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Loving Your Lycra
By Linda Beer, Sundrop Outerwear Textiles

Lycra, wonderful Lycra, it feels good, it looks good, and as an athletic fabric it has no  peers. Proper care  is needed to keep this fibre, that looks indestructible but is actually quite delicate, in good working condition.

Perspiration, body oils and chlorine cause the Lycra fibres to stretch and lose elasticity. Lycra washes easily and should be washed after each use. The Lycra fibres will bounce back to their original shape after each washing.

Lycra can be blended with almost anything to create specialty fabrics. The two most common blends are cotton/Lycra and a synthetic, usually nylon/Lycra. Each one of these fabrics has a special use and should be cared for accordingly.

Cotton/Lycra is one of the most comfortable fabrics going. It's like wearing a second skin. Cotton is  cool fabric that breathes well. Cotton/Lycra are wonderful for summer or indoor activities where they will absorb moisture keeping the wearer cooler. They are not as durable as synthetic fibres and will not retain their color or fibre strength (tenacity) as long as synthetic fibres do. Wash your cotton/Lycras by hand or on the gentle cycle using a soap for delicate fabrics.

Nylon/Lycra blends have a special place on my list of favorites for their durability and color retention. Nylon/Lycras do not breathe as effectively as cotton, and therefore retain more body heat. This can be a plus for outdoor athletics in cooler weather. Nylon repels moisture which is also a plus for rainier climates.

You can cleanse your nylon/Lycras using the same method as for cotton/Lycras, or you can use a non-soap, called Sportswash. Since regular soap residues left in the fibres will draw water into the fibres, using a non-soap cleanser will keep the nylon fibres repelling moisture -- handy if you are running in the rain.

More information on Sundrop Outerwear Textiles, Inc.

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