Cotton vs Poly Cotton

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Cotton vs Poly Cotton - Pound A Metre

Delicate white cotton flowers lying on top of a light cotton background.


Cotton vs Poly Cotton

When it comes to choosing the perfect fabric for your clothing or bedding, there are a plethora of options available. Among them, polycotton and cotton are two popular choices. Both fabrics have their own unique characteristics and advantages, catering to different needs and preferences.

Cotton is synonymous with breathability, softness, and comfort, while polycotton blends offer added durability and wrinkle resistance. Ultimately, the choice between polycotton and cotton depends on your personal preferences, needs, and budget.

What is Polycotton?

Polycotton is a fabric that is made from a blend of polyester and cotton fibres. This combination creates a material that combines the best qualities of both fabrics. Polyester, a synthetic material, is known for its durability and resistance to wrinkles and shrinkage. Cotton, on the other hand, is a natural fibre that is highly breathable and comfortable.

By blending these two materials together, polycotton fabrics offer the benefits of both fabrics in one. The polyester fibres enhance the durability and colour retention of the fabric, making it resistant to wear and tear. This makes polycotton a great choice for those looking for long-lasting and low-maintenance garments or home textiles.

One of the key advantages of polycotton is its breathability. While synthetic fabrics like polyester are often associated with being less breathable than natural fibres, the addition of cotton in the blend significantly improves the breathability of polycotton. This allows air to circulate through the fabric, keeping the body cool and dry. This makes polycotton a popular choice for clothing items like t-shirts, dresses, and activewear.

Polycotton fabrics also offer a wide range of colours and designs. The polyester fibres in the blend can hold dyes more effectively, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting colours. This makes polycotton fabrics a great choice for those looking for a variety of options when it comes to clothing or home decor.

Pink polycotton fabric with delicate patterns

Polycotton is available in a wide variety of colours

In terms of care, polycotton fabrics are generally easy to care for. They can be machine-washed, and the polyester fibres make them more resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage compared to pure cotton. However, it is important to follow the care instructions provided with the garment to ensure its longevity.

What is Cotton?

Cotton is a natural fabric that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is derived from the fluffy fibres that surround the seeds of the cotton plant, known as cotton bolls. These fibres are harvested, processed, and spun into yarn or thread, which is then woven or knit into various textile products.

One of the main advantages of cotton is its breathability. The natural fibres allow air to circulate freely, making cotton garments comfortable to wear, especially in warm weather. The breathability of cotton also helps to absorb and release moisture, keeping the body cool and dry.

Cotton is also known for its softness and comfort. The fibres have a smooth surface and a light texture, making cotton fabrics gentle on the skin. This makes cotton a popular choice for those with sensitive skin or allergies.

In addition to its comfort, cotton is also a durable material. The individual cotton fibres are strong and resistant to abrasion, making cotton garments and home textiles long-lasting. Cotton fabrics are also known to withstand high temperatures, making them suitable for repeated washings and ironings.

Furthermore, cotton is a natural and eco-friendly choice. The production of cotton fabric involves minimal chemical processes, making it a more sustainable option compared to synthetic materials. Cotton is also biodegradable, which means it breaks down naturally over time, reducing its environmental impact.

Properties of Polycotton and Cotton

When it comes to choosing fabric for clothing or home textiles, two popular options are polycotton and cotton. In spite of the unique properties each has, you can make an informed decision if you understand the differences between them.

Infographic showing the main features of both polycotton and cotton

The two types of cotton have benefits depending on their desired usage


Breathability is an essential characteristic to consider when choosing fabrics for clothing or home textiles. It refers to the ability of a material to allow air to pass through, facilitating proper ventilation and moisture management. When it comes to breathability, cotton takes the lead.

Cotton fabrics are renowned for their exceptional breathability. The natural cotton fibres have a unique structure with hollow cores, allowing air to circulate freely. This enables heat and moisture to escape from the body, keeping you cool and comfortable, especially in hot and humid conditions.

One of the reasons cotton is such a breathable material is its ability to absorb moisture. Cotton can absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water, making it excellent at wicking away sweat and preventing the accumulation of moisture on the skin. This moisture absorption and quick drying property further enhances the breathability of cotton.

Moreover, cotton is hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin or allergies. The breathability of cotton ensures that it doesn't trap heat or irritate the skin, promoting a cool and irritation-free environment. This makes cotton a preferred choice for individuals who prioritize comfort and want to avoid skin irritations.

In contrast, fabrics like polyester or synthetic blends often lack the breathability of cotton. Synthetic materials tend to have a dense structure, restricting airflow and trapping heat. This can lead to discomfort, especially in warmer climates, as the body struggles to regulate its temperature.

Breathability is not only important for clothing but also for home textiles like bedsheets. Cotton sheets allow air to circulate around your body as you sleep, preventing excessive perspiration and ensuring a comfortable night's rest. The breathability of cotton also helps to regulate body temperature, making it suitable for year-round use.

When it comes to breathability, cotton stands out as the superior choice. Its natural, breathable fibres allow for proper ventilation, moisture absorption, and heat dissipation. Whether you're looking for comfortable clothing or airy bedding, cotton fabrics ensure a cool, fresh, and breathable experience.


Cotton, known for its natural fibres, is renowned for its strength and durability. Cotton fibres are strong and resistant to wear and tear. They can withstand frequent washing and are less prone to pilling or fraying. This makes cotton garments, such as t-shirts, jeans, and jackets, long-lasting and reliable.

In addition to strength, cotton fabric also has good abrasion resistance. It can withstand rubbing and friction without showing signs of damage or deterioration. This makes cotton ideal for everyday clothing items that are subjected to constant use and movement.

Polycotton fabric, on the other hand, is a blend of cotton and polyester fibres. This blend combines the durability of polyester with the breathability and comfort of cotton. Polyester fibres are known for their excellent durability and resistance to wrinkling, stretching, and shrinking.

The combination of cotton and polyester in a polycotton blend creates a fabric that is strong, durable, and easy to care for. Polycotton garments are less likely to fade, shrink, or lose their shape after repeated washes. This makes them a practical choice for workwear, uniforms, and other garments that require frequent laundering.

When it comes to home textiles, such as bed sheets and duvet covers, durability is equally important. Cotton sheets are known for their longevity and ability to withstand regular use and washing. They maintain their softness and smoothness wash after wash, providing you with long-lasting comfort.

Polycotton bed sheets offer a similar level of durability and are often more affordable compared to 100% cotton sheets. The polyester fibres in polycotton blends add strength and resistance to tears and abrasions, ensuring that your bed sheets remain in good condition for an extended period.

Both cotton and polycotton fabrics offer excellent durability for a wide range of applications. Cotton's natural fibres provide strength and abrasion resistance, making it a reliable choice for clothing and home textiles. Polycotton blends combine the durability of polyester with the comfort of cotton, offering a practical solution for those seeking long-lasting fabrics. By properly caring for these fabrics, you can maximize their lifespan and enjoy their durability for years to come.

Comfort Level

Cotton, with its natural fibres, has long been hailed as a comfort champion. Its softness and breathability make it a popular choice for those with sensitive skin or anyone seeking ultimate comfort. Cotton allows air to flow freely, keeping you cool and comfortable even in warmer weather. It absorbs moisture well, drawing sweat away from the body and keeping you dry. Whether it's a cotton t-shirt, sheets, or a cosy cotton blanket, the breathability of cotton enhances the overall comfort level.

100% organic cotton white tee and cotton flowers on a table top.

Cotton clothing can be some of the most comfortable to wear regardless of the weather

On the other hand, polycotton blends offer their own unique comfort benefits. By combining cotton and polyester fibres, polycotton fabrics provide a balance of comfort and durability. The addition of polyester fibres increases the fabric's strength and resistance to wrinkles, making it a great choice for those seeking a low-maintenance option. The softness of the cotton fibres in the blend adds an extra layer of comfort against the skin. Polycotton garments and bedding can offer the best of both worlds, providing a pleasant and cosy feel without sacrificing durability.

When considering the comfort level of fabrics, it's also important to think about how they feel against the skin. Cotton, with its natural fibres, is often favoured for its gentle touch on sensitive skin. Its hypoallergenic properties make it less likely to cause any irritation or discomfort. Polycotton blends, with their synthetic polyester fibres, may not provide the same level of sensitivity for those with extremely delicate skin. However, many polycotton blends are designed to be soft and smooth, aiming to provide a comfortable experience for the majority of users.

Types of Polycotton and Cotton Fabrics Available

In terms of polycotton fabrics, one popular type is a blend of polyester and cotton fibres. This blend combines the best qualities of both materials, offering durability, wrinkle resistance, and easy care. Polycotton blends are often used in clothing, bed sheets, and curtains, as they are low maintenance and can withstand regular washing and wear. They also tend to be more affordable compared to 100% cotton fabrics.

Another type of polycotton fabric is a cotton-polyester blend with a higher ratio of cotton fibres. This blend retains the breathability and softness of cotton while benefiting from the added strength and durability of polyester. This type of fabric is commonly used in sportswear, casual clothing, and bedding, offering a comfortable feel and good moisture-wicking properties.

Moving on to cotton fabrics, there are several different types available, depending on the weave and finish. One popular option is plain cotton, which is lightweight, breathable, and suitable for a wide range of uses. It is often used for shirts, blouses, dresses, and children's clothing.

Another type of cotton fabric is twill, known for its diagonal ribbed pattern. Twill cotton is sturdy, durable, and resistant to wrinkles, making it ideal for pants, skirts, and jackets. It also has a softer feel compared to plain cotton.

Cotton canvas is a heavyweight cotton fabric with a tight weave, making it durable and sturdy. It is commonly used for bags, shoes, upholstery, and outdoor furniture covers. Cotton canvas is known for its excellent abrasion resistance and can withstand heavy use.

Flannel is another popular cotton fabric, ideal for colder climates and cosy clothing. It is brushed on both sides to create a soft and warm texture. Flannel is commonly used for pyjamas, shirts, and bedding, providing comfort and insulation.

In terms of finishes, there are also options such as ringspun cotton, which is made by twisting and thinning the cotton fibres for a smoother and stronger yarn. This type of cotton fabric is known for its softness and durability, making it a popular choice for garments and bed sheets.


In Conclusion

Ultimately, the type of polycotton or cotton fabric you choose will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and the intended use of the fabric. Whether you opt for the affordability and convenience of polycotton blends or the natural feel and breathability of cotton, understanding the different types available will help you make a well-informed decision.

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