Written by Nectarsleep editorial team
Medically reviewed by Shahaf Neri
Last Updated on Jan 31, 2023
Rayon and cotton are two popular fabrics for sheets. While cotton is soft and breathable, rayon offers a smooth semi-synthetic feel. However, rayon and cotton are both lightweight and perfect for summer. But which is the best for you? We are here with all the information you need. In today’s article, we will give you all the differences between rayon vs cotton, so you can decide which is the right fit for you.
|Origin||Comes from chemically processed wood pulp||Comes from cotton plants|
|Strength||They become weak when they are wet||While it depends on the quality, it offers tensile strength|
|Durability||When you give it proper care, it can last for long||They are durable but can be prone to stretch out and pill|
|Softness||They are softer than any other synthetic fabrics||It is extremely soft and comfortable|
|Elasticity||Not elastic, but can be when mixed with spandex||Not very elastic, but can be when made with knit fabric|
|Absorbency||More absorbent when compared to cotton||They are very absorbent but may not dry quickly|
|Pilling||Doesn’t pill||Pills over time|
|Wrinkling||Doesn’t wrinkle easily||Wrinkles easily|
|Sustainability||Can be considered more eco-friendly than other synthetic fibers but production uses harmful chemicals||Renewable source but may not always be eco-friendly|
|Care||May need dry cleaning||It can be easily machine washed|
|Cost||Can be slightly expensive when compared to other synthetic fabrics||May be expensive depending on quality|
|Uses||Used for clothing, sheets, drapes and more||Clothing to bedding, it is used for almost everything|
This table gives you a quick overview of the differences between cotton vs rayon.
Did you know? Rayon was invented in the 1800s as a substitute for silk. And what a great substitute it is. Rayon is smooth and soft. It can also be categorized as semi-synthetic or biosynthetic. Rayon is curated from chemically processed wood or bamboo pulp to alter its physical state.
Rayon fibers are neither considered natural nor artificial. While it starts with a natural source, the chemical process regenerates it into alkali cellulose. It goes through another treatment and changes structure into cellulose xanthate. Finally, after various procedures, you get the silky smooth rayon.
Let’s understand all the disadvantages and advantages of rayon.
Let’s understand more about the popular types of rayon.
Viscose is an alternative to cotton or polyester. It is also a durable option when compared to silk. It is quite popular in the fashion industry, where it is used to weave draped skirts or dresses, soft blouses, and more. That said, bedding made of viscose is in demand too.
Modal is a breathable alternative to cotton used to make activewear. From pajamas to robes to sheets, they are everywhere. Modal and viscose have the same process. However, with modal, there is an additional process where it is turned into something more potent than viscose.
Lyocell is another semi-synthetic rayon fabric, regenerated cellulose made of a dissolving pump. It is used for clothing, sheets, and so much more. It shares the properties of cotton, silk, and linen. It was developed in 1972 but gained popularity only in the 20th Century. The fabric is soft to the touch and also strong.
Did you know? The word cotton is derived from the Arabic word quton, and the earliest production of cotton dates back to the fifth millennium BC when it was grown in India.
Cotton is a soft and fluffy fiber that grows in small balls. This is pure cellulose spun into yarn to make soft and breathable textiles. It is a staple textile today. From being in the fashion industry's center to being used in the making of towels, sheets, and more, cotton is a durable material. Today, a variety of cotton sheets are available whose prices vary depending on their quality.
Caring for cotton is relatively easy; more often than not, it can be machine washed. However, it is essential to know that they can wrinkle very easily.
Let’s understand cotton's pros and cons and see if it is the right fabric for you!
Some of the most popular cotton sheet types include;
Pima is an ultra-soft fabric made of long cotton fibers. It is an ELS or extra-long staple, which means the quality of this cotton is high. They are made of fibers longer than 34 millimeters. Pima comes from a particular type of cotton plant, Gossypium barbadense, found in tropical areas.
Pima is a rich and luxurious fabric, which can be heavy on the pocket. But since it is durable and resistant to pilling, it can be an investment.
When it comes to luxurious sheets, Egyptian sheets take the cake! Due to the superiority it offers, Egyptian sheets can be expensive. Egyptian cotton is grown under unique climate conditions and is probably the strongest, softest, and most beautiful worldwide. Egyptian cotton sheets are extra-long staples and have a higher thread count. If you want luxury, you cannot go wrong with Egyptian cotton.
Also known as Mexican cotton, is native to Americans and was discovered in Mexico about 5,000 years ago. It is short and medium staple cotton. People tend to think it is a cheaper type of cotton. However, it comes with rougher threads and may not be as soft as some other types.
Organic cotton is grown using methods that don’t harm the environment. It doesn’t have any pesticides and is a sustainable option. Organic cotton sheets are incredibly soft and feel luxe.
Let’s walk through some of the differences between rayon and cotton. While cotton has been around for ages, it was only in the 1880s that rayon came into existence. The cotton textile comes from the cotton plant, whereas rayon comes from the wood chips of different trees.
Fiber: Cotton is an all-natural fiber, whereas rayon is part natural and part synthetic. But the drawback of the cotton fabric is that you need a lot of water to grow and nurture the cotton plant. Hence, it is not too eco-friendly.
If you are looking for something durable and stronger, cotton is your best choice as it is stronger when compared to rayon. In fact, cotton clothes such as t-shirts or dresses tend to last longer and remain fresh even after several washes. Rayon, on the other hand, has great tensile strength when it is dry but gets weaker when wet. It can lead to stretching, shrinking, and even tearing when exposed to moisture. However, this is not the case with cotton.
Regarding durability, both rayon and cotton are average in nature. While they are durable, they may only last for a while. That said, cotton has a tough cellular structure compared to rayon, so it has good durability. But prone to pilling and may also fade over time.
If you are looking for the softest fabric in town, you cannot go wrong with cotton. However, rayon has a silky surface, feels smooth against the skin, and is not very soft. But when you compare rayon with other synthetic fabrics, it is probably the softest of the lot.
Cotton is more elastic compared to rayon. While cotton can stretch up to 5% of its length, rayon doesn’t. Sometimes, makers create rayon with a blend of spandex, and here it becomes elastic.
Both materials have good absorbency, but when compared, rayon is better. You must have noticed how cotton clothes soak any perspiration. In fact, if it is loosely woven cotton, the threads tend to hold on to the moisture for a long time. Whereas rayon absorbs moisture well.
When you compare rayon with cheap quality cotton, the former’s pilling is better. However, compared with high-quality cotton, it sustains without pilling for a very long time.
Cotton fabric tends to wrinkle very quickly, and that’s not the case with rayon. It is excellent when it comes to wrinkle and fade resistance. But if it is exposed to too much moisture or heat, it can get damaged easily.
When we compare it with the form of production, rayon can be categorized as sustainable. But, it can lead to deforestation and its production needs chemicals. Cotton is all-natural and a renewable resource.
Cotton is easy to care for and can be machine-washed hassle-free, at least in most cases. However, that’s not the case with rayon; dry cleaning may be necessary here.
It all depends on the quality! If you compare cheaper quality cotton with higher quality rayon, the latter is more expensive. But when it comes to sheets, cotton sheets are expensive when compared to rayon.
Both cotton and rayon are used to make a variety of things. From clothes to sheets and more. But cotton is more versatile when compared to rayon.
Now you are well aware of all the differences between rayon vs cotton. While rayon and cotton are derived from plants and trees, rayon is not ideal for the environment. Cotton is a natural fiber, breathable and hypoallergenic, however, it contains pesticides and uses lots of water to grow. Here, organic cotton can be an ideal option.
|Twin||38”W x 75”L x 12”H||39 LBS|
|Twin XL||38”W x 80”L x 12”H||42 LBS|
|Full||54”W x 75”L x 12”H||54 LBS|
|Queen||60”W x 80”L x 12”H||66 LBS|
|King||76”W x 80”L x 12”H||83 LBS|
|Cal King||72”W x 84”L x 12”H||82 LBS|
|Split King||76”W x 80”L x 12”H||84 LBS|