100 % Cotton Thermal – Best Uses
100% cotton thermal underwear has been around since cotton was first used to make garments. Cotton is readily available almost anywhere in the world and since cotton is used to manufacturer so many different types of clothing it is produced in such large volume that it has kept the price low on cotton thread.
One of the first benefits you get from 100% cotton thermal underwear is that it is arguably the softest natural fiber you’ll ever wear. You wear thermal underwear to stay warm, but you also wear it to be comfortable and 100% cotton has always added to that comfort. Until polyester was invented, 100% cotton thermal underwear was really about all you could find.
The next benefit that you get with 100% cotton thermal underwear I already mentioned. It is a natural fiber. It is not man made so it doesn’t contain chemicals that many are allergic to.
Cotton is also warm. Cotton is not the warmest fiber out there by far, but when the thread is weaved into the right pattern, such as a waffle knit, it insulates well and will keep you very warm.
Lastly, cotton does not melt if exposed to heat, spark or fire. This property of 100% cotton is critical for someone who will be wearing it while working under flash hazard conditions. If the wearer was suddenly exposed to heat, spark or a flash fire, the cotton would not melt into their skin like a synthetic fiber would. For this reason, you’ll see 100% cotton used by fire fighters, aircraft pilots, electricians, oil workers, welders, etc.
100% Cotton Thermal Underwear – When Not To Wear
The one major drawback to 100% cotton thermal underwear is that it absorbs water really well. This is not a big deal if you won’t be very active while wearing 100% cotton thermals. But it is a big deal if you will be exerting yourself to the point of sweating. When you begin to sweat, 100% cotton quickly absorbs the sweat from your body. Cotton doesn’t dry quickly so the moisture just stays in the fabric. This feature causes a number of problems. The most concerning problem caused by 100% cotton thermals ability to absorb and retain moisture is that it can quickly cause hypothermia.
Your body produces sweat while you are exercising in order to cool your body and keep it at a normal temperature. Cotton thermals keep that sweat against your skin instead of allowing it to dissipate. Even after you stop sweating, the moisture held against your body by the cotton thermals continues to cool your body well after your body stopped sweating. Prolonged exposure to these conditions, even in moderately cold temperatures will likely cause hypothermia.
100% cotton thermal underwear also shrinks more than any other thermal. Cotton naturally shrinks when exposed to water and heat. Many manufactures of 100% cotton thermals will preshrink their product, but even with preshrinking it will still shrink after a number of launderings.
100% Cotton Thermal Underwear – Wear It According To Your Activity
When considering whether or not to wear 100% cotton thermal underwear, it is best to keep the things I just discussed in mind along with what you will be wearing the winter thermals for. If you will not be very active and you love the soft feel of cotton, then they are probably the right choice for you. If you know that you’ll be active or exposed to moisture, then you’ll probably want to stay away from 100% cotton thermal underwear and steer more towards something that is synthetic like polyester or polypropylene.