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Cotton Vs. Poplin: Compared

There are many types of fabrics that we are so familiar with. Every material has different characteristics, such as texture, breathability, softness, durability, etc. Most probably, many of you, before purchasing any outfit, pay attention to the material that it is made of. It determines the quality of the garment, though. I am the type of person that loves buying different types of garments made of other materials, but I usually prefer wearing cotton clothes due to many reasons. What about poplin? Are you familiar with this fabric?

In this article, I am going to discuss cotton and poplin and try to make a comparison between them. I will mention all the differences and similarities between these fabrics and then conclude which one has more to offer and which one is better. So, let the party begin.

Key Takeaways

  • Cotton and poplin fabric are trendy and high-quality fabrics with many benefits.
  • Cotton fabric is made of natural fibers from the cotton plant and is very delicate.
  • Poplin fabric has wide usage; many men’s and women’s shirts are made of poplin.
  • They are both durable, so you can wear garments made of these fabrics for extended periods.

What’s The Difference: Cotton Vs. Poplin

What Is Cotton? – Explained

Starting with cotton then, since it is one of the most popular fabrics all over the world. There is no chance that you’re not familiar with the cotton fabric. I can easily state that most of your garments in your garderobe are made of cotton fabric. There is nothing to be surprised by this fact since this fabric is preferred by most of the manufacturers that provide clothing. There are many cotton home furnishings as well, such as bed sheets. All of this that I have stated is not by accident.

Cotton is a natural fabric that is made of cotton plant fibers. Due to this fact, cotton is a very breathable material with a soft touch. Garments of cotton are very durable and will have a perfect fit. Regular cotton refers to 100% cotton, which requires a lot of maintenance, but there are several types of cotton and cotton blends. Those types of cotton have different manufacturing processes. What I wrote above was only a brief explanation about regular cotton; I will try to explain everything in more detail in the sections below.

Related Reading: Does Cotton Wrinkle?

What Is Poplin? – Explained

Here we are now; it is time to explain what poplin represents, what it is made of, and how. Poplin is a mix of thick and fine fibers. To get poplin, manufacturers need a delicate fiber and a thick fiber. They mostly used cotton as a natural fiber and other materials. Nowadays, poplin is generally 100% cotton, but this is not the only way poplin exists; there are many different variations of poplin, such as wool, silk, polyblend fabric, and so on.

Poplin is a versatile fabric that simultaneously provides a cool and warm effect. Poplin has a ribbed effect, and it is due to the thicker fibers that are used. Poplin is a very durable material, and it has wide usage. Manufacturers use poplin for garments like dresses, skirts, shirts, etc. It is a very stylish and comfortable fabric, so that is the exact reason why it has so much popularity. Back then, poplin was used as a fabric for producing uniforms for soldiers. So, it is evident that poplin is amongst the most used and trendy materials worldwide.

Related Reading: Does Poplin Wrinkle?

Differences Between Cotton and Poplin – A Fair Comparison

How Do They Look? – Texture and Durability

It will be challenging comparison between these fabulous fabrics because they both have so many similarities, and poplin is generally made of 100% cotton. Poplin fabric has a nice appearance, and lets me mention that it is very lightweight. It has a fine ribbed and silky texture as well. Cotton has a soft and stretchy texture. Cotton clothes will provide a gentle touch, but it is the same with poplin. So, there aren’t any significant distinctions to mention regarding texture.

Regarding durability, poplin fabric and garments of poplin are more durable when compared to regular cotton. Poplin is a solid fabric and among the most durable materials. Cotton’s durability is also excellent, but it is a more delicate fabric requiring more maintenance.

Where Are They Mostly Used?

They both have wide usage. You will be able to see many types of garments of poplin. Especially many men’s and women’s shirts are made of poplin, dresses, uniforms, etc. Besides t-shirts, shorts, sweaters, and underwear, many home furnishings are also cotton, especially bed sheets. I would say that cotton is a bit more preferred than poplin.


Regarding breathability, there is no other material that can beat the goat: cotton. It is simply the best for this category. Cotton fabric has excellent breathability, which is why it is widely used. I have nothing to complain about poplin fabric; it also has excellent breathability, but not as much cotton fabric. They both will keep you cool even on the hottest summer days.

Prone To Shrinkage

Unfortunately, this is the section where I have some bad news for you. As you already know, cotton is prone to shrink, but I have nothing better to say about poplin since garments made of poplin will shrink if you do not take care properly. Poplin and cotton fabric cant withstand hot water and high temperatures in a dryer.

Also Read: Does Cotton Shrink?


You can wash poplin garments in a washing machine, but you must pay attention to the water temperature while you are washing them. The optimal temperature to wash poplin garments is 40 degrees, any water temperature higher than that will cause shrinkage. Worth mentioning is the fact that poplin garments do not get wrinkled. You can also use your dryer to dry poplin outfits as well.

I guess we all know how delicate this fabric is when it comes to cotton. Better to hand wash garments made of cotton, but if you are too busy and don’t have time, then you can put them in a washing machine, but make sure that you are washing them with cold water. If you want to avoid shrinking, then let them air dry. Cotton garments will get wrinkled very quickly, unfortunately.

Final Words

All and all, I hope this article was worthy of your attention. I tried my best to point out the differences between these two fabrics, their advantages, and their disadvantages. If you are still confused regarding which one should you choose, I would say go for cotton, but in the end, that’s simply my personal preference. Make sure you choose yours based on your requirements. I hope you will enjoy reading this article and find value in it.

Have a nice day!