Technical Absorbents
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Advanced knit the key to washable underwear ranges

Polyurethane takes centuries to break down in landfill.

7th April 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Auckland, New Zealand


An absorbent multi-layer knitted textile invented by technology company Confitex, of Auckland, New Zealand, is finding success in discreet and sustainable reusable alternatives to single-use pads and liners.

Developed by founder Frantisek Riha-Scott, a designer with a passion for endurance ski racing, the Confitex textile structure at the heart of the company’s products is fully waterproof without the use of a layer of polyurethane (PU) plastic.

“I originally wanted to create high-performance absorbent sports underwear so athletes didn’t need to stop for bathroom breaks during long races,” Riha-Scott says. “But I quickly realised that reusable leakproof underwear has a much wider application for the one in three women and one in five men who live with light-to-medium urinary incontinence.”

The layer of PU usually used in waterproof fabrics isn’t fit for purpose – not only because it takes centuries to break down in landfill, but because it can’t be stitched, heat-sealed, moulded or tumble-dried and it is not breathable when worn.

Drawing on his textile design training and extensive research into microscopic textile technology, Riha-Scott created and patented the world’s first and only fully waterproof fabric that doesn’t rely on a layer of PU plastic for its efficacy and used it in a range of absorbent underwear for men and women.

The four layer fabric construction. © Confitex

The multi-layered construction of the absorbent and leakproof textile consists of a soft, fast-wicking inner layer of hypoallergenic fabric, designed to quickly draw moisture away from the body, a second warp layer, to provide ultra-quick absorption for larger leaks, a moisture-retaining inner layer, which soaks up liquid and holds it tight, even under pressure and a breathable leakproof outer layer.

The Confitex label was launched at New Zealand Fashion Week in 2015, making international headlines as the world’s first fashionable range of washable incontinence underwear.

In June 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic carved up the world, Confitex launched its second-generation range of trunks under the Confitex for Men label, as well as a new Just’nCase range of absorbent period-proof and pee-proof underwear for women and reusable nursing pads for breastfeeding mothers.

The Confitex textile also performs effectively when used in period underwear – providing a more eco-friendly alternative to single-use pads, tampons and other brands of period pants, which almost invariably contain a layer of PU plastic.

And because Confitex products don’t contain that PU plastic layer, they can safely be tumble dried without warping, scrunching or losing their leakproof performance.

International standards laboratory UL has independently tested the products.

“We know that our textile technology is superior because our underwear and nursing pads have been independently tested against other leading washable brands and have come out on top for absorbency per square inch with the least bulk,” says Riha-Scott. “That sounds like a technicality, but it makes a huge difference to the comfort and confidence people experience when they use our products.”

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