How Do Moisture Wicking T-Shirts Work?

How Sweat Wicking Fabrics Work

Anyone who has been on a date on a hot summer night, or had to work through a heatwave can appreciate the value of a good moisture-wicking t-shirt. Whether they’re worn as an undershirt or a comfortable tee, they are a game-changer. 

The moisture-wicking fabric discreetly removes sweat while simultaneously keeping you cool. It’s a double-whammy of awesomeness and comfort. But how does it work?

How Wicking Works

Normally when your sweat glands kick into gear the perspiration starts to pool on your body. The result is visible sweat stains, as well as mixing with bacteria on your body and clothes that contribute to body odor. Moisture-wicking fabrics start by reducing and removing the sweat before it becomes a problem.

First, the material is extremely breathable. This increases airflow and keeps body temperature down. As a result, you sweat less. 

Of course, just reducing sweat isn’t necessarily enough. This is where the “wicking” action comes in. Sweat-wicking fabrics actually draw the moisture from your skin to the outer layer of the shirt, where it is dispersed for rapid-evaporation. So the clothes don’t actually stop sweat, they simply remove it quickly.

Unlike cotton or wool, these fabrics retain very little moisture making it harder for the sweat to visibly pool and easier for it to evaporate out of the fabric. With fabrics like cotton the sweat builds up on the inside of the shirt, so by the time you have visible sweat stains on the outside it’s too late. Because wool and cotton absorb moisture easily it takes a long time for them to dry out, and a change of clothes is your best bet.


Synthetic fabrics, like polyester, are the most effective materials for moisture-wicking t-shirts. Where they lack, however, is the comfort of natural fabrics. While you might want a fully synthetic shirt for your workout, it’s not the best look or feel to wear around all day. To handle this, most of these shirts don’t use sweat-wicking fabric for the entire shirt.

Because of this, it’s important to consider where you sweat when shopping for a sweat-proof t-shirt. The most common location for sweat to build is the armpits, so the majority of brands only place the special fabric in that area.

If you sweat in the neck, back, or chest, how do you know your shirt has you covered? That’s why NeatApparel applies our moisture-wicking technology in more locations, allowing us to remove more sweat while still prioritizing comfort.

Shop NeatApparel and discover our line of stylish, comfortable, sweat-wicking shirts for everyday wear.