Different types of fabric all have different levels of absorbency. The level of absorbency needed depends upon what the fabric will be used for. When choosing a fabric for things such as towels, robes or socks, the more absorbency it has, the better it will work for soaking up liquids.
Wool is one of the most absorbent fabrics available. It has the ability to absorb up to 30 per cent of its weight without feeling damp. Wool has a strong ability to shed water, which makes it ideal for bath robes, sweaters or jackets. Wool socks are also good for keeping the feet warm and dry during cold weather.
Another very absorbent fabric is terrycloth. When combined with cotton, the small loops of terrycloth pull water away from the body much like tiny sponges. The more loops this fabric has, the higher its absorbency will be, which makes terrycloth a good fabric for items such as bath towels or cloth diapers.
Cotton fabrics are somewhat absorbent as well. This fabric can absorb up to 15 per cent of its weight before feeling damp. Cotton is a favourite fabric for summer clothing as it has the ability to wick perspiration away from the skin during warmer temperatures. Cotton is also commonly blended with small amounts of synthetic fabrics in making socks that keep the feet cool and dry.
Although not exactly absorbent, acrylic fibres do serve the purpose of wicking moisture away from the body. This type of fabric works particularly well for making socks. Olefin fibre is an acrylic that holds moisture in away from the skin. Acrylic fabric may be combined with an outer layer of a more absorbent layer of fabric to keep the feet dry and comfortable.