Fall In Love with Bamboo Shirts

Man jumping in a bamboo shirt

There’s a lot to love about bamboo shirts. From bamboo fabric’s buttery soft feel and odor-resistance, to its moisture-wicking and crucial UV protective qualities, it’s hard not to love bamboo clothing. Continue as we explore the many reasons you’ll fall in love with bamboo shirts!

Bamboo Shirts Provide UV Protection

The viscose fibers in bamboo clothing provides a natural UV protection. In terms of sun protection, bamboo blends allow for a lighter weight fabric to achieve the same or better UPF rating than alternative, non-bamboo fabrics. For Rayward Apparel, this means that our UPF 50+ bamboo shirts block greater than 98% of UV rays, but don’t require unnecessary bulk or weight.

Man jumping in a bamboo shirt

Bamboo Shirts Keep You Dry

Shirts made with viscose from bamboo have excellent absorption properties. However, instead of only filling up with liquid (like sweat), the fibers in bamboo shirts are able to pull the moisture away from your skin so that it quickly evaporates. This means your sweat is wicked away, you stay cool, and your shirt dries faster.

Bamboo Clothing is Odor-resistant

Apparel made with bamboo viscose benefit from bamboo’s natural antibacterial and odor-resistance properties. Therefore, your bamboo shirts will continue smelling fresh longer than a typical cotton shirt. This means the intensity of your shirt’s odor doesn’t have to match the intensity of your workout!

Bamboo Viscose Clothes Are Thermo-regulating

Thermo-regulation is just another way of saying that bamboo shirts are good at keeping you cool when it’s warm, and warmer when it’s cool. This makes bamboo clothing an excellent insulating layer.

Bamboo Shirts Are Extremely Soft

The first thing most of our customers notice about our Sun Bound bamboo collection is that it is ultra soft. This buttery soft, luxurious feel is thanks to the process of turning bamboo fiber into smooth viscose. Our bamboo shirts will rival your softest apparel in terms of comfort, all without sacrificing UV protection. In addition to being soft, bamboo viscose shirts are more resistant to wrinkles than competing fabrics. When you pull your super soft bamboo shirt off the clothes line or out of the dryer, it’ll be ready to wear!

Bamboo Fabrics Won’t Irritate Your Skin

We have good news for everyone with the misfortune of being irritated by fabrics with wool or hemp. Bamboo fabric is hypoallergenic! This makes viscose from bamboo the perfect substitute if you need a performance fabric that doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.

Bamboo Shirts Last a Long Time

The durability of bamboo apparel rivals that of most performance apparel, and they can even retain their shape and strength three times longer than typical cotton apparel. Plus, they resist pilling so they stand up to the abuse, both from you and your washing machine.

UPF 50 Certification Rayward Apparel

It’s Easy to Care for Bamboo Apparel

In contrast to other premium fabrics, bamboo apparel doesn’t require difficult laundering steps. Always refer to your care label, but usually you can simply machine wash and tumble dry our bamboo clothing. Fabric softeners, hand drying and dry cleaning are usually not required.

Bamboo Is Biodegradable

Viscose from bamboo is plant-based. Therefore, when it comes time to part with your beloved bamboo shirt, you have one less thing to worry about since it will decompose faster than polyester and nylon apparel. Synthetic petroleum based fabrics, such as these, can actually take centuries to decompose in landfills.

If you haven’t fallen in love with a bamboo shirt yet, then you haven’t tried Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound collection! Our Sun Bound UPF 50+ bamboo apparel offer all of the benefits outlined above. In the case of our men’s and women’s Sun Bound collections, we blend our bamboo viscose with soft cotton and just enough lycra for the perfect amount of stretch. Shop our Sun Bound UPF 50+ collection today!

Top 10 Benefits Of Bamboo Clothing

Bamboo for UPF Clothing

Bamboo-based fabrics, which feature viscose from bamboo, are remarkably well-suited for a range of applications, especially sun protection apparel. If you’re new to bamboo apparel and the benefits of bamboo fabrics, here’s a quick guide to the biggest advantages of clothing featuring viscose from bamboo. Of course, if you already own any of our Sun Bound Bamboo UPF shirts, then you know firsthand the many benefits of bamboo clothing. Still, it never hurts to have a refresher on why bamboo clothing is so great!

As the world awakens to the benefits of bamboo, we’re seeing it used in more and more industries across the globe, from furniture and building materials, to paper products and textiles. The resurgence of bamboo in the textile and fabric industries should come as no surprise given its natural properties. More on this below, so let’s dive in! Continue reading for the top 10 benefits of bamboo clothing:

Short on time? Here’s the quick list, with more on each bamboo apparel advantage below!

  1. Bamboo fabric is moisture-wicking and quick-drying
  2. Bamboo clothing is odor-resistant and anti-bacterial
  3. Our bamboo apparel is insulating and thermo-regulating
  4. Viscose from bamboo is extremely soft
  5. Bamboo provides natural UV protection
  6. Bamboo fabrics are hypoallergenic for sensitive skin
  7. Quality bamboo clothing is durable and resistant to pilling
  8. Our bamboo apparel requires low maintenance
  9. Bamboo fabric is sustainable and environmentally-friendly
  10. Bamboo fabrics are biodegradable

#1 – Bamboo Fabric is Moisture-wicking & Quick-drying

Bamboo fibers are great at absorbing moisture and pulling it away from the skin for faster evaporation. The practical benefit of this is it keeps you dry, while wicking sweat and water away from your skin. This is just one of the advantages to wearing bamboo clothing for activewear and outdoors.

#2 – Bamboo Clothing is Odor-resistant & Anti-bacterial

Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and odor-resistant. As a result, your bamboo apparel is more likely to smell fresh longer, and less likely to smell like dirty laundry. Use this to your advantage by relying on bamboo-based clothing when being active and participating in anything that might cause you to break a sweat.

Runner with UPF Bamboo Clothing

#3 – Bamboo Apparel is Insulating & Thermo-regulating

Another advantage of clothing made with viscose from bamboo is its excellent insulation ability. Bamboo-based apparel is a great lightweight insulating layer that helps regulate body temperature. Practically speaking, this means bamboo clothing is great in any season, keeping you cool in the heat, and warm in the cold.

#4 – Viscose from Bamboo is Extremely Soft

One of the most praised benefits of bamboo clothing is its luxuriously soft feel. This is largely to credit for the increased popularity of bamboo sheets, and also why Rayward Apparel chose to feature viscose from bamboo in our Sun Bound shirts. In fact, bamboo clothing will rival your softest apparel, which is even more amazing considering that it also offers incredible UV protection. Speaking of which…

#5 – Bamboo Provides Natural UV Protection

Bamboo fibers feature natural UV resistance, and this critical property carries through our processing of the plant into viscose for fiber. For Rayward Apparel, this might be the biggest advantage of bamboo clothing since it allows us to achieve a UPF 50+ rating with a lighter weight material. As a result, our Sun Bound UPF 50+ bamboo shirts block more than 98% of harmful UV rays.

UV Rays from the Sun's Glare

#6 – Bamboo Fabrics are Hypoallergenic for Sensitive Skin

If you suffer from allergies to wool or hemp, you’ll likely find bamboo clothing to be the perfect substitute. It won’t irritate your skin like other natural fibers, and the smoother bamboo fibers are well-suited for sensitive skin.

#7 – Bamboo Clothing is Durable & Resistant to Pilling

With proper care, bamboo apparel will last for years and years, long exceeding the life of standard cotton shirts. In fact, it’s possible for bamboo to hold its shape and strength 3x longer than cotton fabrics. Bamboo’s durability makes it well-suited for an active lifestyle outdoors. Additionally, since it’s resistant to pilling, it will also look great longer!

#8 – Bamboo Apparel Requires Low Maintenance

Unlike some “premium” fabrics, bamboo apparel doesn’t demand complicated or inconvenient care instructions. In most cases, simply machine wash in cool water, and tumble dry with low heat. While not required, hang drying is the most environmentally-friendly alternative. It’s also gentler on your bamboo apparel and prevents shrinking. However, there’s no need for you to hand wash, dry clean or use fabric softeners with our bamboo apparel.

Bamboo Clothing in the Washing Machine

#9 – Bamboo Fabric is Sustainable & Environmentally-friendly

Growing and harvesting bamboo for apparel is sustainable and eco-friendly, therefore requiring much less water than alternative plant fibers and relying on little to no chemicals. Technically, bamboo is a woody grass that rarely requires replanting, and you probably already know that it grows extremely fast. As a result, this makes it highly renewable, and its natural pest resistance and antibacterial properties protect bamboo without a dependence upon pesticides.

#10 – Bamboo Fabrics are Biodegradable

Since bamboo clothing is made from a plant-based viscose, it is biodegradable and will decompose. This is a striking contrast to synthetic apparel made with plastics, which is common in activewear. Synthetic petroleum-based fabrics, such polyester and nylon, can take centuries to decompose. As a result, they pile up in landfills and often end up in our water.

The many benefits of bamboo-based fabrics make them ideal for our Sun Bound Collection of lightweight, sun protection bamboo shirts. Nearly half the fabric content in our Sun Bound shirts is viscose from bamboo, which creates our collection’s unique combination of performance, comfort and protection!

To experience the advantages of bamboo clothing for yourself, shop our Sun Bound Collection of UPF shirts today, available in three styles for both men and women.

What Fabrics Block UV Rays?

What fabrics block UV? Rayward Apparel

Your clothing is more than just a fashion statement, it helps keep you protected from damaging UV radiation, one of the leading causes of skin cancer. Certain types of materials, like bamboo shirts, often come with a higher UPF rating (less UV rays can pass through), but it depends on a lot more factors than just fabric composition. Every product is different, some provide superior protection while others provide little to none. If you are shopping for sun protective clothing and do not see a UPF value listed, keeping the below factors in mind will help make sure you are selecting a product that will help keep you protected.


Fabric Spools
  • Fibers: The fibers themselves have different UV protection qualities. Synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester generally have a higher UPF value than other popular fibers such as bleached cotton. Bamboo fibers (when purchasing bamboo shirts, it’s generally labeled as viscose from bamboo) also tend to have a higher UPF value than cotton. However, the process of turning bamboo into bamboo viscose can sometimes alter the properties of the fabric, so make sure to check for a UPF rating and don’t make any assumptions.
  • Construction: Ultimately the goal is to reduce the amount of light that can pass through. With a tight weave, you have less space between the threads and thus less potential for UV radiation to pass through. Also, a shirt’s thickness can help protect your skin as it often has more fibers per square inch and a much tighter weave. A good simple test is to hold a shirt up to the light. Then, if a lot of light is passing through, it likely has a lower UPF rating than a shirt where no light passes through.


Generally speaking, loose-fitting apparel is preferable to tight clothing. Tight clothing has a tendency to stretch which separates the fibers – allowing more light to pass through. Loose unstretched fibers are going to provide more consistent protection, and are also less likely to become permanently stretched over time, therefore maintaining their UPF protection rating for longer. This also helps determine whether a shirt will maintain its UPF rating after being washed.


The more coverage the better. It goes without saying that a short sleeve shirt cannot keep your entire arm protected, so try and find products that maximize the surface area coverage. Long sleeve bamboo shirts are great, and hooded long sleeve shirts offer even more protection for your ears and neck.


Fabric Colors Bamboo Shirts

Darker is better, but there is no formula for determining which specific color is best for sun protection. If you have to choose between a black and white shirt and are looking for maximum UPF value, more often than not the black shirt will provide more protection. This is in part due to the color absorption properties, but also due to the process of coloring a fabric with different dyes which further reduce the amount of UV radiation that can pass through. But keep in mind, just because a shirt is white does not mean it is not keeping you protected. A shirts protective qualities is a combination of all of the above factors and it’s very possible that your white bamboo shirts are keeping you just as protected, if not more protected, than your black cotton shirts. 

UPF Rating

The safest way to make sure you are protected is to buy products with a posted UPF rating. This means that the shirt has been tested and proven to have UV protective qualities. For maximum protection, look for apparel that has a UPF 50+ rating.

What Can I Wear Instead Of Sunscreen?

Sunglasses and Alternatives to Sunscreen

Bamboo clothing and other sun protective apparel are becoming popular alternatives to sunscreen, but what else is there? UV exposure is harmful to your skin so it’s important you stay protected, but sunscreen is not your only option. There are a lot of reasons you might want to avoid sunscreen. Maybe it’s an allergic reaction, general discomfort, or you just want to avoid covering your body in chemicals. Regardless of your reason, there are a lot of ways to stay protected throughout your day without applying chemicals to your skin.

Sun Protective Bamboo Clothing

The number one option would be to simply wear clothing designed for sun protection. Keeping your skin physically covered with bamboo clothing will act as a natural barrier. However, not all clothing actually protects you from UV rays. To know if it’s designed that way, simply look for its UPF rating. The below chart gives a quick breakdown of how ASTM defined the various UPF ratings:

UPF RatingProtection Category% UV Radiation Blocked
UPF 15 – 24Good93.3 – 95.9
UPF 25 – 39Very Good96.0 – 97.4
UPF 40 – 50+Excellent97.5 – 98+

Our SUN BOUND line of bamboo clothing is all UPF 50 and designed with breathability and comfort in mind. To get maximum protection, you should cover as much of your skin as possible. This means when given the choice between a short sleeve shirt and long sleeve shirt, go with the long sleeve. This same logic applies to your lower body as well. In addition to keeping your torso and arms covered with UPF clothing, make sure to do the same for your legs. 

Bucket Hats and Sun Hats

Your face can be a difficult part of the body to stay protected without sunscreen, but there are options. Our top recommendation would be a UPF 50+ sun hat. A sun hat (sometimes referred to as a bucket hat) is a little different than a baseball hat. It not only keeps your head and (some) of your face covered, but has a wide brim that extends over the ears and also provides neck protection. Sun protective bamboo clothing can certainly keep your body covered, but the face, scalp, ears, and neck are four of the most common places people develop skin cancer

Neck Gaiters and UPF Face Masks

If it’s specifically your face and/or neck that need UV protection, consider a UPF neck gaiter. Lightweight, portable and breathable, neck gaiters are a great sun safety accessory to complement your UPF apparel. They can be worn up over your face, just underneath your chin, or a handful of other ways. As far as when to wear sun protection neck gaiters, as with the UV protective clothing mentioned above, it’s whenever you’ll be outside for as little as 10-15 minutes.

Sunglasses With UV Protection

Unless you are soaking your eyes in sunscreen (not recommended!) sunglasses aren’t necessarily an alternative, but still worth mentioning. It’s just as important to keep your eyes protected as it is your skin. Your eyes are just as susceptible to UV damage as your skin. By wearing the proper sunglasses you can easily eliminate this risk. Check your sunglasses to make sure they are designed for UV protection. Many different brands are now producing sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.

Seek Shade

Sun hat and bamboo clothing with umbrella

The safest option is always to seek shade whenever you can. This might be a nearby building, tree, or you might want to bring a large umbrella. Even if you are fully protected with UPF rated bamboo clothing, pants, a sun protective bucket hat, and UV filtering sunglasses, staying in the shade as often as possible will always minimize your exposure.

Can UV Go Through Clothes?

UV Shirts Exposure, Sunlight over field

Can UV rays go through clothes? In most cases, yes. But it’s not necessarily if UV can pass through that you should be asking, but rather how much UV can pass through.

UV radiation is the leading cause of most skin cancers, so it’s important to protect yourself. However, UV exposure is tricky because it’s not possible to see with the naked eye. Just because visible light is not passing through an object or fabric, that does not necessarily mean UV light is being stopped. And the opposite is true as well. UV protection shirts might be lightweight and seemingly thin, allowing light to pass through, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they allow UV radiation to also pass through. A great example of this is sunglasses that block 100% of UV radiation. You can clearly see through them, yet UV radiation cannot pass through at all. 

The video to the right shows what the world looks like through a UV camera, or in UV light instead of visible light. It’s an interesting way to show how seemingly invisible factors impact the amount of UV light that can penetrate something. Around the 1:34 minute mark of the video they show a pair of glasses in both visible light and UV light side by side, a great way to see the imperceptible differences. A similar concept applies to fabrics. Just because you can’t see through a fabric does not necessarily mean UV radiation is not passing through.

So how are you supposed to know how much UV radiation is penetrating your clothing? And if you have a UV protection shirt, how much protection is that providing?

UPF Rating for UV Protection

The only way to know the true protective value of a fabric is if it has a UPF value listed. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is a rating very similar to the SPF ratings you’ll see on sunscreen, but is applicable only to fabrics (read our full explanation of UPF and how it differs from SPF). 

To list a UPF rating a product must first be lab tested according to industry standards which will show the exact amount of UV radiation which can penetrate that fabric. A rating of UPF 30 means 1/30th, or about 3.33% of UV light passes through. And UV protection shirts with a rating of UPF 50 means 1/50th, or about 2% of UV light passes through. The standard categories you may see listed are below:

UPF RatingProtection Category% UV Radiation Blocked
UPF 15 – 24Good93.3 – 95.9
UPF 25 – 39Very Good96.0 – 97.4
UPF 40 – 50+Excellent97.5 – 98+

At Rayward Apparel, we believe all sun protective products should have a rating of at least 50+, providing you the highest possible level of protection. To learn more about our full line of UV protection shirts and accessories, visit our online shop.

Hooded UPF 50 Bamboo Blue Shirt Rayward Apparel
Mens SUN BOUND Hooded UPF 50+ Shirt

Fit and Fabric

If a shirt is specifically designed with skin protection in mind, it likely has a UPF rating listed. However, the vast majority of products you’ll find will not have any rating listed. So how are you supposed to know how much UV light is passing through? While it’s impossible to say an exact amount, there are certain factors you can identify for help making a determination. Our companion post summarizes which fabrics block UV rays, but if you look for the features outlined below, you’ll be off to a good start:

  • Materials: Synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester often perform better than bleached cotton shirts. Also many UV protection shirts are made of bamboo viscose, which is shown to be more UV absorbent than a standard cotton.
  • Construction: The tighter the weave the better.
  • Fit: Loose fitting is generally better than tight fitting as it’s not going to be stretched out.
  • Style: The more coverage the better, so choose long sleeves over short sleeves.
  • Color: Generally the darker the better, but not always the case.

The best way to make sure you stay protected is to buy shirts that have been designed to keep you protected. UV radiation can damage your skin even through clothes, so make sure to keep that in mind whenever you are out in the sun.

What Is The Best Sun Protection Clothing?

Paddleboarding on River at Sunset

The most reliable sun protection comes from quality UPF apparel, but what makes for the best sun protection clothing? Not all apparel offers equal protection against damaging UV rays. In fact, some of the clothing labeled and rated for sun protection isn’t ideal for active wear. Shirts with UV protection should be comfortable, stylish, versatile, long-lasting and, above all else, UV protective. Continue below as we dig deeper into what makes for the best sun protection clothing.

Comfortable Sun Protection Clothing

The perfect sun protection clothing needs to be as comfortable as it is protective. You want a shirt so comfortable that you’d wear it even if you weren’t leaving your house. All too often, choosing a shirt with UV protection means sacrificing comfort for the sake of a higher UPF rating. This is how you end up with sun shirts that feel like plastic, aren’t breathable and fit poorly. In reality, comfort and protection should go hand in hand. Fortunately, Rayward Apparel’s blend of viscose from bamboo provides the best of both worlds for an ultra soft buttery feel that still ensures a UV shield rated at UPF 50+.

Bamboo forest

Stylish UPF Apparel Designed for Any Occasion

The best sun protection clothing also needs a stylish design and quality finish. Without style, even your most protective shirts with UV protection would just sit in your dresser. With this in mind, Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound Collection is designed with a modern, athletic fit that looks as good as it feels. Plus, a timeless raglan sleeve and tagless collar round out the design. The result? What we believe to be the best t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and hooded shirt for all day sun protection. Speaking of which…

Versatility Equals Utility

Ideal sun protection clothing fits your needs, rather than the other way around. For some, that means full body cover from the waist up, and therefore a long sleeve hooded shirt is best. For others, a long sleeve shirt paired with a sun protective hat fits the bill. Or maybe you’re gearing up for a strenuous outdoor workout or stepping out into extremely hot weather. In either case, a short sleeve UV shirt and proper sunscreen application could be the most appropriate. Just as with the design, the fabric must also be versatile enough to handle whatever life brings, from a hot day at the beach or a long fishing trip, to a run in the rain or a hike through multiple climate zones (but don’t forget these 10 hiking essentials). This is where the perfect blend of fabrics, including viscose from bamboo, balances lightweight, quick-drying breathability and broad spectrum UV protection. Ultimately, the best shirts with UV protection need the versatility to meet your lifestyle.

Durable, Long-lasting UV Protection

What good is UV protection if it doesn’t last as long as you need it? The best sun protection clothing is built to last, both in terms of UV protection and general apparel construction. Rayward Apparel’s design team goes to great lengths to find fabric blends that resist pilling. As a result, your shirts look great wash after wash. Plus, our Sun Bound shirts with UV protection are made to stretch and withstand the abuse of a wide range of activities, both wet and dry, hot or cold.

Hiking mountains on a sunny day

Broad Spectrum UV Protection

Ultimately, the best sun protection clothing needs to effectively protect you from the sun’s damaging UV rays, both UVA and UVB. This means dependable broad spectrum protection when and where you need it most. Unlike typical lightweight clothing, UPF 50+ apparel blocks over 98% of the harmful UV radiation that would otherwise cause sunburns, or worse. To find the best sun protection clothing, look for product labels that indicate a UPF rating of 50+, the fabric equivalent of SPF 50, and the highest possible UV protection.

Shirts with UV protection that meet the criteria outlined above, like Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound shirts, are your best option for high performance sun protective clothing. Not only do our Sun Bound UPF shirts look great, fit comfortably and hold up to the demands of an active lifestyle, they meet the highest standards of UPF protection, rated at UPF 50+. To learn more and shop our Sun Bound UPF 50+ shirts, CLICK HERE.

Does UPF Wash Out Of Clothing?

Will UPF wash out? Washing Machines.

So you’ve gone ahead and bought some UPF 50+ clothing, but what happens when it goes through the wash? Will any of that sun protection value be ‘washed out’ or will it keep protecting you at the same level? 

Depends On How the UPF Value Was Initially Achieved

The two most popular ways apparel achieves a UPF rating are through A) fabric blends, or B) chemical treatments. At Rayward Apparel, we use the chemical-free option when a suitable fabric exists that meets our demands. Other times, we may utilize chemical treatments when fibers alone aren’t enough for the combination of protection and performance demanded.


The fabric design and composition plays a big part in the UPF rating. Some of these factors include the shirt weight, fabric blend, color, fit, and more. When possible, this is how we achieve our UPF values (versus using chemical applications). This way, the UPF 50+ clothing will maintain that value for the life of the garment, and can’t wash out of the product.


There are a variety of different chemical and oil infusions that can help boost a fiber’s UPF value. At Rayward Apparel, this is used when achieving a UPF 50+ rating for an untreated fabric blend would require the fabric to be prohibitively heavy or hot. In these rare cases, safe chemical treatments can be used to still achieve a UPF 50+ rating, but with a fabrics that perform as needed.

Product Quality

As mentioned above, a lot of factors go into the design of a sun protective shirt to ensure it keeps you protected from harmful UV rays. Some of these factors include the shirt weight, fabric composition, color, and fit. But at the end of the day, the quality of the shirt plays a big part in maintaining its UPF rating, especially if it’s being worn and washed often. 

As your clothing starts to age it naturally becomes a little worn down. So you may not be ‘washing out’ the sun protection rating of your UPF 50+ clothing, but it’s possible the rating drops as the shirt ages. This is especially true with a low quality shirt. Depending on the durability of your clothing, the fabric composition may be compromised after only a couple washes. In other words, as the threads thin out, the shirt allows more UV light to pass through. So while the UPF does not necessarily “wash out,” the UV protection rating will eventually drop over time. Higher quality shirts with more durable fabrics (like our viscose from bamboo) are designed to withstand the harshest environments and maintain a UPF rating for the life of the shirt. 

Simple Recommendations to Make Your UPF 50+ Clothing Last:

Clothes Line with UPF 50+ Clothing
  • Don’t wring out your sun protection clothing. This can permanently stretch the fibers and lower the UPF rating.
  • Do not bleach because it can damage the fibers. Bleach is great, but it’s a fairly harsh chemical on clothing. It’s best to keep your UV protective shirts intact. 
  • Wash your clothing in cold water. Warm and hot water is more likely to shrink your fabric, which could in turn shorten the lifespan of the UPF clothing.

To learn more about our apparel and to view our current line of UPF 50+ clothing, check out our shop!

Does All Clothing Have UPF?

Variety of Clothes, do they have UPF?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, the degree to which a fabric protects you from UV rays. All fabrics have some level of protection, but without proper testing it’s impossible to know the exact UPF rating. Continue reading to learn the role of UPF ratings in UV protective clothing.

How Do I Know If My Shirt Has a UPF Rating?

Generally speaking, if a fabric has been tested to determine it’s UPF rating you will see it somewhere on the fabric itself. It may be fused onto the inside of the shirt, or on the tag. In addition, you can also quickly look it up online to see if the UPF rating is listed in the description. If you’ve checked all of those areas and still cannot find the UPF rating, it’s likely it was never tested. While most UV protective clothing goes through the extra steps of verifying it’s rating, it’s a costly process. Most clothing without UV protection in mind will not have the fabric lab tested, and thus will not have an official UPF rating.

What Is the UPF of a Cotton Shirt?

As mentioned previously, without proper testing it’s impossible to provide an exact number. There are a lot of different factors that impact a shirts UPF rating, so every shirt is different. However, a good rule of thumb for a fairly standard cotton shirt is to assume a UPF rating of about 5. UV protective clothing has a minimum rating of UPF 15, so 5 is far below anything professionals would consider ‘protective’. The following video provides a great summary of the difference a UPF rated shirt can provide versus your standard cotton shirt:

What Is Considered a Good UPF Rating for UV Protective Clothing?

The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) sets the standard for the different UPF ratings in the United States. They published the below chart, which determines the ‘protection category’ of different fabrics based on the UPF rating:

UPF RatingProtection Category% UV Radiation Blocked
UPF 15 – 24Good93.3 – 95.9
UPF 25 – 39Very Good96.0 – 97.4
UPF 40 – 50+Excellent97.5 – 98+

In summary, anything below UPF 15 does not even receive a protection category and is not considered UV protective clothing. At Rayward Apparel, we only sell apparel that has a UPF 50 rating or better, ensuring our customers are properly protected. 

You may be more familiar with SPF, as it’s the rating given to sunscreens. As far as the actual rating number is concerned, they represent the same level of protection. So a UPF shirt provides the same degree of protection as an SPF sunscreen, but there are some differences which you need to be aware of:

Is UPF The Same As SPF?

Umbrellas, UPF vs SPF

UPF is the rating given to fabrics, whereas SPF is the rating given to different sunscreens. The number itself is the same, it determines the protection factor in which it blocks UV rays. However, there is one major difference which is important to keep in mind: UPF is inherently broad-spectrum – it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. SPF on the other hand, only rates it’s effectiveness against UVA rays. So when buying UV protective clothing, no need to check for a “broad-spectrum” statement. But, when you are buying sunscreen make sure it’s labeled as “broad-spectrum” so you get full protection. Both UVA and UVB rays are linked to skin cancer, so you should definitely be protecting yourself from both.

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