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Linen vs Cotton: Which Is Better?


Cotton Vs Linen – Who Is the Ultimate Winner for summers?

Summers are all about cool and comfortable fabric materials, and what is better than cotton and linen, these 2 lie amongst the best ones. Both of them have somewhat similar uses ranging from blouses to full dresses or even home textiles items like bed sheets and curtains. However, other than that, what is the difference between these two mentioned fabrics? 

In this blog, we will share our findings; cotton vs linen, which is a better summer material. Keep on reading to see the differences and decide which one is better for you.

Both - cotton and linen are plant fibers; therefore, they fall under the category of natural fabrics. Why are these two fabrics chosen for summers? Well, the reasons are, cotton is durable, warm, and soft; on the other hand, linen is lightweight, therefore presents more breathability, and is also moisture-wicking. Let’s dig in further.

Cotton vs. Linen: The Argument 

Now that you know the basic reasons for choosing cotton and linen as summer-friendly materials, here are some basic characteristic differences with respect to certain parameters:


Both of these fabrics are worn in the warm season; therefore, they must have a certain level of breathability in them. Cotton may or may not be breathable, and this characteristic depends on how the fibers are woven together. If the fibers are loosely knit, cotton fabric will show more breathability and vice versa.

On the other hand, linen is more breathable vs cotton fabrics because it has hollow fibers and is also loosely woven. This allows the air to maneuver in and out easily, giving it a breezy feel.


Cotton and linen can both show extensive durability if they are taken care of in a proper manner. However, both of these materials are susceptible to shrink, especially after the first wash. But, there is a catch, you can pre-wash the material before getting on with the sewing project as it does not shrink much after it.


The thickness of the fabric determines whether cotton will serve warmth after wearing. However, linen in any form is not warm at all; that is why not used for making winter clothes. But, as mentioned earlier, cotton is warmer and has more insulating properties because its fibers are not hollow.


One of the reasons for linen’s popularity is its weight. In summers, it is difficult to wear clothes that feel heavy on the body, and in that case, linen always takes the lead. They are light, plus their loose knitting gives an edge.

However, we cannot rule out the fact that some types of cotton such as muslin is lightweight too. In contrast, denim is tight and heavy. On the whole, cotton is versatile on this and easily ranges from light to heavy or vice versa. 


Cotton is softer on touch vs linen since its knitting is tighter. Not every cotton is equally soft; some are more than others, such as flannel, Pima or voile.

On the other hand, linen is a bit rigid and gives stiffer feels comparatively since the fibers are loose. It is airier but wrinkles fast. 

Moisture Wicking

Summers and heat bring lots of moisture because of sweating and since these clothing fabrics are worn in that season, they must possess some sort of moisture-wicking property. Having said that, cotton is not considered great in this department.

Cotton easily becomes saturated, rendering it uncomfortable to wear. Its moisture-absorbing ability is the reason why it takes a long while to dry up as well.

Compared to cotton, linen is pretty much moisture-wicking since it has loose hollow fibers that allow the moisture to escape easily.

Ease of Maintenance 

Both materials are similar in their requirement of care. They can easily shrink upon washing and must be washed with cold water and dried on low heat or via air only. Linen comparatively shrinks more than cotton and continues to do so even in the subsequent washes. This is the main reason why linen, as well as cotton, must be washed in cold water and dried at a certain temperature.


Cotton and linen are both affordable options compared with the prices of silk or any other natural fabric. Cotton also is natural; however, since it is grown abundantly all over the world, its cost is not much, and the fabric is readily available. On the other hand, linen is slightly expensive because its cultivation is not as widespread as cotton.


Both are pretty versatile; cotton and linen can both be used for blouses, pants, dresses, and even bed sheets. Cotton can provide warmth if appropriately woven, so is seen to be used for jackets and warm clothing as well. However, that is not the case with linen.

Cotton can easily yield t-shirts, dresses, coats, jeans, etc., it is fairly versatile in nature and is beneficial for use in summer and winter clothing, while linen is fit for breezy loose summers. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cotton Fabric 

Now that we are aware of all the basic characteristics of cotton, here are some pros and cons for a quick review. Pros: cotton is very affordable and versatile. It is suitable for every kind of sewing project. 

Cotton fabric may seem like it but is not the solution to everything. There are a few cons linked; it has less breathability than linen and is not moisture-wicking either. This fabric shrinks easily, but that is not a big of an issue since you can avoid it by washing correctly. 

Moreover, cotton also wrinkles easily, but as long as you take it out from the dryer as soon as possible, it should reduce the amount of wrinkling.

 Advantages and Disadvantages of Linen  

Linen, on the whole, is excellent for summers, but it has its fair share of downsides. Its lightweight, incredible breathability and moisture-wicking make it an ideal material for summers. The cons include its cost; it is more expensive than cotton and less durable, so not a wise choice if seen according to this.


So, which is better? Cotton vs linen, who wins? Well, the winner is different for each individual as the end user’s vision is everything. With the characteristics enlisted, you can easily make the right choice.

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