What is the difference between Rayon and Cotton ?

4,328 Views Updated: 31 Jan 2018
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What is the difference between Rayon and Cotton ?

Today, we have several fabric varieties available and choosing the right one becomes somewhat confusing. Rayon and cotton are two amongst the various others that are widely used. 

But what is the difference between rayon and cotton? Is there a fabric battle like rayon vs. cotton? And to be precise, let's explore what is cotton and what is rayon?

What is Rayon?

Rayon is said to be the first-ever man made fabric invented as a cheap replacement of silk. Neither is it completely artificial nor natural. Rayon's production process is quite extensive. And it's a fabric appropriate for evening gowns and dresses along with some industrial products. It's definitely breathable and is technically man-made but certainly not synthetic.

Rayon Characteristics

Being semi-synthetic, rayon is a biodegradable fiber that goes through tremendous processing. It's more prone to wrinkles and shrinkage. However, the fabric is capable of holding even the brightest colors quite beautifully. It's pretty absorbent and also pretty comfortable. Cotton is a soft and smooth fabric that fabulously imitates the characteristics of linen or silk. The texture feels nice and elegant, and one can even dye the fabric without any hassles.

cotton and rayon

(Image Courtesy: Organic Lifestyle Fabric) 

What is Cotton?

Cotton really needs no introduction. It's been in our lives since we were born. Being such a universally accepted fabric, cotton hails from the pre-historic times. Its usage isn't restricted to just a certain type of clothing, but it can beautifully blend in colors and designs alike. It's a natural material that's stronger than rayon especially when drenched. Cotton is suitable for everyone and people with even the most sensitive skin can easily wear clothes made of cotton.

More on: Cotton Tank Tops for Summer

Cotton Characteristics

The material helps you stay cool, and that's the essential characteristic. Cotton consistently draws the sweat away from the skin onto its surface to quickly evaporate and make you feel cooler and lighter. The fabric easily gets wrinkled and needs to be ironed every time before wearing. It's also prone to shrinking but holds bright colors really well. It's durability and strength makes the fabric a perfect choice. Undergarments, shirts, traditional wear, towels, bed sheets, and denim can all make use of cotton. It is a biodegradable fabric along with being breathable and soft to feel.


(Image Courtesy: Namaste Kisan)

Rayon vs. Cotton - What is the difference between Rayon and Cotton?

The fabric battle is never-ending, and despite several similarities, the two materials are also quite distinct.

#1. Cotton retains its strength even when it's wet. Whereas rayon gets out of shape upon getting damp.

#2. Cotton can be easily washed with hot water, but it's just the opposite with rayon. Cold water is more suitable.

#3. Cotton isn't highly flammable, but rayon is.

#4. Cotton isn't affected even with the high heat iron setting. While rayon requires a specific heat iron temperature.

#5. Cotton does not require much washing care and can be directly put into the washing machine. Rayon on the other side can only sustain dry-cleaning or hand washing.

However, soaking under the scorching heat or relaxing under the air conditioner at your home, both the fabrics do well when it comes to keeping you cool and fresh all day long. Other than some basic differences, both the materials are quite similar. It all depends on the individual needs that what would be suitable.

cotton vs rayon

(Image Courtesy: Stitch Fix Style)

Cotton Balls vs. Rayon Balls

Both the cotton and rayon balls can be used for the purpose of swabbing or cleaning. Both of them are pretty soft although their production process differs and they heavily contribute to environmental pollution upon disposal. As they aren't fully organic, they may also cause allergies in critical cases.

cotton vs rayon

(Image Courtesy: Stitch Fix Style)

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