For us, clothing decorators understand the advantages and disadvantages of cotton and polyester fabrics, and of course the advantages and disadvantages of cotton/polyester blended fabrics are very important to us.
Both types have their pros and cons. Knowing these facts will help you narrow down which fabric type is best for your customers.
Cotton is the most widely used natural fabric in global apparel manufacturing. As a natural fiber, cotton is a renewable resource and biodegradable.
Compared with synthetic fibers such as polyester, natural fibers tend to be more expensive and are not the best choice when trying to reduce the cost of promotional items.
The biggest advantage of cotton is its good air permeability. In hot weather, it is an excellent choice to keep your body cool. Although it may hold moisture for longer than polyester, it is actually a way to keep the body cool in hot weather.
When choosing this fabric for your next order, remember the end use of the garment.
Do you decorate athletes who need breathable and flexible fabrics? Or are you decorating for electricians or welders who need a fabric that will not melt to the skin when exposed to sparks? You will find that cotton is the best choice for these occupations.
As we mentioned, cotton can hold it’s fair share of moisture, which can be a problem for heat-applied transfers. The reason is because moisture is released as steam as the heat press raises it to a high temperature.
Not removing enough of the moisture will cause the adhesive to not attach to the fabric fibers properly. Your solution is to pre-press your fabric a little longer than normal to ensure all moisture is removed from the fabric before applying your transfer.
Advantages of Cotton
- Natural fibers free of chemicals
- Breathable – Great option for hot weather
- Hypoallergenic and does not irritate skin
- Burns as opposed to melts like polyester
Disadvantages of Cotton
- Natural fibers wear down faster
- Holds moisture longer (can be an advantage in hot weather)
- Prone to shrinking
Polyester, being a synthetic fiber, is a less expensive option and has many benefits that cotton does not. It has strong fibers that do not wear down as quickly, while being flexible and resistant to wrinkles and shrinking. Unlike cotton, polyester dries quickly which makes it perfect for colder weather and sports where you don’t want moist fabric against your skin.
Polyester is very popular among athletes for it’s moisture-wicking properties, strong fibers, and light weight feel. For heat printers, taking precaution when decorating polyester is a must.
It is usually temperature sensitive, so low temperature heat transfers like Elasti Prints are needed to reduce or prevent scorching.
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