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Moisture effect on fabric

Fabric Moisture or Moisture effects on fabric

  • Textile fibres are mostly affected by atmospheric conditions. Especially fabrics like cotton, wool, and jute are affected by moisture content in the atmosphere due to their hygroscopic nature.
  • Due to its Hygroscopic nature fabric tend to absorb water vapour whenever the atmosphere is moister. 
  • The same Fabric tends to give up or release water vapour whenever the atmosphere is dry as compared to sample conditions.
  • Due to this change properties like weight, mass, mechanical and electrical properties are already changed and this change creates strong effects on fabric properties and colourfastness.
  • Variations in weight and mass cause commercial imbalance while other properties affect the testing report and further process to yarn and fabric. 
DSPAT Moisture effect on fabric
Moisture effect on the fabric

Mechanical Properties

Changes in the mechanical property of fabric due to moisture absorption are negligible. 

However, the strength of the fabric concerning the increase in moisture will decrease. Long-term moisture absorption at a higher level may defoliate fabric quality. 

(This factor highly depends on fabric types. I.e.- if fabric is water-resistant then nothing will happen due to moisture.) 

Dimensional Properties


Whenever fibres absorb moisture, swelling happens.

Due to swelling in fibres cross-section and length of fibres are extended and as a result total area of the fabric increases.

This swelling changes fabric dimension and increases the mass and weight of materials.

When such a fabric is soaked in water the increase in the width of the fibres leads to an increase in the diameter of the constituent yarns. 

In addition, the dimensions of the fabric can be changed as per the closeness of the spacing of the yarns in the fabric structure. 

In the case of moisture absorbency of fabrics, Some fabrics like waterproof fabrics are exceptional.

Rapid sample Conditioner

  • The rapid sample conditioner is used to condition / prepare the sample for any testing. (Here, the conditioning sample term indicates that the sample is take placed into standard circumference for a particular time so that the fabric comes at proper testing condition.)

DSPAT Moisture conditioning instrument
Rapid sample conditioner

This condition sample consistent ideal temperature and humidity for accurate colour measurements, permeability, and other techniques as well as chemical measurements. 

Generally, a machine is designed to work according to particular standards. However, users can set specifications based on temperature and humidity and achieve these conditions in minutes according to the requirements.

Basically, Standard temperature and humidity settings are 20° C, 70°F or 65% RH, and variable settings as per the chart require option. 

For this test, fabric specimens need to be cut in the dimension of  9" x 12". For more accurate results, 20 specimens are prepared per cycle depending on sample weight and size. 

This instrument is capable of bringing fabric to a normal conditioned state in minutes depending on fabric type and weight. 

Questions -

  1. What are the effects of moisture on fabric?
  2. What are the effects of moisture on the mechanical properties of fabric?
  3. What are the effects of moisture on the dimensional properties of fabric?
  4. What is a rapid sample conditioner?


Booth, J. E. :. (n.d.). Principles of textile testing an introduction to physical methods of testing textile fibres, yarns, and fabrics. London: National Trade Press Ltd,1961. from

Cenote, M. (2015). Google Books. In The SAGE Guide to Key Issues in Mass Media Ethics and Law (pp. 847–858). SAGE Publications, Inc.

Ferreiro López-Riobóo, J. I. (2015). Long-term (2001–2012) study of a proficiency testing scheme for textiles. Accreditation and Quality Assurance20(4), 239–245.

Further reading

Part-1 Moisture effect on the fabric

Part-2 Measurement of fabric moisture

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