Imagine that you're about to embark on a month-long backpacking excursion. You don't want to bring a lot, so you want to pick clothes that won't take up a ton of room in your backpack. Of course, you'll want to choose clothing made of a comfortable material. A wrinkle-resistant fabric that you can stuff quickly into your bag would be a plus, as well as something that's easy to wash and quick to dry.
Microfiber clothes fit the bill for travelers and others who want garments that are versatile, easy to care for and comfortable. Although you might think of microfiber as a material used mainly for cleaning cloths and mops, microfiber increasingly is being used to make active wear.
That's because microfiber's lightweight quality makes it perfect for draping clothing. The spaces between its strands make it breathable, wrinkle-resistant, stain-resistant and easily washable. Microfiber keeps sweat away from body and has the feel of lightweight cotton.
So, what is it? Microfiber is any fiber with strands less than one denier, a measurement of fineness of a fabric. Polyester microfibers usually have a diameter for 10 microns or less, half the size of silk fiber! Most microfibers are made synthetically, with polyester and nylon the most common combinations. Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto developed microfiber technology in Japan in the early 1970s; however, it wasn't until 1989 that microfiber production began in the U.S. While initially microfiber was mostly used to make cleaning products, in the following decades it gained popularity as a fabric for clothing.
In addition to its comfort and convenience, microfiber is easy to care for and launder. If you wash it properly and purchase quality microfiber, your clothes can last for up to 500 launderings. For more on caring for microfiber clothes, see the next page.