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Is Nylon Quick Drying? (Comparison With Cotton!)

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I don’t think people give enough credit to nylon. Everyone’s raving about polyester; spandex has its uses; even viscose gets a mention here and there.

But the man-made fabric that often gets under the radar is good ol’ nylon.

One of the best things about nylon is its quick-drying properties.

Nylon dries very quickly compared to other fabrics. Indoors, it would take about 4-6 hours before a nylon garment becomes completely dry. In the sun, that time reduces to 2 hours or less.

And even better, it can be easily hung on a clothesline!

But to check whether nylon is truly a fast drying fabric, I had to compare it with other popular fabrics such as cotton, polyester and more.

So I did a little test.

Does nylon dry faster than cotton?

Nylon dries a lot faster than cotton. On average, it dries about 3 times quicker than cotton.

FabricNylonCotton
Time taken to dry indoor3 hours8 hours
Time taken to dry outdoor1 hour3 hours
A summary of my findings

To conduct this test, I decided to use two old floral cuban-collared shirts that I own (One can never have too many Hawaiian shirts). Both were exactly the same size and shape. The only difference was that one was 100% cotton and the other was 100% nylon.

Hawaiian shirt
One of my Hawaiian shirts

The nylon garment dried 3 times faster than the cotton garment. The cotton one took 3-8 hours depending on the conditions, but the nylon garment only took 1-3 hours.

Does nylon dry faster than polyester?

Polyester dries faster than nylon. On average, polyester dries about 1.5 times quicker than nylon.

FabricNylonPolyester
Time taken to dry indoor3 hours2 hours
Time taken to dry outdoor1 hour40 minutes
A summary of my findings

Again, I took the nylon cuban-collared shirt and put it to test against a polyester blend cuban-collared shirt (I guess I do have a lot of Hawaiian shirts).

The polyester garment dried 1.5 times faster than the nylon garment. The nylon shirt took 1-3 hours to dry while polyester one took 40 minutes-2 hours depending on the drying conditions.

Cuban-collared shirt
My other Hawaiian shirt

Why does nylon dry so quickly?

Time for a bit of a chemistry lesson, kids.

Most fabrics can be classified into two categories – hydrophobic and hydrophilic.

Hydrophobic basically means that the molecules of the material can’t form a bond with hydrogen. Thus, they also cannot form a strong bond with water (H2O).

Nylon, like other synthetic fabrics, is very quick to dry because it is hydrophobic in nature. Water molecules just can’t make a strong long-lasting bond with hydrogen.

Cotton and other natural fabrics are hydrophilic in nature, that is, they can easily make bonds with hydrogen molecules. Consequently, cotton garments take much longer to dry.

How to make the nylon fabric dry faster?

  1. Wring out the excess water. Make sure than the garment is not dripping wet.
  2. If you are in a pinch and don’t have access to a dryer, you can use a hairdryer to dry the extremely wet spots.
  3. Hang the garment on a clothesline that gets adequate sunlight. Make sure to hang it when the sun is at its peak.
  4. Put the damp garment on an ironing board, and put a pressing cloth over it.
  5. Iron the pressing cloth and make sure there is no direct application of heat to the nylon garment.
  6. Do this only when it’s an emergency; otherwise just put the nylon garment on a clothesline for a few hours and you would be fine.

Final thoughts

Nylon is a great summer fabric that you should use more often. It is lightweight and quick-drying, and is also perfect for travelling purposes.

When blended with the right fabrics, nylon can become even better. Cotton-nylon blends are ruling the market right now, and they offer the best of both worlds – natural and man-made.

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