What Are The Differences Between Polyester And Polypropylene?

Picking a material for a piece of furniture or clothing can be a difficult decision.

You want something that will last, something that will stand the test of time, and more than anything you want something that looks good! There are a lot of things to think about – material, design, patterns, and color. 

So let’s set the scene – you’re shopping around for furniture or clothing.

Perhaps it’s a sofa you’re looking for or a new gorgeous rug for your living room, or maybe a new piece of sportswear, and as you’re looking around online or in stores, you come across these two different terms more than once.

What Are The Differences Between Polyester And Polypropylene

Polyester, Polypropylene. These words are words that are really common in product descriptions and are often bounded around as a plus – but what do they mean exactly? What is the difference between these two materials?

If you find yourself in this situation, wanting to know what the difference is between the Polyester and Polypropylene, then you have come to the right place! This is going to be a comprehensive guide that will take you through everything you’ll need to know about them.

We’ll go into some of their histories, some of their uses, and which one is better the next time you see them listed in a product description!

But we’re not stopping there! We’ve also included a short FAQ section at the end of this article, to answer any additional questions you might have! So let’s get to it and explore the differences between Polyester and Polypropylene. 

What Is Polyester?

What Is Polyester?

Let’s begin by defining what both materials are, starting with Polyester.

Polyester is a common synthetic material used to make clothing, bedding, carpets, and other household items.

It was first developed in Germany during World War II when scientists were trying to create synthetic fibers that could withstand high temperatures without burning. The result was polyester. 

It wasn’t until the 1950s that people started using polyester on a large scale, mainly because it was so easy to work with.

It was strong, durable, and relatively inexpensive. And since it was made from petroleum, it was cheap to produce. So naturally, it became very popular throughout the world. 

Polyester is most commonly used in furniture such as couches, chairs, mattresses, pillows, rugs, and curtains.

Because it’s a synthetic fiber, it doesn’t absorb moisture like natural fabrics do, making it perfect for keeping your home dry and clean.

It’s also incredibly versatile, meaning that it can be dyed in many colors and patterns to match almost any style and theme. 

Today, polyester remains an extremely versatile material. It’s still being used today in many different industries, including textiles, plastics, and even food packaging.

But it has been replaced in many areas by newer, greener alternatives. That said, polyester is still one of the most commonly used materials in modern-day manufacturing.

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What Is Polypropylene?

What Is Polypropylene?

Now let’s move on to Polypropylene. Polypropylene is another type of plastic that is widely used today. Like polyester, it was originally created in order to help with war efforts.

Scientists wanted a stronger alternative to nylon, which was already being used in the military. They came up with polypropylene, and it worked out pretty well. 

Like polyester, polypropylene is incredibly versatile. It’s used in all sorts of products, from toys to electronics to building supplies.

It’s also a great option if you’re looking to save money. Unlike polyester, polypropylene doesn’t require much energy to manufacture, making them cheaper than their counterparts. 

And although it’s often considered a better choice than polyester, it’s still far from ideal. In fact, polypropylene is actually classified as a non-renewable resource.

That means that we’ll never run out of it, but it will eventually break down into smaller pieces. As a result, it’s important to recycle everything possible when it comes to this material.

Pros And Cons Of Polyester 

Now that we’ve outlined the two different materials, let’s go a little deeper into listing their pros and cons, starting with Polyester. 


1) Durability

One of the biggest benefits of polyester is that it’s extremely durable. It’s been around for decades now, and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

If anything, it’s only getting stronger over time. This makes it a great option for those who want something long-lasting, and they won’t have to worry about replacing it too frequently.

2) Versatility 

Another thing that sets polyester apart from other materials is how flexible it is. It’s able to take on just about any shape or size, allowing you to customize it to fit your needs perfectly.

You can dye it in any color you’d like, and it’ll stay vibrant for years. Plus, it’s easy to work with, so you can easily sew it together yourself without needing to hire a professional.

3) Low Cost 

Finally, polyester is incredibly affordable. It’s inexpensive enough that you can afford to buy multiple items made from it.

And unlike other materials, you won’t need to replace them very often. So if you’re looking for a low-cost investment, then polyester might be the best choice for you.


While there are certainly plenty of positives associated with polyester, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind as well.

Here are a couple of things that you should know about this material before buying it:

1) It’s Not Biodegradable

Although polyesters are generally thought of as environmentally friendly, they aren’t exactly perfect.

The problem stems from the fact that they’re not completely biodegradable. Instead, they break down into small bits that end up polluting our oceans.

2) It’s Difficult To Recycle 

While polyester is fairly easy to dispose of, it’s still more complicated than most people realize.

Because of this, many recycling centers won’t accept it at all. But even if they do, it takes a lot longer to process than other types of recyclables.

So while polyester has its advantages, it’s important to remember that it isn’t entirely eco-friendly. Fortunately, there are alternatives available to make sure that you’re doing your part to protect our environment.

Pros And Cons Of Polypropylene 

So what does polypropylene have to offer? Well, it’s definitely got some good points, including the following:


1 ) High Strength 

Like polyester, polypropylene is one of the strongest plastics available today. It’s also resistant to heat, making it an excellent choice for outdoor use.

2) Lightweight 

Since polypropylene is lightweight, you don’t have to worry about carrying around extra weight. This makes it easier to move around, especially if you’re working outside.

3) Easy To Mold 

Unlike polyester, polypropylene is much easier to mold. They’re also less likely to crack or split when you try to bend them.

4) Long Life Span 

Similar to polyester, polypropylene will last for several decades. In fact, it’s estimated that it could last for hundreds of years!

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Unfortunately, polypropylene doesn’t come without its own set of disadvantages. Here are a few things you may want to consider before purchasing it:

1) Expensive 

Compared to polyester, polypropylene is quite expensive. This means that you’ll pay a premium price for each item you purchase.

2) Not As Durable

As mentioned above, polypropylene is weaker than polyester. This means that it’s not nearly as durable as the latter. If you drop something on it, it’s going to break quicker than a polyester piece would.

3) Difficult To Recycle

Just like polyester, polypropylene is not accepted by most recycling centers. This makes it harder to get rid of, which means that you’ll have to spend more money to dispose of it properly.

So while polypropylene has its benefits, it’s important to understand that it’s not perfect. You’ll find that polyester is a better option overall because it offers a number of positive qualities.

However, if you’re willing to put in a little bit of work, you can find ways to incorporate both options into your home decor.

Which Is Better For A New Piece Of Furniture? 

When it comes to new furniture, you will frequently see these two materials listed. But here’s the thing – it can be difficult to choose between them.

With our base knowledge that we now have about the histories and common uses of each, let’s take a look at the two materials and what to keep a lookout for when shopping. 

If you want something that will last forever, then going with polypropylene is probably the way to go.

Not only is it more durable than polyester, but it’s also significantly cheaper. If you need something that will stand up to wear and tear, then polypropylene might just be what you’re looking for.

You could get a couch made out of polypropylene that will hold up to years of heavy usage. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that will be soft and cozy, then polyester might be your best bet.

It’s softer than polypropylene, so it won’t scratch easily like its counterpart. And because it’s more flexible, it can be sewn together into sweaters, blankets, pillows, and other things.

So depending on what kind of furniture you’re looking for, you may find yourself drawn towards either one. 

The main difference between the two materials is that polypropylene is generally stiffer than polyester.

This means that it doesn’t stretch quite as much. Because of this, it’s usually recommended that you avoid using polypropylene for any clothing items.

Instead, stick to using polyester for those types of items.

The same goes for bedding. While both are good options, they do have different properties.

Polyester tends to feel warmer than polypropylene because it has a higher melting point. On top of that, polyester is typically more breathable than polypropylene.

This means that you can sleep comfortably even during hot summer nights. 

Which Is Better For Sportswear? 

You’ve probably heard people talk about how polyester feels great against the skin. After all, it’s used for everything from shirts to underwear.

In fact, it was originally developed for use in athletic apparel. That being said, there are some instances where polypropylene is actually better suited for sportswear.

For example, if you’re looking to buy a pair of shorts or pants, you should consider polypropylene over polyester.

Why? Well, polypropylene is naturally moisture-wicking. This means that it will help draw sweat away from your body.

As a result, you’ll stay cooler and drier throughout the day. This makes it ideal for activewear. 

However, if you’re looking at buying a shirt or t-shirt, you should definitely consider polyester. Why? Because, unlike polypropylene, polyester does not absorb sweat.

This means that it stays stuck to your skin and causes discomfort. To make matters worse, polyester is also very slippery. This means that you’ll slip around a lot easier while wearing it. 

Additional Factors To Keep In Mind

What About Cleaning?

Another big factor that should be taken into account is how easy it is to clean each material. When it comes to cleaning, polypropylene is pretty straightforward.

Just wipe away all the dirt and grime with soap and water. Once you’ve done that, you can wash your piece in the washing machine. 

However, polyester takes a little bit longer to clean. First, you’ll want to remove all the stains before you start scrubbing.

Then, you’ll want to soak it in warm water and detergent. After that, you’ll want to rinse it thoroughly. Finally, you’ll want to dry it off completely. 

What About Maintenance?

You might think that since polypropylene is more durable, it would require less maintenance. Well, while that’s true, there are some downsides to that too.

For starters, polypropylene requires regular vacuuming. That’s because it attracts dust and dirt. 

In addition, it’s not very stain-resistant. So make sure that you don’t leave food or drink on it. Also, try to avoid leaving pet hair on it.

Otherwise, it could end up getting stuck in the fibers

While polyester does attract dust and dirt, it’s easier to clean. Plus, it’s more resistant to staining.

So if you plan on keeping your furniture around for a long time, then polyester might actually be the better option.

However, if you’re planning on moving it around often, then polypropylene is definitely the better choice.

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Environmental Impact of Polyester And Polypropylene

This is a section that is vital for this day and age.

You’ve likely heard of plastic pollution, and know about how important it can be to consider – but what about Polyester and Polypropylene? What is their environmental impact? Let’s take a look at that now!

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

In terms of plastics, PET stands out from the crowd. It’s made by combining ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid.

These chemicals are used to create synthetic fiber. They’re also commonly found in shampoo bottles, bottle caps, and other products. 

Because of its popularity, we use an estimated 1.5 billion pounds of PET every year. Unfortunately, this creates a lot of waste.

We throw away tons of these plastics when we buy new clothes, shoes, and other things. But just like most plastics, they don’t biodegrade easily.

Instead, they break down into smaller pieces over time. This makes them harder to recycle. 

The good news is that we’re starting to see more companies making PET recyclable.

Some stores are even offering discounts for people who bring back their old clothes, toys, and other items.

This means that as time goes on, both materials may become more easily recyclable. 

The History Of Polyester

One of the biggest reasons why people choose polyester over other fabrics is its history, so let’s take a short glance into the past to see why this material has become so popular!

Back in the 1930s, scientists discovered that certain chemicals called polymers could be used as insulation.

It was later found out that this new type of insulation could be spun into yarn. Eventually, this led to the creation of polyester fiber. 

This discovery revolutionized the textile industry. Because of this, we now have many types of polyester fabric.

We have clothing, bedding, carpeting, and so much more. Today, polyester is still one of the most popular choices for home furnishings.

The History of Polypropylene 

As with polyester, polypropylene has been around for quite a while. It’s been around since the 1950s. At first, it was only used as a plasticizer.

But eventually, it became known as a synthetic resin. This allowed companies to create different kinds of plastics. One of those plastics was polypropylene. 

Over the years, polypropylene has become incredibly useful. It can be used for packaging, bottles, toys, flooring, and even car parts.

Currently, it’s the second-largest material used to produce plastic products. 

Examples Of Products 

So now in this section, we would like to outline to you different products made of each material.

This will allow us to show you the differences, as well as highlight some of the most important things to keep an eye out for when purchasing either of these two materials. 

Polyester Microfiber Bedsheets 

So we’ve started with one of the most popular products you’re likely to find made out of polyester – bedsheets! This set from AmazonBasics shows the main reason why polyester microfiber is so often used as a material – it’s cheap, easy to clean, and maintain.

This set is machine washable and shrink resistant, meaning that you won’t have to worry about the size of your sheets drastically changing with each wash.

Polyester is often used for bedsheets for this very reason.

If you’re looking for bedsheets, you’ll likely find a wide variety of different Polyester products on the market, and these AmazonBasics Bedsheets are just one example. 


Here you can see an example of how Polyester is used within sportswear.

The material has a lot of uses in clothing, specifically for clothing that is going to be used when involved in rigorous physical activity.

It’s incredibly strong, and it doesn’t stretch easily. That means that you can wear it without worrying about it becoming uncomfortable over time.

The material is also extremely breathable, which makes it great for outdoor sports. When you’re wearing it, you’ll feel cool and comfortable all day long. 

Face Masks

Ever wondered what else Polypropylene can be used for? What about as a filter for face masks.

Polypropylene is used as a filter as it allows air to pass through while trapping any particles or bacteria that may be present. 

It’s super-breathable, which is ideal for filtering out odors and germs. These face masks can be used to filter pollution or to protect from virus transmission. 

Tote Bags

Polyester can be great for making simple, lightweight bags that are easy to take around with you.

You can make them yourself using recycled plastic bottles, or you can buy them ready-made. These bags are perfect for carrying around groceries or even holding items such as keys or wallets.

You can get a whole range of different sizes and styles. Some come with handles, others don’t. There are many options available.


When it comes to socks, you will often see polyester and polypropylene combined with other materials. Take these socks for example.

If you check out the included materials, you’ll see that they are made of 64% combed cotton, 30% polypropylene, and 6% spandex. 

This allows these sports socks to be breathable, flexible, and durable.

When searching for sportswear, it’s always worth checking out the materials because they’ll give you an idea of how long the clothing will last. 

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Final Thoughts

Polyester and Polypropylene have some major similarities, so it makes sense that there will be some confusion when trying to distinguish the differences between them.

Both materials are used for similar pieces of clothing, furniture, and other garments, and choosing between them can be difficult! We hope that this article has given you all the information you need to know and that you now feel confident in comparing the two materials.

If you still need some extra help, keep reading for our extensive Frequently Asked Questions Section that will aim to define some of the more technical terms used in this article, as well as answer any other questions you may have leftover.

We wish you the best in choosing the right material for the perfect product you’re searching for!

Happy shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Polyester Made?

Polyester is created by combining ethylene glycol (a type of alcohol) with terephthalic acid. As a result, the polymer forms a chain of repeating units called esters.

Each unit consists of two carbon atoms bonded together via a double bond. To create a high-quality product, manufacturers must ensure that the process is done under controlled conditions.

Why Do Companies Choose Polyester?

There are several reasons why companies choose to use polyester instead of other types of plastics. Firstly, it’s very versatile.

Because it’s a synthetic polymer, it can be molded into almost anything. It can be melted and shaped, stretched and folded, and even dyed. All of these qualities mean that it’s highly suitable for creating

Is Polyester UV Resistant? 

No, but it does offer some protection against sunlight. This is why it’s commonly used to create sun hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen products.

However, it doesn’t provide full protection from ultraviolet rays.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Polyester?

There are numerous advantages of using polyester over other materials.

For starters, it’s extremely strong and durable. It’s also incredibly lightweight, which means that it’s ideal for creating lightweight fabrics.

Another benefit is that it’s recyclable, meaning that it can easily be broken down and reused again.

Can I Use Polyester To Make My Garments?

Yes, you can use polyester to create your clothes, shoes, and accessories. You just need to follow a few basic rules.

Firstly, you should only use 100% polyester. This ensures that you won’t have any problems with shrinkage or shrinking.

Secondly, you shouldn’t mix different types of polyester. Doing so could cause the fabric to become weak and tear easily.

Finally, make sure that you wash your new items regularly. Otherwise, you risk damaging the fibers.

Are There Any Disadvantages Of Using Polyester Clothing?

Of course, there are disadvantages to using polyester clothing. One of the main issues is that it tends to wrinkle quickly.

This is especially true if you wear tight-fitting clothing. Also, it can take longer than other materials to dry.

Which Material Should I Choose?

The choice between polyester and polypropylene will depend on what you want to achieve.

If you’re looking to create something that’s long-lasting and has a good amount of strength, then polyester might be the better option.

On the other hand, if you want to create something comfortable and breathable, then polypropylene might be the better choice.

Which Type Of Plastic Is Better For Making Bags?

The choice between polypropylene and polyethylene depends on what you intend to use them for.

Generally speaking, polyethylene is better suited for making bags because it’s easier to work with.

However, polypropylene is much stronger, which makes it a great option when you’re looking to create heavy-duty bags.

What Does “BPA” Mean?

If you’ve ever been to a restaurant, you’ll probably have noticed that many bottles contain a warning label stating that they may contain bisphenol A (or BPA).

What exactly is this chemical? Well, BPA is an organic compound that was first discovered in 1891.

Since then, it’s been widely used as a plasticizer, which means that it helps to soften and mold plastic.

Unfortunately, it’s also found in many everyday objects such as food packaging, baby bottles, and dental sealants.

Amanda Brown
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