Nylon and polyester are two of the most commonly used fabrics in the world. But when it comes to their waterproofing capabilities, deciding which one is more waterproof is not an easy task. I asked myself the same question when I first arrived to Ireland and I had to think seriously about waterproofing various items given the weather here.
Well, in this post, I’ll going to share with you everything I learnt about the waterproofing capabilities of nylon and polyester. But first, here’s a short history of nylon and polyester.
What is nylon? Nylon is a synthetic polymer that can be melt and then processed into fibers, films or various shapes. The first nylon fabric was produced in 1935. Its first commercial use was in bristled toothbrushes three years later. Nylon was then used for manufacturing women’s stockings. During World War 2, production was mainly directed towards military use, namely parachutes and parachutes cords.
What is polyester? Polyester is a polymer made out of oil used extensively in clothing manufacturing. It was first invented in 1941 and the first commercial polyester fabric was called Terylene.
Using nylon as a waterproof material
Is nylon waterproof? Nylon is not a waterproof material, it has a 4% moisture regain level. It absorbs water, therefore you cannot use it as such for waterproofing purposes. However, nylon can be used as a base for water resistant products provided that it is treated with water repellent solutions.
- CHECK THIS OUT: What materials are used for waterproofing?
Using polyester as a waterproof material
Is polyester waterproof? Polyester has a moisture regain of 0.4% which makes it water repellent up to a certain point. How long polyester repels water depends on the thread count. The denser the thread count, the more water resistant the polyester fabric becomes.
Water will initially bead on polyester, but after about 5 minutes of continuous exposure, it will eventually pass through the gaps between the threads. If you’re looking to buy polyester fabric with a high water resistance level, make sure to get a piece of fabric that has at least 700d (thread count).
Taking into account the details above, I can now answer your initial question.
Which is more waterproof: nylon or polyester? Polyester is more water resistant than nylon. While neither of these materials are waterproof, polyester has a moisture regain level of 0.4%, compared to nylon’s 4% moisture regain. In other words, polyester is more hydrophobic than nylon.
Now that you’ve got your answer, keep on reading if you’re interested in learning more about nylon and polyester.
Is Nylon good for rain? Nylon clothes can be worn on rainy days provided that the fabric has been coated with a waterproof solution. There are many other fabrics that are more hydrophobic than nylon which make them a better choice when it’s raining.
Can nylon be washed? You can wash nylon fabric separately from other fabrics using cold water and an all purpose detergent. Don’t use bleach on nylon.
Are polyester backpacks waterproof? A backpack made of non-treated polyester is water resistant. If an outer coating of waterproofing solution has been applied to it, then the backpack is waterproof.
There you have it, I hope this post answered your questions.