water drop repelled over fabric

Liquid Repellency

To be clear, “water-repellency / oil-repellency” does not mean “waterproof / oilproof”. Water-repellency is defined as a surface’s ability to repel liquid… up to a certain point.

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How it works

wine repelled over fabric

Being liquid repellent is the “ability of a surface to repel, to a certain extent, liquids on contact”. Being liquid repellent is not the same as being liquid proof as factors such as pressure can force the liquid to penetrate the fabric. Liquid-repellent fabrics can tolerate water and can therefore be washed at 30°C or 40°C. [See our care instructions page for more information.]

In order to explain how liquid repellence works, it’s important to understand what a liquid is. All common liquids are primarily composed of either water or oil, both of which are solvents, with the remaining element known as the solute. A liquid is therefore a solvent in which a solute is dissolved or diluted.

To repel a liquid, all you have to do is repel its solvent. If you repel the two main solvents, water (through hydrophobic properties) and oil (through lipophobic properties), then you can repel all liquids. This is what INDUO® fabrics do: their cotton fibres are both hydrophobic and lipophobic.

How, then, do some liquids still manage to penetrate the fabric? When we talk about repelling liquids ‘to a certain extent’, what do we mean? This really refers to the pressure exerted and angle at which the liquid makes contact with the fabric. With enough pressure, and at a particular angle, the liquid will penetrate it: this is how washing machines work and care for your garments. This is also why we do not recommend that you rub a stain: the pressure created could cause the stain to penetrate the fibres. For the best results, simply rinse with water.


The cotton helps disperse perspiration, preventing the formation of both underarm rings and odours.

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