/ Polyester vs Cotton: When Should You Wear Polyester and When Should You Wear Cotton in Malaysia?
Polyester vs Cotton: When Should You Wear Polyester and When Should You Wear Cotton in Malaysia?

Polyester is probably one of the most popular synthetic fabrics used for clothing in Malaysia. If you have ever bought a shirt with a 100% polyester label on it, you might have asked yourself:

How do polyester fabrics compare with the more commonly used cotton fabrics?

What are the main differences between wearing clothes made with polyester and clothes made with cotton?

And more importantly:

When is the best time to wear polyester and when is the best time to wear cotton?

In this article, we’ll help you better understand the characteristics, pros and cons of each of these fabrics you’ve known and loved.

First, let’s get to know what each material is made from and how they are usually manufactured:

What’s Polyester and How are Polyester Fabrics Made?

Some may not know this, but polyester is a synthetic material that’s made from plastic, a petroleum by-product. Polyester fibers are made using a spinning process which produces polyester filaments. The polyester filaments are then knitted into fabrics ready to be made into clothes.

These days, it’s even become possible to manufacture polyester fabrics using plastic bottles, making polyester one of the more environmentally friendly synthetic fabrics in the market. Polyester’s synthetic properties make it a popular choice when it comes to athletic wear.

What’s Cotton and How are Cotton Fabrics Made?

Cotton is the most popular fabric in the world. This isn’t surprising since it’s been around for over 7,000 years now. Made from the natural fibers of the cotton plant, cotton fabrics are soft and comfortable.

The soft cotton fibers are twisted or spun into yarns that can be used to make all kinds of items like linens, clothes and curtains. As a clothing fabric, cotton’s characteristics make it best used as casual wear.

The manufacturing process of cotton fabrics has come under worldwide scrutiny, however. While the cotton fabric is considered a natural product, the process to make it is water and chemical-intensive one. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has highlighted the impact of cotton manufacturing on water pollution, and soil erosion.

5 Advantages Polyester Has Over Cotton

What are polyester’s superior qualities when compared with cotton? Let's take a look:

Polyester dries quicker than cotton

Polyester fabrics wick away sweat from your skin whereas cotton absorbs it into itself. This makes polyester fabrics much more suitable for occasions where a quick drying feature is needed.

Polyester is more durable than cotton

Being a synthetic fiber, polyester fibers are much more durable compared than the naturally weak cotton fibers. While you can wash both polyester and cotton in the washing machine, polyester clothes are more likely to retain their shape even after many washes.

Polyester can be more environmentally friendly than cotton

This may come as a surprise to some, but producing polyester can be more environmentally friendly compared with producing cotton. As we've already seen, cotton's manufacturing process involves the use of a large amount of water and chemicals. Polyester, on the other hand, can be manufactured using waste plastics.

Polyester takes on color dyes better than cotton

Polyester's synthetic fibers take on most dye colors easily. For shirt customization enthusiasts, polyester is the material of choice when selecting materials that can showcase bright and vibrant colors.

Polyester is lighter than cotton

Polyesters have a lower density compared with cotton. This makes clothing made with polyester a lot lighter than those made from cotton, making it useful for performance-enhancing during sports.

5 Advantages Cotton Has Over Polyester

Now that you've seen what makes polyester superior to cotton, let's take a look at the areas in which cotton fabrics score higher than polyester:

Cotton is more breathable than polyester

Thanks to its natural fibers, cotton is a more breathable fabric compared with polyester. 

Cotton is softer than polyester

Thanks to its soft, natural fibers, shirts made with cotton are one of the most comfortable. Cotton shirts are perfect for casual outings or the cool indoors. 

Cotton is biodegradable 

While cotton fabrics take up a lot of water and chemicals to produce, cotton's natural fibers make it more easily biodegradable compared polyester when processed as waste.

Cotton gives you less stench

Cotton absorbs your sweat, so you won’t smell as bad after a workout compared to polyester. For active Malaysians who can't stand their own body odor after an intense workout, you might just want to pack up on cotton sports wear.

Cotton is more suitable for sensitive skin

Unlike synthetic fibers like polyester which are made of materials that may cause skin reactions, cotton shirts are more suited for people with sensitive skin. Wearing cotton shirts give you a worry-free and comfortable experience.


Polyester is your fabric of choice superior fabric if you are looking for a quick dry, durable fabric, then polyester is a good fabric for you. It's one of the best fabrics for athletic wear or when you want to keep cool on a hot and sunny day. They're also pretty lightweight and suitable for a short stroll around the park or when going for outdoor activities.

On the other hand, cotton is a natural, soft fabric that’s good for casual wear. Cotton fibers don't get the stench that sticks with polyester fibers. It's also a good choice for those with sensitive skin.

Unfortunately, no fabric is perfect. Each fabric has its advantages and drawbacks. The type of fabric you choose will mostly depend on what you’re using it for. 

Where to Buy 100% Polyester and 100% Cotton Clothing in Malaysia?

There are lots of places and brands. We are also one of them.

What makes Boxy so well-loved by customers?

  • Great value for price and quality - we strive to create the best balance
  • A good collection of shirts and colors
  • Modern design Asian fit
  • Quality shirt Satisfaction guaranteed

Here are some of Boxy's bestselling polyester and cotton shirts:

Boxy's Bestselling 100% Polyester Shirts

Boxy's 100% Polyester Shirts are our bestsellers. While Boxy’s 100% polyester shirts are used as athletic wear, a good portion of our customers actually wear them as casual wear.

Explore our collection of Polyester Microfiber shirts here.

Boxy Black Microfiber U-Neck Plain T-shirt

Boxy's Bestselling 100% Cotton Shirts

Our 100% Cotton Tees are made with premium cotton, guaranteed to provide you with maximum comfort and satisfaction. Check out our cotton shirts here!

Boxy White Premium Cotton Plain Tee