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The Main Differences: Cotton Vs Polyester Thread

Cotton and Polyester are two prevalent fabrics. They are both used in many applications that are often the same, making people think that they are the same. However, there are a few differences between the two. These differences make it easy to prefer one piece of fabric over the other. Let’s take a look at cotton vs polyester thread.

The main difference between these two pieces of fabric, Cotton and Polyester, is in their making. Polyester is an artificial material that is synthetic and is made from oil products. On the other hand, Cotton is a natural sustainable fiber collected from cotton seeds. When looking for a water-resistant fabric that is also durable, Polyester would be the fabric to go for. On the other hand, cotton fabric is recommended when looking for fabric that is breathable and cool during the summer season. 

Polyester Vs Cotton Fabric Thread

Both Cotton and Polyester are common types of fabric used in t-shirt printing. They are the most go-to fabrics for décor and clothing lines. They are both popular as a result of their usability and durability. While both have unique benefits that align with what you may be looking for, they have distinct features. A few of these different features are:

  • Cotton is a natural fabric, while Polyester comes about from oil products. 
  • Polyester has a synthetic fabric that makes it less desirable. 
  • Cotton is highly preferred because it is a warm fabric and offers excellent comfort. 

While both these fabrics are used for similar purposes, one is more preferred to the other one. 

What is Cotton?

cotton sewing thread
Image Source: Amazon

Cotton is a natural fiber. It is soft and breathable, making it comfortable to have on. It has been used for so many years in the textile industry. Cotton is known for its use in so many things. It is versatile. A few things that have been made from the cotton fabric include carpets, clothing, and upholstery. It is easy to work with and most adaptable. Many home sewing enthusiasts and clothing manufacturers consider it a favorite. 

Cotton constitutes three fiber lengths. It is used in a variety of products. It also has its few advantages and disadvantages. 

A few advantages of the cotton fabric include:

  • It is breathable
  • It can absorb moisture
  • It is a fabric that is highly durable
  • One can use it for many purposes and
  • It is very soft to the skin

Besides these advantages, it also has a few disadvantages, such as not drying quickly because it is heavy, wrinkles easily, shrinks and wears out very quickly. 

What is Polyester?

Polyester Sewing Thread
Image Source: Amazon

Polyester is a synthetic material that is made from oil products. Unlike Cotton, it has a lighter texture and lasts longer. Polyester was developed in the 20th century and was introduced as a piece of fabric in 1970. Ever since its inception, it has become Cotton’s most significant competition. 

Polyester is made artificially and gives it higher durability than Cotton. It is recommended for an outdoor activity to absorb moisture and dry very quickly. 

A few advantages of the polyester fabric include:

  • It is light, lasts longer, and is easy to care for. 
  • It absorbs moisture fast, dries quickly, and is resistant to creases.

Its disadvantages include:

  • Feeling like plastic when worn, it is not breathable and feels cold to the skin
  • When exposed to too much heat, it melts and cannot be sustained. 

Features That Differentiate Between Cotton Vs Polyester Thread

What then are the features that make these two standard fabrics very different?


Cotton is one fabric known to be highly breathable. The breathability of fabric can be explained as the ability of the fabric to allow moisture to escape from the body while allowing clean air to circulate through the fibers. Because of this feature, cotton fabrics are recommended for clothing types worn next to the skin, such as underwear. 

On the other hand, Polyester has a remarkable inability to retain moisture. It becomes uncomfortable when worn during hot seasons because it melts. Since it cannot retain moisture, it sticks to the skin, making it very uncomfortable and irritable. 


Both Cotton and polyester fabrics are highly durable. The strength of the cotton fabric is that it is woven in different types of fabric. This makes Cotton heavy and gives it the ability to last long. Cotton is solid when wet. It can be washed numerous times in water and still maintain its quality without wearing off. Depending on how the Cotton is woven, it can also be incredibly soft, altering its durability. 

Polyester is also known to be highly durable. Its plastic-like features make its fiber water resilient and give it the ability to allow stains to come off quickly. It can also withstand wear and tear as it does not break down. 


You can find Cotton in different weights. It is made from different layers of fabric, which makes even the lightest piece appropriate for winter. Since One can wear Cotton in layers, it is suitable for wearing in different climates. Cotton fabrics meant for seasons like winter are heavier and warmer. However, the disadvantage of Cotton is that its ability to absorb sweat when it is too hot leaves you all chill and cold as the wetness transfers to the fabric. 

Polyester is not breathable. This makes it difficult for air to go through it. When it is too hot, the fabric cannot absorb the sweat leaving the fabric clinging to your body. The fabric is only able to keep you warm for some time. 

When it is too hot, the polyester fabric will not be able to absorb the sweat. As a result, you are not only uncomfortable. You could end up freezing.


The fluffy fiber of the cotton plant makes the cotton fabric naturally soft. It is not only soft to touch. It is also soft to the skin. This feature does not apply to all-cotton fabric, however. Some are not soft. 

Polyester, on the other hand, has no soft fiber. It is artificial and is produced from oil products. As such, it feels more like plastic. While it may not be as soft as cotton fabric, developing technologies have made it a more lovely fabric that the body can accommodate. 


While both the cotton and polyester fabrics look like they serve the same purpose, they have similarities and differences. For instance, both can be used in the clothing and textile industry but have different uses due to their feel and texture. They also come in different colors, which is also one feature that makes one more preferred to the other. 

Purchasing either of these fabrics boils down to personal preference and the use that either of them is intended for. 

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