Should You Wipe Off Your Sweat?

From “Minute Physics”. ( YouTube / Nebula )

Want to donate to the highest-impact charities AND get your donation matched up to $100? Visit

If you’re in scorching heat, or when your body is working hard and you’ve got hot, hot sweat all over, sticky and stifling – does wiping off the sweat help you cool off? Or is it better to leave it on?

Support MinutePhysics on Patreon!
Link to Patreon Supporters:



Engineering Toolbox Mollier Diagram:

Sweat Info

Other articles:


Typical adult human body surface area ~ 1.5-2 m^2

Evaporation rate at 25°C and 50% humidity, slight air movement (v~.5m/s) = .35kg/m^2/hr

So in these conditions, a sweat-covered human can expect to evaporate ~.5-.75 L of water in an hour (For higher humidity (60-70%) it goes to ~.37-.5 L of water/hr). That amounts to ~0.25-0.35mm of sweat (covering the whole body) evaporated in an hour, or 6 micrometers every minute.

Water has latent heat of 2,270 kJ/kg (, so in an hour a human can lose ~1100-1700 kJ of energy. (2270/4.1868 ~ 542 Cal)

BUT that assumes all of the energy came from the person. If some proportion of it came from the air (~1/3-1/2?) then the person is only cooled down partially.

Mass of a human ~ 60-80kg (, assuming ~specific heat of water, ie 4 kJ/kg/K, could decrease temp by ~4.5-5°C.

Energy used in moderate-hard exercise is ~20-30 kJ/kg/30 min, or ~40-60kJ/kg/h ( Let’s say 50kJ/kg/h, which for average human amounts to 3000-4000 kJ/hr


MinutePhysics is on twitter – @minutephysics
And facebook –

Minute Physics provides an energetic and entertaining view of old and new problems in physics — all in a minute!

Created by Henry Reich