Cotton vs Nylon: Understanding the Differences

Key Difference – Cotton vs Nylon

Cotton and nylon are two types of fibers that are commonly used in the textile industry. The main difference between cotton and nylon is that cotton is a natural fiber obtained from the cotton plant, while nylon is a synthetic fiber created using dicarboxylic acid and diamine.

What is Cotton?

Cotton is one of the most widely used natural fibers in the textile industry. It is derived from the seeds of the cotton plant and is composed of cellulose, pectin, water, and wax. Cotton is utilized to produce various garments, including shirts, dresses, t-shirts, towels, robes, and underwear.

This fabric is lightweight, soft, and breathable, making it ideal for warm climates. Cotton garments can keep their wearer cool throughout the day, making it suitable for lightweight and casual outdoor and indoor wear. As it is made from natural raw materials, it does not cause any skin irritations or allergies, and even people with ultra-sensitive skin can wear cotton.

However, there are also some disadvantages to cotton. Since it is a natural fiber, it is prone to shrinkage and wrinkles. Thus, cotton garments must be carefully maintained. They should be washed in cold water to prevent shrinkage and ironed using high steam to eliminate wrinkles. Excessive heat when drying can also damage the fabric. Cotton is often combined with other fibers such as polyester, rayon, and linen to produce stronger and more durable fabrics.

What is Nylon?

Nylon is a synthetic fiber manufactured using dicarboxylic acid and diamine. It is widely used in making fabrics, particularly for garments such as leggings, stockings, swimwear, and athletic wear. Nylon is also utilized to produce parachutes, ropes, bags, carpets, tires, tents, and similar products. It was first produced by Wallace Carothers at the DuPont Experimental Station and gained popularity due to the shortage of natural fibers like silk and cotton during World War II.

Nylon has a low absorbency rate, making it ideal for swimwear and athletic wear. It is also less expensive than natural fibers like cotton and silk and is easy to maintain. Nylon does not form wrinkles and creases easily and maintains its shape even after being washed. It is also resistant to stains. Nylon is a strong and durable fabric.

Key Takeaways

  • Cotton is a natural fiber, while nylon is a synthetic fiber.
  • Cotton is soft and breathable, but may wrinkle and shrink; nylon is strong, durable, and resistant to wrinkles and stains.
  • Cotton is generally more expensive than nylon, and may be more suitable for those with sensitive skin or allergies.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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