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    November 17, 2021

    Both linen and cotton are natural fibre materials that are sturdy, breathable, and soft. Where do they differ, then?


    When comparing linen and cotton, it's important to remember that each material thrives on various qualities, such as breathability and absorbency. Cotton and linen are both eco-friendly materials because they are manufactured from natural fibres, but there are many subtle nuances that distinguish cotton and linen textiles.


    What is cotton?

    Cotton is a staple fibre, meaning it is made up of different lengths of material. Cotton fabric is created from cotton plants' natural fibres. The component of the cotton plant that grows in the ball, the encasing for the fluffy cotton fibres, creates the cloth. Cotton is a fluffy, soft fibre that is spun and woven into a strong cloth.


    What is linen?

    Linen is a long-lasting natural textile made from flax. The best linen originates from Europe, notably Belgium, where the temperature and soil are ideal for producing strong, beautiful flax. Belgian linen provides bedding made from higher-quality fibres.


    Linen materials are 30 percent heavier and 30 percent stronger than cotton fabrics. Linen fabrics are often crisp at first, but with time and use, they become soft and supple to the touch. Linen is known for its durability, brilliance, and exquisite drape. Due to the fact that linen fibres are thicker than cotton fibres, a lower thread count is required to ensure a high-quality, long-lasting linen fabric.


    Difference between linen and cotton

    Is it a positive thing that cotton is more frequently used than linen around the world? What's more, how can you tell the two textiles apart? To begin, feel the fabric: linen is slightly thicker and tougher than cotton. If the cloth has a ‘slubby' quality, it's probably linen, which has longer fibres than cotton. In the weave of linen clothing, you may detect a visible lined pattern, but cotton can appear smoother and more uniform. In addition, a linen item may have more natural creases than a cotton item.


    Why linen clothes are better than cotton clothes

    And it isn't just linen bedlinen that we prefer over cotton. Linen clothing has the same temperature-regulating characteristics as cotton and is supersoft. According to studies, those who wear linen perspire less than those who wear cotton. Linen clothing dries quickly and is also lightweight, making it an incredible choice for travelling purposes. There's no need to iron them, though, thanks to their lovely crumples.


    Linen clothing has a relaxed elegance and a breezy simplicity. They're unfussy and unfashionable, demonstrating that you care about your appearance but aren't swayed by rapid fashion trends.

    You want clothes that you can easily wear everywhere, at any time, whether you're walking the dog, running errands, giving a big presentation, or having dinner with friends.


    Cotton garments are wonderful, but after repeated washings, they can get threadbare and lose their shape. Unlike linen, which improves with each wash, cotton does not. Linen is also moth-resistant and anti-microbial, which means your clothes will last longer and look better.



    Cotton offers a little more stretch and flexibility than linen, but it isn't as long-lasting. Long-staple cotton fibres are used to manufacture fiber cotton, such as Egyptian cotton, which makes it softer and more durable than regular cotton but not as durable as linen. It is much more rigid than cotton yarn, yet it lasts longer because the cellulose fibres in linen yarn are somewhat longer and bundled tighter, giving it more strength and endurance.



    Cotton does not conduct heat and possesses insulating characteristics similar to fibreglass, which is commonly used in housing insulation. The hollow flax strands of linen make it quite cool in the summer, but it should be layered in the winter.


    Linen is more sustainable

    The method of making linen fabric from the flax plant requires significantly less water than the way of making cotton fabric. As a result, it is a more sustainable option. Flax is grown with less pesticides than cotton, and linen fibres can be treated without the use of chemicals. This can only be beneficial to the environment.


    Cotton plants also require a large amount of land, but flax may thrive in poor soil. Organic cotton is a good choice if you want to buy environmentally friendly garments, but it takes even more space due to lower crop yields due to the lack of chemicals allowed in organic cotton farming.

    Linen is less resource-intensive, and once it has served its purpose, linen fabric will biodegrade naturally, leaving no toxic waste or by-products.


    Linen has a better feel, look and texture

    Food stylists, Instagrammers, and interior stylists favour linen textiles for a reason. They simply appear and feel more intriguing than cotton alternatives. While cotton fabrics can appear flat and uninteresting, linen has a texture and depth to its fibres that is now fashionable. Linen homewares are having a moment, from smart picnics to poolside pictures. Whether you pick for subdued, neutral Scandi-inspired tones or bright colour pops, linen looks great.



    Cotton and linen are both hypoallergenic, however linen is somewhat better for allergy sufferers because of the lower thread count and loose weave, which traps less dust and particles.





    Cotton and linen fabrics are both breathable, albeit the permeability of cotton is determined more by the weave than by the fibres themselves. Denim and canvas weaves are heavier and less breathable than other cotton weaves. The flax linen fibres, on the other hand, are hollow, allowing air and water to flow freely.


    Which is better?

    Cotton is preferable in terms of cost because the fabric will fit your clothing budget far better than linen. This will be the case throughout the comparison. Cotton is superior in some areas, whilst linen is superior in others.


    Linen is definitely the better fabric to utilise in your sewing projects because of its longevity, strength, and texture. Cotton, on the other hand, would be superior in terms of design, colour possibilities, and softness. Linen is excellent for hypoallergenic care, whereas cotton improves the appearance of the space.


    It will be dependent on your family situation and lifestyle for your use. You will not be harmed if you choose one cloth over another. Both offer advantages that make them appropriate for everyday use as well as special occasions.

    Cotton is preferable for a fashion statement since it comes in more appealing colours, but linen can be dyed to appear equally as nice as cotton.


    Which is more expensive?

    Flax is not like cotton in that it cannot be grown in any soil. Cotton is native to the Fertile Crescent and can be found practically anywhere. This difference in habitat has an impact on the price.

    Despite the fact that flax is farmed on the Canadian prairies and elsewhere, it is not always used to make linen. This raises the price even higher. As a result, linen is more expensive than cotton.

    Cotton has a high demand, but it can be farmed in enormous numbers to supply that demand while keeping prices low.

    Despite the fact that these materials have a long and storied history, with flax and linen being used as far back as 5000 years ago, their long and storied histories have done nothing to reduce the cost of flax and linen.


    Even while lower-quality versions of both materials are less expensive to purchase, linen is likely to be the more expensive out of the two, even in those low-quality categories.


    Which is more sustainable?

    Linen is said to be more sustainable than cotton because the flax plant requires less water to survive than cotton. In addition, the flax plant uses less water than cotton to become a fibre.

    Then, because flax is a tough plant, it requires fewer pesticides to maintain it's health during its growth. Cotton does because it has to deal with the boll weevil. Because that bug eats cotton for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, additional insecticides are required to maintain the plant healthy and productive.


    Linen is also more environmentally friendly than cotton since it requires less chemicals to convert flax fibres into linen fabric. Cotton is a plant that requires a lot of chemical assistance. Cotton cultivation necessitates a big amount of valuable land due to the large acreage required.

    Flax can grow in a variety of soil conditions and does not require a lot of it.