What are the Different Types of Waterproof Clothes?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 January 2020
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Waterproof clothes are those that repel water. When thinking about waterproof clothes, it is possible to consider them in terms of forms of apparel meant to ward off water and also types of materials that are waterproof. In addition, one could consider products that render ordinary clothes waterproof.

Wetsuits are one type of waterproof clothing. They are worn by scuba divers, windsurfers, triathletes under certain conditions, and others who engage in water sports for protection. The suits are made primarily of neoprene and are made to keep the wearer warm as well as dry.

The raincoat or rain jacket, sometimes combined with rain pants to make a rain suit, is another type of waterproof clothes. It may be made of GORE-TEX® or coated nylon, rubberized cloth, in the case of the British Mackintosh®, oiled cotton, in the case of the Australian Driza-Bone®, or oiled fur, in the case of Inuit anoraks. Other waterproofing materials include PVC or polyvinyl chloride, which is used for outerwear and footwear,


GORE-TEX® is one of the types of waterproof cloth that has been used in a wide variety of garments and other applications. GORE-TEX® is used to make outerwear, footwear, and gloves, and is guaranteed by the manufacturer to keep you dry. Teflon® coated nylon is another waterproof fabric used in outerwear. Oilskin, canvas coated with oil — often linseed — is another. However, the name oilskin is also applied to garments made of the material, and it can also refer to sailcloth with waterproofing of tar.

Ordinary cloth can be rendered waterproof by several methods. One way is to protect it with silicone spray. The spray is applied to the outside of the fabric. Another way to create waterproof clothes is to treat the inside of a piece of clothing with liquid latex, creating a rubber layer that is both airtight and watertight. A wax product, such as Nikwax®, can also be used to waterproof clothing or to restore a garment’s water resistance after it has been lost.

A home guide from 1840 for waterproofing cloth involves a three-day process. The ingredients required include isinglass, rain water, alum, and white soap. The product, which is simmered and strained, is applied to the wrong side of the cloth to be waterproofed and left spread out to dry. It is said to produce a breathable, but waterproof, fabric.


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