Is Polyester Breathable? [And Is It Good For Summer?]

Picking the correct fabric is crucial when shopping. You need to take so much into consideration. From what the piece of clothing will be used for, to where and how it will be used.

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If you’re a runner, you will want fabrics that are suitable for that, and the same goes for casual wear.

There’s nothing worse than picking a new pair of pants only to wear them in the height of summer and feel like your skin is suffocating. 

Is Polyester Breathable? [And Is It Good For Summer?]

No one wants to accidentally pick the wrong type of fabric, but it’s a common mistake. It’s easy to get distracted by all the attractive designs, right?

Well, next time you go clothes shopping, it would be a good idea to check the label.

The fabric that the clothing is made from will tell you a lot about it, and at least half the time you’ll end up not buying it purely because of the fabric.

We’ve all worn sweaty, non-breathable fabric in hot weather – and it’s something everyone would like to avoid.

What Does It Mean If A Fabric Is “Breathable”?

If a fabric is breathable, it means it lets moisture and air pass through easily. This can have an effect on the way a garment feels, too.

When you sweat, moisture gets trapped on your skin between the fabric.

While this isn’t necessarily uncomfortable at first, it does mean you’re more likely to feel sticky or clammy.

Sweaty clothing makes us look less put together, which is why choosing a breathable material is important.

No matter how much care you put in with your outfit, if your shirt doesn’t breathe well, you won’t look as polished.

You should also consider where you plan to wear your pieces. If they’re going to be outside or near water, then you don’t want anything that traps in heat.

Just think about it: if you were wearing a t-shirt while running down the street, and someone walked past you, you’d probably find their body temperature to be higher than yours just because you were wearing a thin, light cotton top.

That’s why most people opt for lightweight, quick drying materials such as nylon or Lycra.

Not only do these fabrics keep you cool, they also help you move quickly. They’re great for exercise.

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What Does ‘Breathable’ Really Mean?

The term ‘breathable’ has become somewhat confusing. Most people assume it refers to the amount of airflow that passes through the fabric.

However, this is only one aspect of a fabric’s ability to allow air to pass through. In fact, the definition of breathability varies depending on what type of garment you’re talking about.

A T-Shirt might be breathable enough to let air flow through, but it won’t protect you against rain or wind.

On the other hand, a jacket made from Gore-Tex® will keep you warm, but it won’t let air flow through. 

Why Breathable Fabrics Are Important

Breathability in fabrics is important because it allows you to stay comfortable during hot days. If you’re planning on being active outdoors, you want a fabric that keeps you dry and comfortable.

Some fabrics are better suited to different activities.

A breathable top might work fine for a morning jog, but be sure to invest in some long sleeves for a day spent doing yard work.

If you wear fabrics that are not breathable on hot days, you will feel very uncomfortable very quickly.

Your skin may start to feel tight and clammy, making you feel less confident. You could even suffer from sunburns.

This is especially true if you’re spending lots of time around water, swimming pools or other bodies of water.

The problem with this is that you may feel dehydrated, which puts you at risk of feeling dizzy or suffering from headaches.

When you choose a breathable fabric, you’re investing in comfort. After all, who likes sweating when there’s no need to? But, what if you’re looking for something else?

Maybe you want something that’s durable, has a nice design, or stands out from the crowd. There are many factors to take into consideration before making any purchases.

When you buy clothing online, you often don’t know exactly what you’re getting until it arrives.

Buying clothes online isn’t always straightforward, so make sure you read our tips for buying clothes online.

Factors That Make A Fabric Breathable

For a fabric to be breathable, it needs to allow air to flow through the fabric structure. There are three essential things that can contribute to how breathable a fabric is.

These three things are: the material weight, weave structure, and the fabric’s ability to absorb any liquid. 

The size of the holes and weave structure of the fabric contribute to breathability and air is able to travel through the holes freely.

Even though the hole size doesn’t affect the quality of the fabric itself, larger holes mean more air gets through.

When choosing a fabric, look for a lighter weight. Lighter weights mean that the fabric is thinner and therefore has smaller holes.

There are two ways to create woven structures. One way is to use interlocking threads. Interlocked threads are created by weaving together strands of thread to form a mesh.

Another way is to use plain weaves. Plain weaves are created by using yarns that are twisted together.

The material’s ability to absorb liquid is the final factor that can make it breathable. A lot of science is involved in making fabrics now, and this plays a big role in breathability.

Factors That Make A Fabric Breathable

Now, a lot of synthetic fabrics are created to be able to do moisture-wicking. This means that the moisture levels can be balanced on either side of the clothing.

Simply put, if you are wearing a fabric that has moisture-wicking abilities, it will move the sweat you produce from the inside of the clothing to the outside.

When this moisture is moved to the outside, it can then evaporate, so you do not stay damp.

These kinds of materials do not usually absorb water, since the moisture is moved and evaporates.

Dampness in clothing prevents airflow from happening, so by moisture being removed, airflow is increased.

Beyond that, however, ensuring that the clothing you wear can “dry on its own” means that you will be a lot more comfortable, instead of being damp.

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Reasons For Wanting A Breathable Fabric

There are a couple of different reasons why you would want breathable fabrics. Firstly, breathable fabric is far more comfortable to wear.

It helps to regulate your body temperature by allowing moisture to evaporate from your skin. This means that you’ll stay cooler and drier.

Secondly, breathable fabrics can be used in places where there is a lot of humidity. When you’re out in the sunshine, you sweat. Sweat contains salt and minerals like sodium.

These salts and minerals are good for your body, but they can cause your skin to get quite wet. Because of this, it’s essential to have breathable fabrics.

They allow these salts and minerals to escape as vapor, instead of soaking into your clothes and causing them to smell musty.

Would You Ever Want Non-Breathable Fabric?

There may be times when you would like a non-breathable fabric. Perhaps you live in an area where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Or perhaps you spend a lot of time working outside. Whatever your situation, there will come a point when you’ll need a fabric that doesn’t allow air to pass through it.

For example, you may decide that a heavy coat is necessary for winter weather.

You wouldn’t want a material that allowed too much heat to leave your body, because you’d end up being too cold.

Likewise, you wouldn’t want a light jacket that was made from a thin material, because you’d lose too much warmth. In both cases, you’d be left uncomfortable.

Info About Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fiber that’s extremely popular. It is considered to be a category of ester-containing polymers.

This makes it very stretchy, durable, and even water-resistant.

However, while polyester is great for a variety of applications, it does pose some risks. Some people believe that it causes allergic reactions in a very small number of individuals.

As a fabric, polyester has proven to be extremely useful and popular. It’s also been found to be highly versatile.

That said, it’s important to remember that it’s not perfect.

It does not go well with every climate, so always consider this before you buy anything polyester!

What Is It Made From?

Polyester fabric is made when ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid gets mixed together. The full name for this fabric is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), but it’s referred to as polyester for the sake of ease.

In simple terms, polyester is a type of plastic.

The way that polyesters work is fairly simple. They’re made up of long chains. Each chain consists of carbon atoms that are bonded together.

The bonds between these carbon atoms are strong enough to hold the entire molecule together.

However, the carbon atoms aren’t completely connected. Instead, some carbon atoms are free to move along the length of each chain.

As a result, the molecules can change shape slightly without breaking apart.

Popular Uses

There are many uses for polyester.

These include clothing, furniture, carpets, and more. It’s especially popular for use in outdoor gear, such as tents, sleeping bags, jackets, and more.

While polyester is often used in these types of products, it’s also used in other areas. For example, it’s commonly used in dishware, food packaging, and medical equipment.

In general, polyester is a versatile material. It’s easy to work with, and it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s also incredibly durable.

Because of its durability, it’s typically used in high-traffic areas. It’s also resistant to stains, which means that it won’t easily get dirty or damaged over time.

However, polyester isn’t perfect. It’s not breathable, which means that it traps moisture inside. This can lead to problems if you’re living in a hot environment.

Also, polyester tends to become stiffer when exposed to sunlight. This means that it becomes less comfortable after a certain amount of time outdoors.

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Can It Be Used For Face Masks?

No, polyester cannot be used for face masks. This is because the fabric is not breathable. Face masks require good airflow through them. Otherwise, they’ll trap heat and cause discomfort.

Oxygen will not be able to make its way through the mask to allow you to breathe. Although polyester might seem like a good fabric to make masks out of, it simply will not work.

Should You Wear Polyester Clothing In Hot Weather?

No, polyester is not a good option for hot weather. It doesn’t breathe well at all, and it traps heat inside. If you live somewhere where temperatures regularly reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, then this may be an issue for you.

If your skin starts to feel warm and uncomfortable while wearing polyester clothes, it could mean that you need to find something else to wear.

The best thing you can do is take off whatever you’re wearing and lay down on a cooler surface. You should wear cool, breathable fabrics in hot weather.

If you don’t, you could be putting yourself at risk of heat stroke and feeling extremely uncomfortable and sweaty.

Is Polyester Breathable?

Is Polyester Breathable?

As you may have gathered by this point – polyester is not breathable. In fact, it’s one of the worst options available for making breathable garments.

When you wear polyester, you’ll end up sweating much more than necessary.

Sweaty clothing leads to increased humidity levels. This makes it harder for air to pass through the fabric.

As a result, sweat will build up on the inside of the garment. Eventually, this can cause rashes, itching, and other issues.

Is Polyester Fast Drying?

Yes, polyester is a fast-drying fabric. It dries quickly because there aren’t any pockets within the fibers.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should consider using polyester for everything.

Some things are just better suited for cotton. For example, towels, bedding, and socks are better made from this type of fabric.

Polyester can be fully dry within around two hours. Although cotton is also a very fast-drying fabric, polyester does beat it marginally.

If you aren’t too fussed with minor differences in dry timing, cotton is likely to be better than polyester for a number of things. 

Is Polyester Suitable To Sleep In?

Generally speaking, polyester is not a good fabric to sleep in. This is because it traps heat inside.

Although you may find some people who disagree with me on this one, I’m willing to bet that most of us would rather avoid sleeping in a hot room.

To make matters worse, polyester has a tendency to cling to your body when you lie down. This makes it hard to slip into slumber.

On top of this, polyester is often prone to pilling, which results in lumpy sheets. All of these factors can make it really difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

On the plus side, however, polyester is great for making sleeping bags. These are designed to keep you toasty even if you’re cold outside.

They’re usually lined with fleece so that they won’t stick to your skin as easily. Also, they tend to be lightweight and compact. Another benefit of polyester sleeping bags is that they’re easy to pack away.

Should You Use Polyester Underwear/Pajamas?

Although this isn’t a common choice, it is possible to use polyester underwear or pajama bottoms. Just remember that their performance differs slightly from regular cotton or wool items.

Even though polyester is less breathable than its counterparts, it still maintains an adequate level of moisture control.

This means that it can help prevent chafing and rash forming.

Most importantly, polyester tends to wick sweat away from your skin. This helps to lower the amount of perspiration you produce during exercise.

So, if you want to avoid wearing cotton undergarments when exercising, then polyester might be the answer.

However, the downside to polyester is that it tends to be heavier than cotton and wool. This leads to higher temperatures due to wind resistance. Also, it’s not particularly comfortable.

Some people say that the feel is similar to wearing rubber gloves. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend using polyester underclothing unless you’re going to be doing lots of swimming or cycling.

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Is Polyester Suitable For Babies?

There are two sides of the argument for the suitability of polyester for babies.

There are those who say polyester is ideal for baby clothing and blankets because it is soft and comfy against their delicate skin.

Then there are others who think that polyester is unsuitable for babies because it is scratchy, rough, and uncomfortable. However, polyester is fire-resistant.

This means that they can offer some extra protection if something were ever to happen.

On the other hand, there is the possibility of polyester clothing causing allergic reactions in little ones. This is because chemicals are used in order to treat this synthetic fabric.

Furthermore, because of the non-breathable nature of polyester, it often isn’t a first choice because of comfort.

Babies typically cannot regulate body temperatures well, and polyester can cause overheating, discomfort, and sweating. 

The only benefits of using polyester for your baby’s clothing is that it will last a very long time, and that it offers some flame protection.

Although the likelihood of a fire breaking out is slim, this might simply make parents feel better.

However, if you decide to use polyester for your baby’s clothing, you need to see how they react to it.

There is a chance that they will react badly to it, or they will find it too uncomfortable. If this is the case, you will need to stop using it immediately. Fabrics such as cotton are probably a better choice.

Polyester Vs Cotton Price 

The price of cotton and polyester can vary quite a lot. Generally speaking, however, polyester is cheaper than cotton.

This is because it’s easier to produce, as well as being more durable.

Cotton, on the other hand, needs to be grown and harvested. This takes a lot longer than growing polyester.

Prices can vary due to the popularity of the product, but mostly speaking, polyester is cheaper.

Polyester Vs Cotton Strength

In terms of strength, polyester is stronger than cotton. This is due to the nature of the material. Polyester fibers are thicker than their cotton counterparts.

Although this means that polyester is more durable, it also means that it’s heavier. Cotton has less weight per square inch than most other fabrics.

Therefore, if you want to save money, look for lightweight versions of polyester.

Again, though, just because polyester is more durable and cheaper than cotton, doesn’t mean that it’s suited to everything.

The material used and the climate it gets used in will determine what kind of fabric suits you best.

Polyester Blends

Polyester Blends

Polyester blends are also popular choices for clothing. We will explore what polyester blends are below.

What Are Polyester Blends?

Polyester blends are blends of different types of polyester. They come in various forms, including:

* 100% polyester

* 50/50 polyester/cotton

* 75/25 polyester/cotton (75 percent polyester, 25 percent cotton)

There are many combinations of these materials. Each blend has its own advantages and disadvantages.

100% Polyester is probably the most common form of polyester used on shirts, pants, jackets, etc.

Because polyester is so widely used, it’s usually very cheap. It’s also easy to dye and print. However, it isn’t particularly breathable or comfortable.

If you’re looking for something which is really cheap, then 100% polyester might be ideal. Otherwise, you could get into trouble.

Your clothes will become rather uncomfortable after wearing them for several days.

When Are Polyester Blends Suitable?

Polyester blends are great for summer wear. As we mentioned above, they don’t breathe terribly well.

However, they do have an advantage over pure polyester – they’re much warmer.

Pure polyester tends to feel cool when it’s hot out. By contrast, polyester blends tend to be slightly warmer than cotton.

They also keep your skin cooler. This makes them perfect for warm weather wear.

Although it sounds like a good decision, remember that the only way to find out whether polyester blends work for you is to try them!

You’ll need at least one pair of each type of garment before making any judgements.

Spandex And Polyester

Another thing to consider with polyester blends is spandex. Spandex is often added to polyester blends.

It helps make the garments stretchy. If you exercise a lot, then this could be useful. But if not, then it might be better to stick with plain polyester.

Spandex is typically used for swimwear as well as workout gear. Remember that although it may help with fitness, it can also increase chafing.

Make sure you test the fit of anything you buy before you wear it.


This is the second most popular choice when making clothing. As mentioned above, it’s a great combination of comfort and cost.

You can find both cotton and polyester in this style of fabric.

In fact, some people prefer it over pure polyester. It’s similar to 50/50 polyester-cotton blends.

Poly-cottons are usually a lot more breathable, and even has wicking capabilities. This means that they are able to quickly transfer moisture to the outside of clothing.

This keeps things cool, dry, and helps prevent bacteria build up.

However, there is a downside. Cotton is more susceptible to shrinkage and wrinkling than polyester. Furthermore, it’s not nearly as strong as polyester.

So while the benefits of using poly-cotton outweigh the downsides, it still isn’t as hard wearing compared to pure polyester.

Because of its potential shrinkage, cotton-polyester blends need to be treated differently than pure polyester.

To make sure they don’t shrink, you should treat them as follows:

1. Wash your clothes before sewing them together.

2. Pre-shrink the fabric by washing it at 60 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

3. Dry the fabric thoroughly afterwards.

4. Sew your clothes together using an appropriate needle size.

5. Once the seams have been sewn, iron them flat.

6. Allow the new pieces of clothing to cool down completely before putting them away.

The reason you need to take special care with cotton-polyester blends is because cotton shrinks a bit more than polyester.

If you don’t do this step correctly, your clothes won’t fit properly.

You’ll notice that we didn’t mention cotton-only fabrics here. This is because there are plenty of options for those who don’t like the idea of buying only cotton.

Even if you do choose cotton-only, you still need to follow all the steps outlined above.

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Final Thoughts

To conclude, polyester is not a breathable fabric, and it is not well-suited to summer and warmer temperatures.

However, it does offer many advantages.

You will find a wide variety of products made from polyester, especially in sportswear. The most common blend is polyester-cotton.

Other blends include polyester-spandex, or simply polyester.

In many cases, using cotton, or cotton blends is the better option. Cotton is a natural fabric, whereas polyester is essentially a type of plastic.

While both have their place, you need to carefully consider the climate you live in, and what the clothing is being used for. 

If you are unsure of how to find out what fabric your clothes are made of, the label should tell you everything you need to know.

Most clothing nowadays is a blend, and the label will let you know what it is and how to properly care for it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Polyester Synthetic?

Yes, polyester is a synthetic material. It is made when terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol are mixed.

Are Polyester Fabrics Expensive?

No, polyester fabrics are relatively cheap. They tend to be cheaper than wool and cotton, which is another popular choice for outdoor wear.

Is Polyester A Man-Made Fabric?

Yes, polyester is a man-made fabric. It is not a natural fiber. 

Is Polyester Made From Synthetic Materials?

Yes, polyester is made from synthetic materials.

What Are Man-Made Fibers?

 Man-made fibers are any kind of fiber that has been chemically altered to extend its life span. Some examples would include nylon, acrylic, rayon, etc.

What Is Meant By Synthetic Materials?

Synthetic materials are man-made materials that mimic other naturally occurring materials. Examples include plastics and various other materials used today.

Is Cotton A Natural Material?

Yes, cotton is a natural material. It grows from plants called cotton seeds.

What Are Good Summer Fabrics?

The best fabrics for summer include cotton, linen, silk, and jacquard.

Can I Use Polyester For Summer?

Polyester is not suitable for summer climates.

Is Cotton A Natural Fiber?

Yes, cotton occurs naturally.

Which Type Of Fabric Has Excellent Breathability?

Cotton has great breathability.

Is Polyester A Natural Fiber?

No, polyester is a synthetic material.

Is Polyester A Comfortable Fabric?

Polyester is not a very comfortable fabric because it is not breathable.

Any type of material that is not breathable that is not breathable is not very comfortable, because moisture gets trapped on skin.

This results in you being sweaty and uncomfortable, especially in hot weather.

Should Polyester Be Worn As Athletic Wear?

It is not advised to wear polyester as active wear. This is because heavy sweating will be trapped against the skin and will not be absorbed by the atmosphere.

The moisture will be very uncomfortable.

Are Polyester Sheets Comfortable?

Polyester sheets are not comfortable because they can make you sweat a lot. The type of material used for sheets should be breathable.

Either cotton or a popular blend like cotton-polyester blend is suitable for bedsheets.

Heavy sweating, or night sweats, will make sleeping very uncomfortable. Night sweats can also result in sweat stains.

Is Polyester A Lightweight Material?

Polyester is considered a lightweight material. However, it does weigh more than some other types of fabrics.

What Is A Looser Weave Fabric?

A looser weave fabric is one with small holes to allow air flow. A tighter weave means less airflow. Cottons are an excellent choice if you are looking for a fabric with good airflow.

Why Am I Experiencing Night Sweats With My New Sheets?

Night sweats may be caused by the sheets if they are polyester. Heat and moisture will become trapped, and cause this sweating to occur. 

What Is 100-Percent Polyester Fabric?

A fabric that is made purely from polyester. This 100% polyester fabric is durable, long-lasting, and easy to care for.

It is very hard wearing, which makes it ideal for sports uniforms, children’s clothes, and many other applications.

What Is A Poly Cotton Fabric?

A poly cotton fabric is a blend of cotton and polyester. There are two main reasons why people chose this fabric. 

Are Synthetic Sheets Good To Sleep On?

No, synthetic sheets are not great to sleep on. Unless they are blends, synthetic sheets can trap meat and moisture.

A natural sheet, like one made of cotton, will allow for breathability, and you will be kept cool. Breathable sheets are the key to getting a good night’s rest. 

What Are The Coolest Sheets To Sleep On? 

Some of the coolest sheets to sleep on are cotton sheets. This airy material ensures that you are kept cool throughout the night, and moisture is not trapped.

Amanda Brown
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