Various blog posts and articles suggest that freezing a pair of tights will make them last longer.

From a blog named Eclipsed Moon:

  • Put your tights in the freezer.

    I thought that this was a silly old-wives tale, but it actually does work! Putting your tights in a plastic bag and storing them in the freezer when you aren’t using them helps keep the material firm and less prone to ripping.

From an article on PureWow:

Good thing there’s a super-easy trick for extending the life of your tights.

You freeze them.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but hear us out: The next time you buy a new pair (and before you wear them), run them under water until they’re damp. Then place them in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. Take them out and give them a day to defrost and thaw out.

You only need to do this once — after that, you’re good to go. The chilly temps firm and strengthen the individual fibers of your tights, making them less susceptible to runs later on.

I'm skeptical. My questions are:

  1. Where is the evidence? Are there any controlled studies confirming this phenomenon?
  2. Does the water make any difference?
  3. Is this advice for storage, one-time treatment, or both?
  4. If it is indeed effective as a one-time treatment, why don't they come pre-treated from the factory?
  5. If it works, why does it work?

In the second method (and likely in the first), it's probably not the cold that's doing it, but the dampness -- it's well known that nylon strengthens when it absorbs water. The waiting overnight (and probably, in the first method, the condensation from taking them out of the freezer) lets water get into the nylon fibers and strengthen them.

  • Thanks for answering, but it sounds like informed speculation. – 200_success Oct 9 '15 at 18:51
  • Nylon strengthening in water is not speculation. I had a pair of nylon glasses frames (around 1975) that carried a recommendation to soak them overnight every month or so. This is true of many other plastics, as well -- rigid gas permeable contact lenses will shrink and warp if allowed to dry out, as will the acrylic material used in dentures. – Zeiss Ikon Oct 9 '15 at 18:56

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