Soft natural fabrics like cotton are a dream to wear. It is affordable and also comfortable. But sometimes, what you think is a cotton Kurti is often laced with polyester leading to lower quality material that doesn’t offer the same comfort. Knowing how to tell the differences between Cotton Vs Polycotton will help you avoid the latter when shopping. But what are the differences? How do you identify pure cotton fabric? 

The best way to visibly distinguish between cotton and Polycotton is by the fabric’s sheen. Pure cotton fabric is very matte and doesn’t shine under light. Polycotton fabric has a waxy sheen that is prominent when it’s unwashed. 

There are a lot more differences between the two fabrics. Read further to find out. 

Cotton Vs Polycotton: The Fabric Difference

The main difference between cotton and Polycotton is that cotton is natural. The fabric is wholly derived from nature, making it biodegradable and comparatively eco-friendly. 

Polycotton is a polyester and cotton mixed fabric. Polyester is a synthetic material that is derived from petroleum. Therefore, it is neither eco-friendly nor biodegradable. But when added to cotton, it gives the material some of its beneficial properties. 

Why mix polyester with cotton?

One of the main reasons for mixing these two materials is to make a more affordable fabric. Polyester is one of the cheapest fabrics that are also durable. It can withstand repeated movement and helps add longevity to cotton clothing.

Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics used for daily wear. The fabric absorbs moisture making it one of the best materials to wear during the summer. On the contrary, polyester repels water. This is why it is often used in garments worn in the rain or humid places. 

The ratio of the combination of the fabric decides how breathable Polycotton is. But in most cases, Polycotton is a breathable fabric that is a good option for summer and warm climates. 

Different manufacturers use varying ratios of the two fabrics. But the most common ratio of a mixed Polycot fabric is 65% cotton and 35% polyester.  

Which fabric is more comfortable? Cotton or Polycotton?

There are two main parameters to look at when comparing comfort – breathability, and softness. Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics available. On the other hand, Polycotton is slightly less breathable. 

Additionally, cotton is a fabric that gets softer with more use. Washing the material relaxes the fibers and makes them weaker and pliable. But, pure cotton fabric is also heavier than Polycotton. This is because the density of the fabric is more in cotton. 

So if you’re looking for lightness, then cotton is the better choice. However, Polycotton tends to be stiffer and can also bear the weight of beading work in a fancy traditional garment better than cotton. 

Since cotton is a natural crop, the quality of the fabric varies highly. Depending on the crop yield in that particular year, your cotton garment will differ. The difference in quality is not apparent in the cloth itself, but you can notice the difference in the price. Some pure cotton clothes are costly. This indicates a higher quality fabric that is likely more comfortable. 

But cheap cotton, often used for daily wear Kurtis, is made from lower-quality cotton. In these instances, the comfort offered by cotton and a polycotton fabric is pretty equal. 

Which fabric is more durable?

Pure cotton is not a durable fabric. It develops tears very quickly and is also abrasive. Because of this, pure cotton clothing might not last very long. 

On the other hand, polyester is a tear and abrasion-resistant fabric. It is commonly used in activewear for this reason. It gives wearers a wide range of movement without fear of tearing their clothes. Polycotton is not as hardy as pure polyester, but it is more durable than cotton. 

If you take two comparable cotton and polycotton garments, you can expect the cotton to weigh more. Despite this, the polycotton garment is more tear-resistant and durable. 

Another positive property of Polycotton is that it is wrinkle-resistant. Cotton, on the other hand, develops wrinkles very quickly. Because of this, you will need to iron a cotton garment on high heat or steam it to get the wrinkles out. Ironing repeatedly on high heat will lead to the faster wearing of cotton clothing. 

Though it’s unnecessary, you need to iron on low heat if you’re ironing polycotton clothing. This is because polyester has a low melting point. But because Polycotton doesn’t need to be ironed as often, the durability of the fabric increases. 

One of the worst properties of cotton is that it shrinks. After the first wash, you will notice that your cotton garment has shrunk significantly. This happens because the tension in the cotton fibers relaxes, causing the fabric to compress. This is also why cotton gets softer with use. Polycotton, however, will not shrink. It is an elastic fabric that gets rid of the shrinking quality of cotton. 

Because of this, Polycotton is a good cotton alternative for clothing for small children who grow at an exponential rate. Polycotton garments offer stretch. The tensile strength of the fabric is another reason for its durability. 

Pure cotton clothing needs much immaculate care. It should be washed in cold water and hung to dry inside-out in the shade for proper maintenance. But many cotton clothing owners don’t give cotton the care it needs. Because of this, the material seems to get old quicker. But given the care it needs, pure cotton will also last you for a long time. 

Which fabric is cheaper? 

100% pure cotton needs a lot of manpower to manufacture. Harvesting the cotton, processing the raw cotton into fibers, and processing that into fabric is long. And it is also dependent on nature. Because of this, cotton is an expensive fabric. 

Polyester is an artificial fiber. It is processed in the lab and can be made on-demand. It also takes less time and effort to synthesize polyester. Because of this, polyester is a highly cheap fabric. Polyester-cotton mixed fabrics are not as cheap as polyester. But they are more affordable than pure cotton clothing. 

It is also easier to work with and process polycotton than processing cotton into clothing. Cotton is often pre-washed so that the first shrinking can happen beforehand. Because of this, manufacturing cotton clothing is more expensive than Polycotton. 

So whether you’re buying it as just the fabric or as a manufactured outfit, polyester will be the cheaper choice. And since it also tends to last longer than cotton, it gives you a better return on investment as well. 

Which one should you choose? 

If comfort is your main condition for buying your outfit, then cotton is the best choice of material. Cotton is also timeless and can be worn for pretty much all occasions. However, if durability and affordability is your main criterion, then polycotton fabric will be the better choice for you. But, organic cotton clothes even though its a bit expensive are much more sustainable than Poly Cotton. The breathability of cotton also makes it a much better choice for the summer season and warm climates.