Benefits of wearing light colors in the summertime

Benefits of wearing light colors in the summertime

ARKLATEX (KSLA) - Oppressive heat is in the forecast this week, so how do you stay cool? One thing you may hear meteorologists say all the time is wear light-colored clothing. Why is this exactly?

The sun puts off radiation during the day to the surface. This is what causes the heating of the day.

If you are wearing dark colored clothing, those dark colors will absorb all the wavelengths of light and will turn it into heat. This will then make you hotter.

If you wear white or light colored clothing, then it will reflect all the wavelengths of light and will not convert into heat. The point is you will get hot when you go outside, but wearing light colored clothing slows down the process.

(Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

We tested this theory by using two different colored cloths. Each of them started out at 74°. These were the results

MINUTES OUTSIDE BLACK CLOTH WHITE CLOTH
0 74° 74°
5 157° 108°
10 121° 100°
20 165° 110°
30 158° 107°

There is not a steady increase because clouds were providing shade form the sun. This is why the temperatures fluctuate. But in turn, this shows that if you take breaks in the shade it will help you cool down. The main thing to take away is that the temperature increased by 83 degrees within 5 minutes on the black cloth, compared to only 34 degrees on the white cloth. It does make a difference what colors you are wearing.

We ran an experiment today at KSLA to prove this theory. We took ice and put it on the pavement in our Courtyard. We put a white cloth on one and a black cloth on the other. The idea is that the ice will melt faster under the black colored cloth.

These were our results:

  • The ice melted under the white cloth in 18 minutes.
  • The ice melted under the black cloth in 8 minutes.

At the end of the day, when you are getting ready to spend a day outside, pick out a white or light colored shirt to help you stay cool instead of that black shirt.

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