Join the Polyester vs Cotton discussion

Are you confused about the polyester vs cotton fabric debate?

Let us explain the key properties of each fabric to you.

Join the Polyester vs Cotton discussion  FREE EBOOK Thinking New School Uniforms? Where To Start


  • Soft yet strong – often designed with less abrasive fibres so feels soft but is also sturdy
  • Easy to dye – the fibres of cotton allow truer, even colours when dying 
  • Breathable – can allow for sweat evaporation so it can therefore be cooling to wear
  • Great for sensitive skin as its less likely to irritate
  • Biodegradable - this means it breaks down over time but consequently isn’t as durable as polyester 
  • Some garments made from cotton can fluff and pill over time – washing inside out reduces this 
  • More likely to fade if not cared properly 
  • More likely to shrink or change shape if not cared properly 



  • Durable – it is a resilient man-made fibre, that sometimes is made from recycled plastic bottles 
  • Dries quickly - less perspiration marks 
  • Crease resistant – which means no ironing
  • Less likely to fade when washed
  • Holds onto odours and stains more 
  • Can be moisture wicking away from the skin – this means its technically not as cooling as cotton but leaves you feeling drier 
  • Keeps you warm in cooler weather


Poly-Cotton blend

Often garments are made from a mixture of fabrics to achieve the most practical garment. A poly-cotton blend is common as it combines the benefits of both fabrics. Garments are less likely to shrink, more breathable than 100% polyester and they are strong, and comfortable to wear. A blend is a great option for work-wear as is comfortable to wear and easy to launder.

No one-fits-all option

There is no one answer to which fabric is best as they can be produced in all different ways! The weighting and weaving of fibres in cotton and polyester can vary and change the end properties of the fabric. For example, a thick cotton canvas fabric isn’t going to be as cool to wear a sheer polyester fabric despite cotton being known as the cooler fabric to wear. 

The choice of fabric or fabric blend also depends on the intended use of the garment. There will be a different fabric requirement for clothing intended for indoor wear vs outdoor wear, vs for people being more active in their jobs. 

Also, as we are often time poor it is important to think about the care these different fabrics require. Will garments have to be machine-washed, hand washed or dry-cleaned? Or does the material need ironing? 


When choosing your work wear or school uniforms take the time to go through the fabrics and get advice on the right materials for your uniforms. Devon Clothing has carefully selected its fabrics for different garments from ethical, high quality sources. Read more on our ethical sourcing and sustainability guidelines  here.

Devon Clothing only source fabrics that comply with the OEKO-TEX 100 Standard


For all your uniform needs trust Devon Clothing. Feel free to contact us for further information.

Thinking New School Uniforms? Where To Start

For over 30 years Devon Clothing, a proudly Australian business, has been a leading School uniform designer, manufacturer and supplier to schools around Australia.