Markets: Specialty Interiors
Finding the perfect fabric that fits every need can be a challenge. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to begin. The most common fibers used in today’s fabrics are polyester and cotton. But which is better? Let’s look at the attributes of both.
Fiber to Fiber
Polyester is a man-made fiber created from plastic chips that are heated to a melting point and then forced through tiny holes, called spinnerets. They can be formed into a single long strand of yarn, or into shorter fibers that can be combined with other fibers to create yarn. While polyesters can be engineered in such a way that they feel like natural fibers, they are most well-known for their ability to combine multiple properties. Strong by design, resistant to shrinking, and known for longer wear and tear, additional attributes such as wrinkle-resistance and anti-microbial effects can be added as the fiber is made.
Cottons, on the other hand, are natural yarns whose history of use can be traced back to ancient times. From clothing to sheets, many prefer cotton for its comfort and natural ecological story. Sustainable and naturally biodegradable, cotton is also known for its softness and breathability. The length of fibers used in cotton yarns can vary, as well as the type of cotton grown, giving a variety of price points and softness. The longer the cotton fiber, the more luxurious the hand feels.
With technological advances in polyester production, what used to be considered a less eco-friendly fiber is now rising as a recycling star. Today’s polyesters can be made from recycled plastics, corn, and even milk. Advances have also allowed biodegradable properties to be added to polyesters so that they are designed to break down in landfills. By putting your plastics into recycling bins, you play a part in the effort to repurpose them.
Cotton is the original eco-fiber. Twenty-nine million tons of it are produced each year, and it is one of the few renewable fibers available. While pesticides and chemicals were once a concern, cottons produced in the US must meet the same FDA regulations as the food we eat, making it extremely safe for use.
Whether you choose polyesters or cottons as your fiber of choice largely comes down to the end-use and attributes you need. Both are viable for durability and sustainability, with unique advantages to each. Milliken is proud to offer a range of innovative yet elegant textiles in both cotton and polyester fiber stories. For more information, please visit www.millikenspecialtyinteriors.com.