Chapter 1: Cotton vs Polyester
What is the difference between polyester and cotton? Cotton and polyester are the most common fibres used in various applications across many industries.
Most people know that cotton is derived from a natural source while polyester is a man-made fabric. Let’s look deeper at the difference between polyester and cotton.
Chapter 2: Know Your Fibres
Cotton is a short-length fibre gotten from the cotton plant. Cotton fabric is made from the natural fibres of cotton plants.
The part of the plant that becomes the fabric is the part that grows in a boll, that is, the encasing of the fluffy cotton fibre. Cotton is a soft material that is spun and woven to create a durable fabric.
2.2, Properties of cotton fabric
Cotton has a number of unique properties that makes it a popular fibre.
- Softness- Cotton is derived from soft bolls. The softness and fluffiness of the plant extend to the cotton fabric.
- Durability- Cotton has a strong cellular structure, thereby, creating a tough and wear-and-tear resistant fabric.
- Absorbency- Cotton fabric is highly absorbent due to the space between the fibres.
- Breathability- The fibre structure of the fabric makes cotton more breathable than synthetic fibres.
Polyester (polyethylene terephthalate) is a type of synthetic fabric made from petroleum. Polyester fabric is durable and it is not expensive to produce.
One of the most widely known synthetic fabrics is polyester. It was invented in 1941 and rose to prominence in the 1970s.
2.4, Properties of polyester fabric
Some of the properties of polyester fabric include:
- Durability- Polyester fabric is strong, it does not tear or pill like other natural fibres. Polyester fabric can handle all abrasions and does not require much care. The durability of polyester fabric makes it suitable as an outdoor fabric.
- Moisture-resistant- Polyester fibres have the ability to resist water droplets, this means that the fabric will not absorb moisture. The fabric’s ability to retain moisture helps it to be stain-resistant.
- It retains its shape- While other natural fabrics can wrinkle, polyester is wrinkle-resistant.
- Coarse- Polyester does not have a luxurious or soft feel. There are different methods of weaving polyester fabric that affects its texture, thereby making some polyester coarse.
- Non-biodegradable- Many natural fibres are biodegradable but polyester fabric is not biodegradable.
2.5, Cotton and polyester: Similarities
- Cotton and polyester can withstand heat, detergent and bleaching.
- Both can be dyed into any colour.
- Both have a huge range of applications.
- Cotton and polyester are affordable.
2.6, Cotton and polyester: Differences
- Cotton is a natural material while polyester is man-made.
- Polyester is stronger than cotton due to its chemical makeup.
- Polyester fabric cannot absorb moisture while cotton fabric can absorb moisture.
- Cotton is more breathable than polyester and does not cause skin reactions. Those with sensitive skin can tolerate cotton better than polyester.
- Polyester is wrinkle and stain-resistant, unlike cotton.
Chapter 3: Uses of Cotton and Polyester
3.1, Uses of cotton
Cotton is used in everyday, industrial and commercial applications. The uses of cotton are as follows.
- Cotton is used in making essential tools like fishing nets, bookbinding (to hold pages of a book together) and coffee filters.
- Pharmaceutical companies used cotton to make cotton wool, cotton buds, wound dressing, gauze, bandages, etc.
- Cotton is used for making canvas for painting.
- Cotton is used for making towels, curtains, bedsheets, bathrobes, pillows and pillowcases.
- Cotton is used to make cotton shopping bags, dust bags and drawstring bags, a preferred alternative to plastic bags.
3.1.1, Benefits of cotton bags
Cotton tote bags, drawstring bags and dust bags are part of the uses of cotton fabric. Cotton bags are durable materials and are considered to be the best option for shopping and everyday use.
Cotton shopping bags are used for grocery shopping, with a durable cotton bag, you can easily carry your vegetables, pastries, wine bottle, and other items. Cotton shopping bags are a better alternative to plastic bags because they are reusable, washable, durable and long-lasting.
Cotton dust bags are used for product packaging while at the same time serving as protection against dust for products. Products that require a cotton dust bag are purses, sneakers, boots, shoes and handbags.
Cotton drawstring bags are also used for product packaging and presentation just like the dust bag.
The benefits of cotton bags are limitless. The above-mentioned cotton products can be customised with numerous printing methods. Customisation helps to achieve personalisation and brand promotion.
3.2, Uses of polyester
Just like cotton fabric, polyester is also used in a wide range of applications. The uses of polyester are highlighted below:
- Polyester is used in clothing fabrics such as polyester shirts, jackets, hats and pants.
- Polyester is used in home furnishing materials like bedsheets, curtains, blankets, and pillowcases.
- Polyester fabric is used to make pencil cases, makeup pouches, drawstring bags, shopping bags and cooler bags.
3.2.1, Benefits of polyester bags and purses
Polyester bags are not uncommon due to the durability and affordability of polyester fabric. Polyester bags are made in drawstring bags, pouches, shopping bags and thermal bag designs.
Polyester makeup pouches are used for storing makeup and beauty products.
Polyester shopping bags are used for grocery shopping. These bags have durable handles that make it possible to shop conveniently.
Polyester cooler bags are insulated bags used for storing or transporting hot/cold food and beverages. The insulation present in the polyester bag makes it possible for the polyester cooler bag to preserve food/beverage temperature.
Chapter 4: Which Is Best? Polyester or Cotton?
From the previous chapters, you have learnt the properties and uses of polyester and cotton fabrics. Now you know the difference between polyester and cotton and their use in everyday life.
If you are confused about choosing any of these materials, you should always consider the application. One fabric is more ideal for some applications than the other.
The truth is there is no best material between the two fabrics. If you are looking for affordability, polyester is more affordable; if you are looking for durability, both fabrics are durable; if you are looking for a more eco-friendly option, you should choose cotton.
This article has explained the difference between polyester and cotton. The difference can be found in their raw materials and physical properties.
Both fabrics have certain things in common in that they are used in certain similar situations for instance in clothing and shopping tote bags.
Both fabrics are durable and unique, hence, you can choose any of them according to your preferences and application.