Cotton vs polyester | What’s the difference and which is better?

Clothes and upholstery made of cotton vs polyester are not new to us because both are extremely popular fabrics. So what is the difference, and which is better is a very common question. Let’s explore the answer with Dugarco through the article below!

1. What is cotton?

Before learning the difference between cotton vs polyester, let’s see what cotton is. Cotton is a hypoallergenic fiber that is breathable and feels soft to wear. It has been widely used in the global textile manufacturing industry.

Cotton is a product derived from the cotton plant in nature. The cotton fibers that come from this plant’s seed pods are spun, and cotton is the final product. The application of cotton is very flexible and diverse, it is used for the production of clothing, curtains, pillows, towels, bedding,… Advantages of cotton include:

  • Cotton absorbs moisture well.
  • It feels soft when used.
  • Fresh air.
  • Does not cause allergies.
  • Flexible.
cotton vs polyester
Cotton is popularly known for its softness and breathability

In addition to the above advantages, cotton also has some disadvantages such as:

  • Fabrics made from cotton may shrink.
  • easy to fade color after washing.
  • Wrinkled easily.
  • Does not dry quickly.
  • Wrinkles prone.
  • Worn out over time

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2. What is polyester?

Polyester is a synthetic fiber, not a natural raw material. Polyester is the common name for many types of textiles, including polyester fibers. Polyester is created from two raw materials: petroleum and natural gas. Some other substances are added to form a paste at high temperatures. The block is then pressed through a very small hole creating long fibers, cutting the long fibers into small pieces, and forming polyester.

cotton vs polyester thread
Polyester is a popular fabric for outdoor wear and activities

The following are some advantages of polyester:

  • Colorfastness.
  • Has good wrinkle resistance.
  • Very durable.
  • Has good resistance to mildew and dirt.
  • Easy to clean
  • Does not absorb dirt
  • Dries quickly

Polyester also comes with several downsides, including:

  • Has a high thickness and large weight.
  • Feeling rough and secretive when using.
  • Easy to melt when at too high a temperature
  • Polyester is very flammable.
  • Poor absorbency.

3. Similarities of cotton vs polyester

Some similarities between cotton vs polyester include:

  • Easy to operate and clean.
  • All are resistant to heat, bleaching, and detergents.
  • Can be dyed in any color.
  • Highly applicable in apparel and home appliances.
  • All are at the lower end of the price range of fabrics.
poly cotton vs polyester
Cotton vs polyester fabrics are quite widely used in the garment industry

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4. Basic differences between cotton vs polyester

With a wide range of colors and great applications, both cotton vs polyester thread create expensive fashion items including shoes, pants, hoodies, t-shirts, and blankets,… In addition to some of the similarities mentioned above, Here are some basic differences between the two:

4.1. Softness

Cotton is created from the fibers of the cotton plant so it is naturally soft and comfortable to wear. As for polyester, it’s made from a petroleum-based man-made fiber so it feels a bit like plastic and isn’t as soft as cotton. However, modern technology has made great strides in polyester production to make it more comfortable to wear. This is the main difference between cotton vs polyester.

sublimation on cotton vs polyester
Cotton fabric is a natural fabric while polyester fabric is synthetic

4.2. Moisture-wicking

Of the two types of cotton vs polyester, polyester has low hygroscopic properties. It does not easily absorb sweat or moisture, retaining moisture on the surface and creating an uncomfortable feeling of wetness. In contrast, cotton has excellent hygroscopicity. It can absorb and absorb sweat on the body quickly. This helps the wearer stay dry and comfortable.

cotton vs polyester t shirt
Polyester moisture on the surface causes discomfort to the body

4.3. Thickness

Depending on the weave of the fabric and the product being designed, cotton vs polyester will have different thicknesses. Although these two fabrics have in common the same amount of yarn, weight is another matter. Polyester fabric is thicker but it feels lighter than heavy cotton fabric. The yarn count of polyester fabrics can be high, but this only makes the weave thicker and more durable.

which is better cotton or polyester
The more yarns per inch in cotton, the tighter the woven threads are

4.4. Breathability

The term “breathable” refers to the fabric’s ability to allow moisture to escape from the body and air through the fibers. Referring to this issue, we cannot help but mention cotton – a very breathable fabric. Cotton’s breathability makes it the ideal choice for clothing that comes into contact with the skin. Polyester is derived from petroleum, so the use of clothing with this fabric is not suitable for people in hot climates and high temperatures. So, between thread cotton vs polyester, cotton is the material with better breathability.

cotton vs polyester hoodie
Breathability is the criterion for garment manufacturers to choose fabric materials

4.5. Durability

Depending on the weave, the weave density or the number of threads per inch will determine the strength of the fabric. Both kinds of cotton vs polyester are durable fabrics. As for cotton, the heavier the weave, the higher the quality and durability. However, cotton is most durable when it’s wet, which helps it withstand multiple washes and even hot washes.

cotton vs polyester quilt
Durability depends on weave pattern, weave density, or yarn count per inch of fabric

Besides, polyester is also extremely durable. It is plastic, the fibers are resilient to water, stains, and wrinkles. So they are not easily damaged and are capable of withstanding a lot of wear and tear.

4.6. Warmth

Between cotton vs polyester, polyester is significantly warmer than cotton, because it absorbs moisture at a lower rate than cotton. Besides, it is tightly woven preventing air from circulating inside or outside and trapping heat in the fabric fibers. This keeps you from feeling cold. Therefore, polyester is good for cold weather because it is much warmer than wearing Cotton.

cotton or polyester which is better
Polyester is a good choice for cold weather

Meanwhile, cotton is more breathable than polyester and helps prevent moisture. It makes you feel relaxed as the air circulates on your skin. Cotton absorbs sweat very well but it is not suitable for keeping you warm. So in terms of warmth, polyester scores higher than cotton.

4.7. Elasticities

Due to the synthetic properties of polyester, it is more resistant to stretch than cotton. It is suitable for the production of items that need frequent washing. However, you should not wash it with very hot water. Since it’s plastic, it can melt at high temperatures.

polyester vs cotton in winter
Cotton is less durable and more elastic than polyester

When exposed to heat or moisture, cotton can shrink or expand. Especially in the first washing and drying time, this is the time when it is most prone to shrinkage. However, with today’s modern technology, cotton fabric shrinking is not too much of a problem.

4.8. Sustainability

Polyester fabric vs cotton may differ in production, but their durability is almost the same. Because polyester is oil-based, it doesn’t have good durability, but it doesn’t break or rot easily. This means polyester is a long-lasting and durable material. Therefore, clothes made from polyester fabric will last longer than similar clothes made from cotton.

polyester vs cotton sheets
The sustainability of these two fabrics is almost the same

Cotton, on the other hand, is quite sustainable, or slightly less so than polyester. It is harvested from the cotton plant and is a natural fiber so it is completely biodegradable. The cotton fiber will be 100% compostable or it can be recycled into new clothes or other products like paper bags.

4.9. Price

The cost of cotton vs polyester will depend on several factors including quality, manufacturing process, availability, and demand. In general, polyester tends to be cheaper than cotton. Polyester is a synthetic fiber produced from the petrochemical process, so the production cost is cheaper. And cotton is a natural fiber, it requires complicated farming and processing methods.

cotton vs polyester thread
Polyester is cheaper than most cotton fabrics

However, the price difference between polyester and cotton can vary depending on the specific product and brand. For example, a high-quality polyester fabric can be more expensive than a low-quality cotton fabric. Not only that, each weave and type of cotton used will impact the price you pay. The better the weave and yarn strength, the more expensive the price will be.

4.10. Colors

Both cotton vs polyester have good dyeability and color retention, but because cotton is a natural fiber it produces darker, richer colors than polyester. However, cotton is susceptible to sunlight and quickly fades. Polyester can keep it is color longer, and it is resistant to fading, which will help your clothes retain their original color throughout their life.

cotton vs polyester comforter
Cotton is easier to dye than polyester but it fades quickly

Although polyester is difficult to fade, it is not as easily dyed as cotton. This can be a challenge with polyester. Because it needs a special synthetic dye in the dyeing process.

4.11. Maintenance and care

When comparing thread cotton vs polyester in this criterion, polyester is easier to care for. Because polyester is wrinkle-resistant and not easy to stain. So during use, maintenance and care are quite simple. In addition, it does not require ironing before wearing and can dry quickly in the air. However, because it is made of synthetic fibers, it can catch odors, so you should wash it often and as soon as possible to prevent odors.

bedding cotton vs polyester
Polyester is wrinkle-resistant so no ironing is required after washing

Cotton fabrics, on the other hand, often wrinkle and need to be ironed after each wash. It doesn’t dry quickly and the fabric gets stained easily. It requires a longer drying time and requires detergents to remove stains. Even so, cotton is still easier to wash than polyester, as it can withstand hotter water temperatures and odors can get out of the fabric faster.

4.12. Impact of environment

Another difference between cotton vs polyester is the impact of the environment. Cotton is biodegradable while polyester takes hundreds of years to decompose. However, the conventional cotton growing process uses the most pesticides of any crop. When it rains, chemicals leak into groundwater and surrounding water sources. Not only that, cotton cultivation requires a lot of land and water to grow so it requires significant resources of land, water, and energy.

cotton vs polyester t shirt
Cotton requires significant resources of land, water, and energy

In general, polyester is harmful to the environment at every stage of production and there is no viable method to limit this. Currently, there are many alternatives to petroleum-based polyester, such as creating polyester fibers from plants or plastic bottles. But, at present there is no answer to the question of whether these alternatives can improve the pollution of polyester.

4.13. Applications

Both cotton vs polyester have high applicability. Polyester is the number one man-made fabric in the world, used to make coats, scarves, backpacks, hoodies, and sleeping bags to keep you warm,… Not only that but polyester is also used as a raw material. materials in the production of pillows, duvets, sofas, high-strength ropes, balloons,…

recycled polyester vs cotton
Cotton and polyester are both widely used in many different industries

Cotton fabric is the most commonly used and preferred fabric in the world. Its main use is not only as a fabric for clothes, but it also has several other uses such as: As animal feed, fertilizer, adding nutrients back to the soil, and as a filter. coffee,… In addition, cotton seeds contain high levels of cellulose used to produce plastic.

5. Which is better cotton or polyester?

Polyester vs cotton which is better? This is a difficult question to answer because each type has advantages and disadvantages. Which is better depends on your needs, preferences, or uses. There is no specific answer when it comes to what is the “best” material for clothing or everyday items.

cotton vs polyester for summer
There is no definite answer to the question of which is better cotton or polyester

When you are looking for a suit, shirt, blouse, trousers, socks, or bed sheet, you must determine which fabric is right for you. Although cotton and polyester are both natural products, each has its advantages and disadvantages. You should choose one over the other depending on your needs and preferences.

The above article is information about the difference between cotton vs polyester that you can refer to. Hope the article can help you have more useful knowledge. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Dugarco!

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  • Address: 59 Đức Giang, Đức Giang, Long Biên, HN
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