Polyester vs Rayon: Difference and Comparison

Polyester and Rayon are among the most popular and preferred fabrics. Because of their easy availability, these fabrics are preferred more than others.

Both fabrics have been used for a long time because of their strength. They are used in several products, such as clothing, houseware, industrial applications, etc.

These fabrics may serve the same purposes and have the same strengths but differ.

Key Takeaways

  1. Polyester is a synthetic fiber made from petroleum-based materials, known for its durability, wrinkle resistance, and ease of care.
  2. Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber made from wood pulp or other cellulose sources, with a silk-like feel and good moisture absorbency.
  3. Both polyester and rayon are used in the textile industry. Still, polyester is fully synthetic and offers greater durability, while rayon is semi-synthetic with a more natural feel and better moisture management.

Polyester vs. Rayon

Polyester is a synthetic polymer made from petroleum. It is a strong, durable, and lightweight fabric that resists wrinkles, shrinking, and fading. Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric made from cellulose fibers derived from wood pulp or bamboo. Rayon is known for its softness, smoothness, and draping qualities.

Polyester vs Rayon
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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPolyesterRayon
TexturePolyester has a stiff and hard appearance.Rayon has a soft and silky appearance.
Fiber typeIt has synthetic fiber.It has a semi-synthetic fiber.
UsesPolyester is used for outdoor clothing to oppose the utmost weather conditions.Rayon is used for melting materials in factories and such high-heat situations.
ClimateIt is favored more in cold climates.It is favored in warm climates
WashingOne can wash and wear polyester.Rayon has to be ironed after washing since it stretches and shrinks afterward.

 

What is Polyester?

Polyester is one of the most famous fabrics in the world and is used in various household and industrial appliances. It is a fiber that is synthetic.

It is mainly obtained from petroleum. The ester group connects the polymer units to constitute this fabric.

A negative perception has been formed about this fiber because of the over-intensity of polyester in the last 25-30 years. Polyester has a stiff and hard appearance and is used for outdoor clothing to oppose the utmost weather conditions.

Types of Polyesters:

Primarily, there are two types of polyesters. One is PCDT, Poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate. The other is PET, Polyethylene Terephthalate. 

Features of Polyester:

  1. It has synthetic fiber.
  2. Polyester can maintain its shape.
  3. It can be dyed easily.
  4. It is resistant to chemicals and is durable.
  5. It has light yet strong fibers.
  6. Polyester does not stretch and shrink, which makes it one of the best fabrics.
  7. It can be washed at home.
  8. Polyester has a stiff and hard appearance. 
  9. Removing stain can be a problem since it has low absorbency.

Uses of Polyester fabric:

  1. For garments, it is used in jackets, suits, socks, eveningwear, underwear, pants, and shirts.
  2. It is used in industrial applications for bottles, boats, holographic films, tarps, and LCDs.
  3. Homeware is used in cushioning pillows, chairs, and sofas. It is also used in blankets, curtains, face towels, bath towels, kitchen towels, rugs, and upholstery.
polyester
 

What is Rayon?

Rayon is a comfortable and soft fabric. It is generated from natural sources obtained from cotton or wood pulp.

Since it is one of the soaking fabrics, it is perfect for summer wear. One has clothes and accessories that are made of this material. It is a convenient and low-cost fiber that has many uses.

Types of Rayon: There are four main types of Rayon- Regular rayon, High wet modulus rayon, Cuprammonium rayon, and High tenacity modulus rayon.

Features of Rayon:

  1. It is cool, soft, and smooth on the skin.
  2. Rayon is moisture-soaking.
  3. It has a semi-synthetic fiber.
  4. It can drop well.
  5. Rayon has a soft and silky appearance.
  6. It can mix with other fibers.
  7. Rayon is not very expensive, but it looks luxurious.
  8. When washed, it might shrink, so it must be dry-cleaned.
  9. The production of Rayon is damaging to the environment.

Uses of Rayon:

  1. Rayon is used to making sarees, blouses, socks, and dresses in the textile industry.
  2. It also makes blankets, curtains, carpets, and bed sheets.
  3. It is used in the production of tire cords in the tire industry.
  4. It can be used to make surgical dressings and bandages in the medical industry.
  5. Rayon is used for melting materials in factories and such high-heat situations.

rayon 1

Main Differences Between Polyester and Rayon

  1. In Polyester, the fabric’s luster has a false or unartificial gloss. On the other hand, Rayon has a subtle and fine shine, like that of silk.
  2. Polyester is stiff and rigid, and it supports its shape. It is also stronger and more durable in comparison to Rayon. 
  3. Polyester has a synthetic fiber, whereas Rayon has a semi-synthetic fiber.
  4. Polyester is used for outdoor clothing to oppose the utmost weather conditions. It is also used to make hiking articles such as tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks. On the other hand, Rayon is used for melting materials in factories and such high-heat situations.
  5. Polyester is favored more in cold climates than Rayon in warm climates.
  6. Polyester can be washed at home, and it does not stretch and shrink, unlike Rayon which shrinks and stretches after washing and hence should be dry cleaned or ironed after washing.
Difference Between Polyester and Rayon

References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X19301614
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1478-4408.2012.00345.x

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Polyester vs Rayon: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The environmental implications of fabric production and usage are a significant concern. Would have liked to see more emphasis on this aspect in the article.

  2. I appreciate the details about the different types of polyesters and rayon. Useful information for making informed choices.

  3. This article provides a comprehensive overview of polyester and rayon, but it would benefit from addressing the long-term effects of washing and wearing these fabrics.

  4. The negative perception of polyester is understandable given its overuse. Interesting to learn about the different types of polyesters available.

  5. Avatar of Justine Reynolds
    Justine Reynolds

    Great article laying out the differences between polyester and rayon! Clear and concise information.

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