Cotton vs. Polyester vs. Blends: How to choose the best fabric for custom t shirts?

Are you looking for custom t-shirts? It's no secret that many types of t-shirts are on the market.  But what's the difference between Cotton, Polyester, and blends? And which one is best for custom t-shirts? 

Each has its benefits and drawbacks, so read on to learn more about each and find out which is suitable for you.

In this post, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each fabric so you can make the best decision for custom t shirts.

What’s the best T-shirt fabric for custom T-shirts?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It depends on your preferences and what you will use the custom t-shirt for. 

Here are some factors to consider when deciding which T-shirt fabric to choose:

First are the qualities you are looking for in your T-shirt (softness, breathability, moisture absorption, sweat, etc.).

Second, the way you want your T-shirt printed (DTG, screen printing, embroidery, etc.).

Third, the price you are willing to pay (order or maximum budget per item).

Then, the purpose of custom T-shirts (family reunions, work uniforms, sporting events, merchandise, etc.).

Finally, the person who will wear it (age range, style, expectations).

Ultimately, the best T-shirt fabric for custom t-shirts is the one you are most happy with. 

So don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect one for you!

Cotton vs. Polyester vs. Blends: What’s the difference?

Regarding t-shirt fabrics, Cotton, Polyester, and blended fabrics are three of the most popular options. But what’s the difference between them?

Cotton is a natural fiber, and it is soft and breathable. 

Polyester is a synthetic fiber. It is durable and wrinkle-resistant. 

Blended fabrics are a combination of natural and synthetic fibers. And it gives them the best of both worlds.

Each fabric has its unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. 

In short, no matter which fabric you choose, custom t-shirts are a great way to show off your style. So don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect one for you!

100% Cotton

Cotton shirts are ideal for everyday wear, but they may not be as durable as Polyester or blended shirts. 

Cotton can be woven into various fabrics—denim, flannel, knitwear, etc. 

You can choose from up to 50 different types of cotton material. 

In addition, we can make it into a variety of clothing. And it is suitable for screen printing and DTG printing.

Whether it’s T-shirts, sweaters, aprons, or socks, Cotton is the most common. 

Meanwhile, it is often an economical option.

Best of all, Cotton is generally very soft on the skin. 

So, it is very helpful in preventing rashes and other skin problems.


First, it’s breathable, absorbent, and comfortable to wear.

Second, cotton shirts are often less expensive than Polyester or blends.

Third, it is very easy to clean and machine washable.

Fourth, it has a high air permeability and supports the proper circulation of air.


First, cotton t-shirts can shrink in the wash and wrinkle more easily. So, be sure to check the care instructions before washing your shirt.

Secondly, Cotton is also less durable than Polyester or blends, so it may not hold up well over time.

Also, because the dye can’t be retained for long, the color of cotton T-shirts often fades after a few washes.

Finally, cotton fabrics are made from natural fibers. Therefore, if you don’t handle and maintain it carefully, it is more prone to breakage and damage.

But if you need a shirt that looks good for a special event or business meeting, you might want to choose something else.

100% Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fabric it’s made from petroleum-based products. 

It’s solid and durable, so it is ideal for activewear. And it is suitable for all over printing.

You know what? Polyester was a wonder cotton material from the 1950s to the 1970s. 

It is trendy in the clothing market. 

If you’re looking for a fabric that can withstand a lot of wear and wash, Polyester is the best choice.

Polyester shirts are great for active wear or formal occasions, but they can be less comfortable than Cotton shirts. 


First, 100% polyester t-shirts are highly durable and withstand a lot of wear and tear. 

Second, Polyester is also less likely to wrinkle than Cotton. So, it is ideal if you’re looking for a shirt that will hold up well to repeated washings. 

Third, it is strong but delicate meanwhile lightweight.

Finally, polyester shirts are often cheaper than their cotton or blend counterparts.


First, Polyester is essentially a plastic, so it has a very low permeability.

Polyester can be less comfortable than Cotton, as it doesn’t breathe well. It can make polyester shirts feel hot and sticky in warm weather.

In addition, it is a synthetic material, so Polyester does not biodegrade rapidly and can cause environmental problems.

Finally, we don’t recommend you wear polyester t-shirts in hot and humid weather.

Cotton vs. Polyester

Seeing here, you are already familiar with these two fabrics. 

So, let’s look at the Cotton vs. polyester comparison list. 

See what’s the difference between the two.

However, before you make your final decision, research the characteristics of blended fabrics.


If you cannot choose between Cotton or Polyester, combine the best of both and choose a cotton-polyester blend.

As you think, blends are fabrics made from natural and synthetic fibers. 

They generally combine the best of both worlds, offering durability and comfort at a moderate price. 

Blended shirts strike a good balance between Cotton and Polyester, making them a great option for most people.

However, blends can be more challenging to care for than pure Cotton or polyester fabrics.


Cotton/polyester blends are cheaper than 100% cotton shirts.

They’re wrinkle-resistant and dry quickly.


They can be less comfortable than pure cotton shirts.

They may not last as long as pure cotton shirts.

Blends can be more expensive than pure Cotton or Polyester fabrics.

In the category of blends, there are three types:

Cotton-polyester blends (65/35 and 50/50)

Cotton/poly blends are the most common type of blend fabric. 

It includes 50/the 50s and 65/35s.

Cotton-polyester blends are a great option for custom t-shirts because they offer the best of both worlds. 

The cotton fabric is soft and comfortable, while the polyester fabric is strong and wrinkle-resistant. 

It makes them a popular choice for everyday wear, as they’re durable and looks good no matter what you do. 

However, they can be a bit heavy compared to other fabrics, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for something lightweight and airy. 

Cotton-polyester blends are also less breathable than 100% cotton t-shirts. So, they might not be the best choice if you want to stay cool on a hot day. 

But overall, they’re a great option for anyone who wants a stylish and durable shirt.

Polyester-cotton-rayon blend (50/25/25)

It is made from Cotton, Polyester, and rayon. The ratio is 50/25/25. It is a semi-synthetic fiber.

Clothes made of this material are very soft and stretchy. At the same time, it is durable.

This famous triple blend fabric provides the perfect fabric for loose clothing. And, because of its comfortable feeling, people love the triple blend fabric.

In addition, because of the loose weaving and combination of the tri-blend fabric, the DTG printing on the tri-blend fabric will have the so-called retro feeling.

It is because the fabric is slightly exposed through the ink.

Polyester-spandex blends (85/15)

Spandex is a synthetic fiber known for its elasticity.

It is also spandex or lycra.

Spandex can be combined with Polyester or Cotton. 

Combined with Cotton, it can be made into soft, durable clothing fabric.

Most commonly, however, it is combined with Polyester.

Plus, they stretch well and hold their shape. So, they are perfect for activewear or other applications where you need a bit of extra flexibility.

Popular polyester spandex products in the market are all over printing leggings, swimsuits, and sportswear.

Because spandex is elastic, it can keep its original shape, and Polyester is durable.

However, polyester-spandex blends can be expensive, so they may not be the best option for everyone.

100% Cotton vs. 100% Polyester vs. Blends

Tri-blend t-shirt fabric: The best of all three worlds

Tri-blend fabric is made of Cotton, Polyester, rayon, or other.

In general, 50% polyester + 25% cotton + 25% rayon = 100% excellent triple blend style!

Believe it or not, tri-blend apparel fabrics have been on the market for about 20 years. 

It is a powerful clothing fabric alliance. Now, a lot of people like it. 

It provides manufacturers with higher quality, super soft, well-fitting custom t-shirts.

What does a three-blend shirt feel like? The answer is soft. 

Rayon and Polyester give the triple-blend tee a little stretch. 

At the same time, they add softness and make us very comfortable to wear.

Also, in general, tri-color blends are great for faded vintage-inspired prints.

When printed with water-based and discharge inks, the inks remove the color of the Cotton in the fabric. In its place is the color of the ink. 

In addition, the reagents in ink (called discharge) only remove the color from the Cotton. 

So, that means using a triple mix, and you’ll be able to see some natural heather in the shirt.

In short, when people rave about their favorite custom T-shirt, it tends to come in threes.

Best Fabric for T-Shirt Printing

If you want a shirt that is soft and comfortable, Cotton is a great choice. 

In general, it is one of the most popular fabrics in clothing. So, cotton t-shirts are some of the most popular on the market. 

However, they do have a few drawbacks. Cotton shirts tend to shrink in the wash and are not as durable as other fabrics.

In addition, if you need a more durable and wrinkle-resistant shirt, Polyester might be a better option. 

They’re often more affordable than cotton shirts and don’t shrink in the wash. 

However, Polyester can be less breathable than Cotton and doesn’t absorb sweat either.

Finally, if you want a shirt that is a good balance of both, a Blended fabric could be the way to go. 

They usually have the best of both Cotton and Polyester: they’re affordable, durable, and comfortable. 

However, they can sometimes be less breathable than 100% Cotton shirts. 

In conclusion, check the care instructions for whichever fabric you choose so you know how to wash and care for your shirt properly.

Read Also: Lists of Popular Brands Made in China


Cotton shirts are soft and breathable, while Polyester is wrinkle-resistant and cheaper. 

Blends are a mix of the two fabrics and offer some benefits of each type. 

Deciding which fabric to choose for custom t-shirts depends on your needs and preferences. 

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