Since the dawn of mankind, we have come a long way in fashion innovations.
From covering ourselves with raw skin and leaves to weaving light, smooth cloth from silk, one thing is clear: Fashion has and will always be a very popular thing among people.
And with this popularity comes the influx of ideas to make the apparel industry even better and more comfortable for people.
Acrylic clothing has been a hallmark of this innovation and has gained huge fame in terms of winterwear due to its unique properties.
So today, you shall find out everything about acrylic and whether or not it can have any effect on your health.
Acrylic is not, unlike other fabric alternatives, a natural material.
Rather, it is a fossil-fuel-based fiber that is manufactured from a synthetic polymer which is called acrylonitrile.
So, in essence, it is an artificial material that is produced chemically.
The yarns of knitted acrylic possess the qualities of being dense and thick, which give it the reputation of having heat-retention properties.
Due to this, the ventilation of acrylic is not great either, but this makes it suitable to be used in winter clothing in which people want as less heat loss as possible.
The fabric has been in the market since the early 1950s, and its use is still popular.
Acrylonitrile is actually derived from petroleum-based chemicals.
Then, in a water-based solution, polymerization is conducted of this monomer via a technique known as reaction polymerization.
The substance is then put in a strong chemical solvent which completely dissolves the polymer and produces a gel-like substance.
The gel is then passed through a spinner which makes the acrylic fiber.
The fiber is washed, stretched, then crimped to ensure the necessary properties of acrylic fibers.
Lastly, the fibers are spun into yarns which allows them to be used by textile manufacturing units just like any other material.
Let us now address the elephant in the room and find out whether this famed material is healthy for you or not.
The truth is that the compound acrylonitrile in acrylic fiber has been proven to be not only a carcinogen but a mutagenic substance as well.
During manufacturing, formaldehyde compounds, which are very bad for breathing, are trapped in the fiber to make it wrinkle-free.
Besides this, other petrochemicals polluting dye is used while coloring of the clothing takes place.
Such substances can be responsible for causing prominent diseases like nausea, headache, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, etc., and can negatively affect the immune system, cause cancer, disrupt hormonal levels, and even cause behavioral concerns.
By using acrylic fabric in your clothing, there is a chance that you might be unknowing, absorbing toxins into your skin.
The fresh, pungent smell from newly bought acrylic clothing may also be a source of concern; hence the best thing for you to do is get rid of it.
Cover your clothes with water in the washing machine, add a cup of baking soda, and let the clothes soak overnight before washing them the next day. This will remove any unwanted smell.
Acrylic has a lot of praise from the general public. However, this wasn’t always the case.
In the 40s and 50s, the acrylic fiber manufacturing process wasn’t an efficient one, and as a result, the cloth produced was very itchy.
However, after innovations in the method throughout the year, the cloth has been fine-tuned to be very smooth and soft and feels much more comfortable to wear, especially in winters, when the skin is already dry and sensitive.
If you want to make your acrylic clothing even softer, just wash it with a softening agent or a conditioner, and you’ll be good to go!
Another question that might pop up in one’s mind is regarding the stretchiness of the fabric.
Is it easy to destroy by pulling, or will it tear upon exertion?
The answer is that while it does have a relatively better stretching ability than other traditional fabrics, it is not as stretchy as nylon or elastane.
However, if you don’t want to loosen your body-hugging acrylic wear, keep it away from high temperatures as that can stretch the fibers.
Acrylic is not a breathable fabric that is incorporated in coats, linings, and jackets.
This is due to its heat absorbing and retention ability so that the wearer can easily enjoy cold weather without putting on very heavy and uncomfortable insulation.
The fabric is unfortunately not entirely waterproof.
However, it does have water-resistant properties and also dries relatively fast.
The disadvantage of this is that it will not offer you any reliable protection from rain or snow, but it will surely give you some resistance against precipitation.
This fabric is perfect in all aspects to be used to guard against low temperatures. In fact, it was essentially created as an alternative to wool, which makes it soft and warm.
Therefore jacket and coat companies are the ones that use acrylic in their products the most.
It has been found that acrylic is even warmer than cotton.
This property makes it a more lightweight, warmer, and cheaper alternative to cotton products.
Right now, acrylic is used around the world for various purposes, and its use is not limited to jackets and coats only. In fact is used in the manufacturing of sweaters, socks, fleece, hats, and much more.
The surprising thing is that it is being used for many other purposes too!
Boat covers, car tops, outdoor furniture, blankets, carpets, rugs, construction materials, batteries, and wigs all now have acrylic as a manufacturing material.
This is because acrylic gives the products better qualities and is also easy to work with and use.
Although considering the health concerns, how good this will be for the environment, only time will tell.