Buying a t-shirt might seem pretty straightforward; you pick the style and color you like, and that’s it, right? Well, there’s a little bit more to it, especially when it comes to the fabric.
Different fabrics will not only influence the look of the tee. The quality, feel, and breathability of the t-shirt is also entirely dependent on it.
Some fabrics are better than others, last longer, and look more stylish. Others will be uncomfortable, keep you sweating, lose shape after a couple of washes, and might even bring out skin allergies.
That’s why reading t-shirt labels and choosing the right materials is so important. Let’s talk about what t-shirt fabrics you should avoid:
When it comes to textiles, there are three types – natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic. Natural fabrics like cotton, flax, silk, wool have a natural origin, e.g., plants or animals.
Synthetic fabrics are manufactured from synthetic fibers, and semi-synthetic textiles are made from natural materials, but the fibers are made artificially.
Fabrics to Avoid
When choosing the best t-shirt materials, the ones to avoid are primarily synthetic.
Most of them do not absorb moisture well, stick to the body, and are non-breathable. They’re also often uncomfortable and can also cause various health problems such as acute skin rashes, redness, itching, allergies
Synthetic fabrics are also non-biodegradable, release tiny microplastics that end up in our oceans and not only pollute but also cause health issues to humans and animals.
They’re also treated with various chemicals such as fabric softeners, dioxin-producing bleach, formaldehyde petrochemical dyes and others to prevent shrinkage, maintain the shape or durability.
While t-shirts made from synthetic fabric are more readily available, cheaper, and sometimes easier to care for, the downsides are just impossible to ignore.
The No-No List
Always read the label before purchasing a t-shirt. If you see that the tee is made from one of the fabrics listed below, our recommendation is to put it back and keep browsing.
Acrylic. This fabric is made of petroleum and is one of the worst for your health and environment. Petroleum has been linked to cancer and other toxic chemicals that end up in nature after wear as acrylic is not biodegradable. Besides, it also piles easily and is not very breathable.
Polyester. You’ve probably already heard that polyester is not your best choice when purchasing a t-shirt. It’s s made from synthetic polymers and is terrible for our planet as it releases microfibers into the environment when washing.
It’s also non-breathable, keeps you sweating, and loses its quality pretty quickly.
Rayon. It’s a semi-synthetic fabric that’s made from recycled wood pulp and treated with toxic chemicals like caustic soda, ammonia, acetone, and sulphuric acid. We think that’s enough to know to avoid it.
Polyamide (nylon). Polyamide is non-biodegradable and pollutes the environment too. It’s made from petroleum that’s harmful to our health.
Which T-Shirt Fabrics to Choose
We understand that it might be pretty overwhelming to find out that so many commonly used fabrics are harmful to us and our planet.
But don’t worry, there are still plenty of great choices for your new tees.
While a certain amount of chemicals are used to treat all, even natural and organic fabrics, there are much better choices than synthetic ones.
So the next time you’re at the store or are shopping online, look for cotton, linen, hemp, cashmere, bamboo, silk, or natural blends.
There are also some simple tips to keep in mind that will help you understand the quality of the fabric easily and quickly.
Label. That’s your first move. Always read the label and eliminate the fabrics that are low-quality.
Touch. Do not underestimate this sensory experience and trust yourself. The fabric should feel soft but not too thin and still keep its shape.
Wrinkle. Try wrinkling the t-shirt; if it happens too easily, it means the quality is low.
And if you’d like to learn more about how to choose the best t-shirt material, check out this article by Fresh Clean Tees: https://freshcleantees.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-best-t-shirt-material