and less likely to rip or tear. It is 30 percent stronger when wet, withstanding many washings in hot water.