what are the differences between 100% cotton and poly-cotton blend fabrics? To start with, a poly-cotton blend is just what its name suggests: a fabric that is made up of cotton and polyester fibers. The ratio varies, with 65% cotton and 35% polyester being the most common. 50/50 blends are also easily found. The blend is designed to afford the advantages of both the cotton and polyester fibers into one fabric.
100% cotton is a fully breathable fabric, which means that it can be cooler to wear in hot conditions. However, as the thickness increases, the breathability decreases. 100% cotton tends to rip and wear out easily, depending on the weave. Cotton canvas is a very durable and abrasion-resistant fabric, but it is very thick and heavy. In regards to safety, cotton fibers that have not been treated for fire-resistance will tend to burn away where polyester will melt. As a natural fiber, 100% cotton garments also tend to be a bit more expensive than the synthetic counterparts.
Polyester has an equal number of advantages and disadvantages as cotton
Polyester does not breathe and has a tendency to stick to the skin once perspiration begins. In regard to durability, polyester is a more elastic fiber and therefore tends to be tear resistant. However, it does not tend to be as abrasion-resistant as cotton canvas. As polyester is not dependent upon the forces of nature for a successful harvest, it is usually considerably cheaper than 100% cotton.
A fabric made from a poly cotton blend combines the strengths of the two fibers. Poly cotton garments are breathable, tear-resistant, and can be fashioned into abrasion-resistant fabrics, like canvas. While not as inexpensive as pure polyester, poly cotton blends do tend to cost less than comparable fabrics made of 100% cotton and they provide much more comfort.