Is Polyester Cooler Than Cotton In Hot Weather?

Polyester is wrinkle-resistant and easier to wash and care for than cotton, but is it cooler too? The simple answer is no.

While both fabrics are lightweight, breathable, and absorb moisture, cotton has an edge over polyester.

Want to know more about these fabrics? This guide explains the difference between polyester and cotton and which is better to wear in warm weather.

What is polyester?

Is polyester cooler than cotton

Polyester is a man-made synthetic fiber produced from polymers.

Its fibers are often present in athletic clothing and outerwear. This is due to their breathability, wrinkle resistance, strength, and price point.

There is also what is called a polyester blend. This is the blending of poly fiber with cotton or other fibers to create a strong, soft, and comfortable fabric.

Poly blends provide moisture-wicking properties, which is why manufacturers use them in making activewear and outdoor gear. You’ll find its fibers in items like stuffed animals, industrial fabrics, upholstery, and drapery linings.

Again, this is because it is very durable and resistant to shrinking, wrinkles, and fading. The main downside to polyester is that, like nylon, it has water-resistant properties. So instead of absorbing water or sweat, the droplets often linger on its surface and run around its weave.

What is cotton?

Is polyester cooler than cotton

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of cotton plants.

The plant is native to tropical and subtropical regions from Central America and the Caribbean to Africa and India.

In making cotton fabrics, their fibers are first spun into yarn or thread and then weaved to produce clothes and other textile products. The resulting fabric is both lightweight and strong, making it suitable for various uses.

One of the key benefits of cotton is that its fabrics are breathable and absorb moisture quickly, making them comfortable to wear in hot weather.

Cotton is also one of the most consumed natural fibers in the world. And for centuries people have used it to make clothes, bedding, towels, and other apparel.

Is polyester cooler than cotton?

No, cotton is cooler than polyester.

Polyester does have some advantages over heavier materials like wool or denim. This is because it is more lightweight, durable, and breathable than these other fabrics. Moreover, it won’t trap heat against your body.

However, cotton still beats polyester for coolness.

Why is cotton cooler than polyester?

Cotton is more breathable

Cotton is naturally breathable and absorbs moisture, while polyester is not. This means that cotton can help regulate body temperature better than polyester. Additionally, it’s a cooler fabric choice for warm weather.

It is lightweight

Cotton is a lightweight fabric. It allows air to circulate easily and keeps you cool in hot weather. Also, cotton can absorb up to 27 times its weight in water, helping to wick away sweat and other moisture from the body.

This keeps you cool and prevents bacteria growth that can lead to odors.

Cotton is hypoallergenic

Polyester is a synthetic fabric, which means it can irritate the skin. Meanwhile, cotton is hypoallergenic, meaning it is unlikely to cause reactions or skin irritations.

This makes cotton a great choice for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

Cotton is comfortable

Cotton is often considered the most comfortable fabric to wear in hot weather. This is because of its breathable and lightweight nature. Likewise, its natural fibers are softer and more durable than polyester, making them great for everyday wear.

What happens when you wear polyester in summer?

When you wear polyester in hot weather, it traps heat and leaves you feeling uncomfortable.

This is because it does not allow much air circulation and can become quite sticky and clammy when sweating occurs.

Also, since it’s a synthetic material, it doesn’t absorb sweat as natural fibers do. So aside from feeling hot and sticky, sweat stains may also be visible on your fabric.

To avoid this problem, it is best to opt for lightweight fabrics such as cotton, polyblends, or linen in the summer months instead of pure polyester. By doing so, you will stay cool and comfortable while still looking stylish.

What happens when you wear cotton in summer?

Cotton is a lightweight, breathable fabric that lets air circulate through your body. It keeps you cool and reduces overheating by allowing sweat to evaporate quickly.

Even fragrances will not affect the breathability of the fabric. Cotton is also relatively affordable and easy to care for, making it a popular choice for summer clothing.

However, keep in mind that when you wear cotton fabrics in extreme heat or humidity, they can become damp and clingy, minimizing the comfort it provides.

Thankfully, most organic cotton fabrics now have a moderate level of ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), also known as UV protection, which helps to keep you cool for much longer. 

So you can opt for these high-quality cotton fabrics instead.

Which is better for summer, polyester or cotton?

From the review above, you will agree that cotton is still the clear winner for summer wear. Its lightweight, breathable, and durable features give it an undisputed edge over polyester.


What is the coolest fabric for hot weather?


It’s the best fabric for keeping cool. It soaks up sweat and allows heat to escape your body. 

What should you not wear in humid weather?

Dark-colored clothes, heavy fabrics, pure polyester.

These fabrics absorb sweat poorly in humid weather. Instead, opt for loose-fitting clothes made from fabrics like cotton, merino wool, and poly blends.

Is 100% polyester cooler than cotton? 

No, it isn’t.

100% polyester is still less absorbent than cotton. 


To conclude, cotton is cooler than polyester due to its natural breathability and moisture-wicking properties. Cotton is also more comfortable to wear, especially in hot weather.

As mentioned earlier, polyester has its pros, such as being less prone to wrinkling. However, when it comes to staying cool, cotton is the clear winner and the number one fabric to add to your summer collection.

Thanks for reading.

There’s more to learn about cotton and how to care for it here on Africana Fashion.