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What’s The Difference Between Nylon And Cotton?

We compare cotton and nylon to find the best and most affordable textiles for our undertaking. Most of us know the basics about the types of fabrics with which we are most experienced and at ease. When we encounter a new style or texture in a textile, we will research its specifics. But how well do we know even the most commonplace fabrics? Cotton and nylon, the two most ubiquitous and fundamental textiles in modern use, have many applications.

Key Difference – Cotton vs Nylon

Cotton and nylon are two fibers that are widely used in the textile industry. The key difference between cotton and nylon is the fact that cotton is a natural fiber obtained from the cotton plant whereas nylon is a synthetic fiber produced by using dicarboxylic acid and diamine. 

What is Cotton?

For its versatility and affordability, cotton has become one of the textile industry's go-to natural fibres. Cotton is a fibrous plant fibre that contains cellulose, pectin, water, and wax and is harvested from the plant's seeds. Cotton is used to make many different types of clothing, including shirts, dresses, T-shirts, towels, robes, underwear, and more.

This is a great summer fabric because it is airy, lightweight, and comfortable. Wearing cotton clothing is an excellent way to maintain comfort in hot weather. As a result, it's used to create airy, casual garments that can be worn both indoors and out. Cotton, being produced from all-natural materials, is safe to be worn by even those with the most sensitive skin.

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Yet cotton is not without its drawbacks. Because it is made from natural materials, it can shrink and wrinkle. In light of this, cotton clothing requires special care. Avoid shrinkage by washing in cold water and get rid of wrinkles with a hot steam iron. Fabrics can also be harmed by being dried in extremely hot conditions. When weaving a more robust and long-lasting fabric, cotton is frequently blended with other fibres like polyester, rayon, and linen.

What is Nylon?

Synthetic fibre nylon is created from dicarboxylic acid and diamine. Fabric manufacturers rely heavily on it. Leggings, stockings, swimwear, and athletic wear are just some of the many garments that can benefit from nylon fabric. Parachutes, ropes, bags, carpets, tyres, tents, and other similar items are also made from it. Wallace Carothers created nylon at the DuPont Experimental Station. Due to the wartime scarcity of natural fibres like silk and cotton, it quickly became a popular alternative.

Compared to other fabrics, nylon has a very low rate of absorption, making it perfect for use in swimwear and athletic apparel. It's simple to care for and much more affordable than natural fibres like cotton and silk. It resists the development of wrinkles and creases and keeps its form after being washed. It's also not easily damaged by bacteria or viruses. Strong and long-lasting, nylon is an excellent choice for any clothing.

FAQs About Nylon And Cotton

The fashion saying goes, the tighter to the body the less breathable the material. That saying holds true for nylon and cotton. While some cotton may be woven to be tight to the body, it is still more breathable than nylon. That is one of the drawbacks of synthetic materials.

They just don't breathe that well and cannot match up with cotton or other natural fibers in this category. Nylon is made to be close to your skin as it wicks away moisture quite well but that and its tight fibers mean that your body will get hotter when wearing this fabric.

Since cotton can be woven or knitted into different weights, thicknesses and has a natural ability to breathe, it is the better fabric here. Nylon is more for those activities that require a lot of physical movement like cycling, team sports, swimming while cotton handles how you look after the games are over.

It stands to reason that if cotton breathes well it is not going to keep you as warm as other fabrics will. This is true in this category as cotton needs layers to keep you as warm as nylon can. Nylon may be able to wick away moisture and keep you drier but it does not let the heat out and allow you to cool off as you go.

Cotton will absorb your sweat and the rain and once it has done that, it loses all of its insulating powers. When that happens the cold air takes advantage and creeps right through the clothing and chills you.

Nylon, in most cases, has a tighter weave than cotton does. That tightness removes any escape routes heat might have had if the weave was looser. Without those escape routes, heat has nowhere to go but stay close to your body. You get hotter with nylon and that is only good when it is cold outside or in the gym.

This is one of those dreaded questions. The sun can be a powerful object when fabrics are exposed to its rays for some time. Its rays affect almost all fabrics in some way unless they have been treated chemically.

But with cotton whether it has been treated or not, and if nylon has been treated or not, it will fade faster. Of course, if you compare treated cotton to untreated nylon the results may be different.

Fading has been an issue for quite some time. The different clothing manufacturers have spent years researching, testing, and examining this issue. The result of all this work is that they have found certain chemicals that help preserve the dye and keep the fabrics looking good.

If you do not want any fading taking place, look for those clothing items that are treated to be colorfast, etc. One word of warning though, do not assume they have all been treated in this manner. It is often hit and miss with cotton.

We prefer wearing cotton clothes than nylon clothes in summers because cotton absorbs more sweat and evaporates by taking the heat energy required for sweat to evaporate from our body. It makes us feel comfortable and cool.

Yes. Nylon is also not a good fabric for you to wear either. Nylon does not absorb moisture so sweat is trapped against your skin, which creates a breeding ground for odour and fungal infection. An irritant known as formaldehyde is also found in nylon and has been linked to skin irritation and eye problems.

Cotton Versus Nylon: The Differences

It can take a lot of time to figure out whether or not the wholesale fabrics you found online are the right ones for your project. When deciding between cotton and nylon, for example, it helps to have a firm grasp on the distinctions between the two fabrics. Cotton, in contrast to nylon, is a synthetic fibre and therefore cannot be grown in nature. Nylon, on the other hand, is completely artificial. Fabrics made of nylon are typically more durable or resistant to moisture, such as the ballistic nylon used in tactical vests or the nylon packcloth used in banner signs. Cotton is a versatile fabric that can be used for anything from casual wear to canvases for artists due to its softness and breathability. Just like there are countless different nylon fabrics, the options for cotton are practically limitless.

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Cotton Varieties Are Versatile

The potential applications for cotton are vast. Whether you need a cotton based canvas fabric for a set of cornhole bags for an upcoming game or a durable, cost-efficient fabric like cotton duck fabric for an upcoming project like a sturdy canvas bag, you can find what you need with minimal research and ease. When it comes to durability, cotton duck cloth can be found in a number of different iterations. If you're making outdoor cushions or similar items that need to last, our heavyweight cotton duck fabric is an excellent choice. Your goal may be to construct an outdoor cover that can withstand any weather, in which case our waxed duck cloth canvas fabric would be the best option.

Cotton: When Affordability And Sustainability Matter

Cotton, being a natural fibre, is typically more expensive than nylon. The cotton's processing and durability might make it the ideal fabric for your more labor-intensive endeavours. Cotton blackout fabric, for instance, is useful for preserving priceless or rare artefacts. Cotton production also results in less waste than nylon. Being a natural material, it decomposes much more easily than synthetics like nylon. The manufacturing process is more eco-friendly than that of nylon fabrics. Nylon, however, triumphs when it comes to saving money.

Nylon: The Basics Of This Man-Made Textile

As previously stated, nylon is a man-made, synthetic fabric. It was first put to commercial use in toothbrushes after its discovery in 1938, but today, its applications have expanded greatly. Our nylon packcloth is versatile enough to be used for anything from a simple wallet to fancy furniture upholstery. Nylon can also be used to make a durable travel bag that can withstand frequent use because it is both flexible and less water absorbent than cotton. Being synthetic, it continues to be less expensive than cotton. Nylon's versatility and durability make it a potential winner over cotton in a number of situations. Nylon was developed to outlast cotton, and its many properties are routinely tested to ensure that it will do so.

Nylon’s Impressive Durability

Cotton and nylon have almost completely dissimilar constraints. Nylon has been chemically modified and manipulated since its inception to make it more robust and distinctive from other textiles. When compared to cotton, which is typically found in more basic goods, it has an intriguing versatility factor. Since cotton's natural fibres deteriorate more quickly than nylon's, nylon is also a superior material in terms of durability. Ballistic nylon (1680D) has greater resistance to abrasion and a higher tensile strength than the majority of our cotton options. Nylon was developed to outlast more delicate materials like cotton.

How Cotton and Nylon Add Up

Nylon was developed to be a more durable and affordable alternative to cotton, which has a reputation for being an antiquated fabric. Nylon textiles may be more expensive than cotton textiles, but the final decision should be made based on your individual preferences and needs. Both fabrics have the potential to meet your needs, whether you want something long-lasting or something that can handle the indoor and outdoor environments. Cotton and nylon, respectively, would both be wonderful and dependable additions to whatever it is you're working on right now or plan to work on in the future.

The Pros and Cons of Both Fabrics

You have observed numerous distinctions between the two fabrics. Considering the pros and cons of each material is the next step. You can use these benefits and drawbacks to choose the best application for each fabric, or to determine if a hybrid solution is best for your needs.



  • This material is very strong and cuts your risk down
  • It resists tears and abrasions that weaken other fabrics- it is almost impossible to rip this material
  • The fabric resists wrinkles and shrinking when washed- just keep the heat down
  • Doesn’t absorb a lot of moisture-this makes nylon fast drying


  • Does not breathe very well - which makes it good for cooler weather
  • May pill a lot when washed - avoid washing it with lint releasing fabrics
  • Doesn’t like the heat - it melts when it gets too close to a flame or high dryer heat


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  • It is a soft and comfortable material - once broken in it conforms to your body.
  • Cotton is very colorful - you have an unlimited range of colors to choose from as well as designs and patterns.


  • The material tears easily - that is another factor that cuts its life short.

Some Final Words

Cotton is a fantastic fabric that can be found practically anywhere. Its adaptability and low cost are well-known, with the exception of premium cotton options. There are uses for both fabrics, but nylon is the superior option in some situations. Nonetheless, it won't replace cotton anytime soon and can't be used in every situation.

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