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Cotton vs. Polycotton: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 18, 2024
Cotton is a natural fiber derived from cotton plants, while polycotton is a blend of cotton and synthetic polyester fibers.

Key Differences

Cotton, a natural fiber, is known for its breathability and softness, making it a popular choice for comfortable clothing. Polycotton, on the other hand, combines cotton with synthetic polyester, resulting in a fabric that merges the qualities of both materials.
The durability of cotton is appreciated in textiles, offering a gentle touch on the skin. Polycotton enhances this durability by integrating polyester, which adds strength and reduces shrinkage and wrinkles compared to pure cotton.
Cotton's ability to absorb moisture makes it ideal for summer wear. Polycotton, while less absorbent than pure cotton, dries faster due to the polyester content, making it a practical choice for a range of uses.
Cotton fabrics are environmentally friendly due to their natural origin, but they require more care, including ironing and careful washing. Polycotton, being partly synthetic, is easier to care for, requiring less ironing and offering greater resistance to fading.
In terms of cost, cotton can vary based on quality, often costing more than polycotton. Polycotton, being a blend, is generally more affordable, providing a cost-effective alternative that still retains many of cotton's desirable properties.

Comparison Chart


Natural fiber
Blend of cotton and polyester


Good, varies by weave
Enhanced by polyester

Moisture Absorption

Less than cotton

Care Requirements

Higher, prone to wrinkles
Easier, wrinkle-resistant


Generally higher
More affordable

Cotton and Polycotton Definitions


A soft, fluffy fiber from cotton plants.
The cotton dress was perfect for the hot summer day.


Fabric known for combining comfort and resilience.
Polycotton bed sheets provided both softness and durability.


Thread or yarn made from cotton fibers.
He bought cotton thread for his sewing project.


A fabric blend of polyester and cotton.
The polycotton curtains offered durability and ease of care.


Material made from spun cotton fibers.
She preferred cotton sheets for their natural comfort.


A choice for cost-effective, versatile fabric.
The polycotton tablecloth was affordable and easy to maintain.


Informal term for feeling comfortable or familiar.
She cottoned to the new environment quickly.


A textile used in various clothing due to its blended properties.
The polycotton t-shirts were popular for their balance of comfort and longevity.


A term for items made predominantly from cotton.
Their cotton products were known for their quality.


Material characterized by mixed fiber qualities.
Their polycotton blend was perfect for wrinkle-resistant clothing.


Any of various shrubby plants of the genus Gossypium, having showy flowers and grown for the soft white downy fibers surrounding oil-rich seeds.


A fabric made from a blend of cotton and artificial fibres, especially of polyester fibres


The fiber of any of these plants, used in making textiles and other products.


What is cotton?

Cotton is a natural, soft fiber grown on cotton plants, used extensively in textiles.

Is cotton breathable?

Yes, cotton is highly breathable, making it ideal for warm climates.

Does polycotton shrink?

Polycotton is less prone to shrinking compared to pure cotton due to the polyester content.

How durable is cotton fabric?

Cotton is durable but can vary depending on the weave and quality.

Is cotton environmentally friendly?

Yes, cotton is biodegradable and sourced from natural plants, making it environmentally friendly.

Can cotton absorb moisture?

Cotton is excellent at absorbing moisture, making it comfortable against the skin.

Is polycotton suitable for sensitive skin?

Polycotton can be suitable, but pure cotton is often better for very sensitive skin.

What is polycotton?

Polycotton is a blended fabric combining cotton and polyester fibers.

Does cotton wrinkle easily?

Yes, cotton tends to wrinkle and may require ironing.

Is cotton good for allergy sufferers?

Yes, its natural properties make it hypoallergenic and good for allergies.

Are polycotton fabrics wrinkle-resistant?

Yes, the polyester in polycotton helps reduce wrinkles.

Is polycotton easy to care for?

Yes, polycotton is easy to care for, requiring less ironing and being more resistant to fading.

Is polycotton good for outdoor use?

Yes, its durability makes it suitable for outdoor use.

Does polycotton have the same environmental impact as cotton?

No, polycotton has a different impact due to the inclusion of synthetic polyester.

Does polycotton stretch?

Polycotton can stretch slightly, but not as much as fabrics with elastane.

Can polycotton be recycled?

Recycling polycotton can be challenging due to its mixed fiber composition.

How does polycotton compare in cost to cotton?

Polycotton is generally more affordable than pure cotton.

How does cotton impact skin comfort?

Cotton is generally very comfortable against the skin, reducing irritation.

Can cotton be blended with other fibers?

Yes, cotton is often blended with materials like polyester and linen.

Is cotton suitable for all types of clothing?

Cotton is versatile but may not be ideal for all clothing types, especially those requiring stretch.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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