Difference Between Rayon And Cotton

Difference Between Rayon And Cotton

When any topic of fabrics come into play, rayon and cotton are the firsts that come into mind because of their versatile use and nexus with almost all kinds of industries in the world. Rayon and cotton may come across as similar to people who do not have relevant knowledge or eye for fabric materials. Still, they have some key differences to set them apart. Be it their texture, longevity, elasticity, or durability, rayon vs. cotton is a closely fought battle.

Basic Build and Origin

Rayon is produced from cellulose fiber and is not naturally conceived entirely. However, it is not entirely synthetic owing to some of its produce extracts derived from natural sources. On the other hand, cotton is entirely produced by plants. This is one of the reasons why the basic builds of both these materials are significantly different in the carbon footprint contribution statistics of the world.

Cotton also has a rich history, even older than silk, and covered the world’s textile business from ancient times. Rayon is reasonably recent, and its manufacturing became prevalent during the Industrial Revolution in Europe and parts of America.

Cleaning Methods

Garments made from rayon need to be dry cleaned at regular intervals as rinsing them or giving them a regular wash can damage the cellulose fibers. Also, rayon tends to attract more dirt than cotton clothes, which makes upkeeping rayon products more expensive in the long run. On the other hand, cotton garments are the easiest to wash and quickest to dry, even in humid climates. Moreover, cotton is a breathable fabric and is mostly opted for during the summer season. For example, denim or corduroy jeans are the most sought after lower garments due to their comfortability, ventilation, and easy-to-wash feature that is mostly because of their parent material: cotton.

Fiber Strength

This is one of the most important factors one must keep in mind while considering material types. Even when dry or in the wet state, cotton fibers are more robust than rayon ones. This is because cotton fibers contract and strengthen when exposed to water, which is the opposite in rayon, as cellulose fibers tend to weaken upon exposure to water.


Cotton does not have flammable properties, which is the opposite of rayon, which is highly flammable. Cotton rugs are often used to put out small fires.


Considering this aspect only relative to garments’ subject, cotton clothes can be ironed quickly at suitable temperatures, according to requirements of the wearer or instructions provided by the manufacturer. However, rayon clothes are seldom advised to iron. In case, ironing rayon clothes are necessary; it must be done at very low temperatures.


Cotton finds use in the textile or lifestyle industry and is exceptionally prevalent in the medical industry. Cotton swabs, cleansing items are all manufactured from cotton because of its high absorbing capacity, which is not in the case of rayon. Rayon’s fibers repel water or any other liquid source because of the features of its molecular properties.

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