Linen vs Polyester: Differences Between Linen and Polyester

When you need to be comfortable, look your best, you are often faced with a difficult decision. Do you go with the natural fabric that wrinkles but keeps you nice and comfortable? Or avoid the wrinkle issue and put on the synthetic fabric and feel less comfortable?

That difficult decision gives you the first big difference between these two fabrics. Linen, as you know, is a natural fabric that is very comfortable to wear. Polyester is the synthetic that is not always the best type of material to have next to your body. The two fabrics are as close as night and day.

To learn about more differences between these two fabrics, just continue to read our article. It explores the topic so you can see what is good or bad about both materials. Ultimately, it is up to you which one you wear but take a few minutes to see the differences. Maybe you will change your mind.

Is Polyester the Same as Linen?


No, the differences between these two fabrics are great and they do not come close to matching up or being the same thing. Linen comes from the flax plant that is grown for the most part in Europe and the different Mediterranean countries. The best soil for the flax plant is found in Belgium.

Polyester, on the other hand, comes from a laboratory and uses petroleum products and sometimes plastic to create its fibers. It has never seen the warmth of the sun until after it has been fashioned into thread or fabric.

Linen can wrinkle a lot while polyester is made to resist that and other laundry ills that linen falls victim to. Then linen is all-natural making it very safe to have next to your skin. With its high absorbency rate, something polyester doesn’t have, you can stay dry and cool while wearing that fabric.

Polyester is not natural and the only natural ingredient it has in it is the oil used in its construction. Or the construction of those petroleum products used to make this fabric. All of these points let you know that the two fabrics are not the same. The only thing they have in common is that they are made into clothing, bedding, curtains, or thread and used by many people throughout the world.

Is Polyester a Linen?


Again, the answer would have to be no. Polyester is not a linen. Especially if you are talking about it being the same as the natural linen material it is being compared with in this article. The two fabrics are not close in nature and have few properties in common. They also have widely different uses for the most part.

But, if you are talking about polyester being made into linens, then the answer would have to be yes. Polyester is one fabric used to make the different linens that grace churches, hospitals, and even your home.

That is about the only way polyester could be considered linen. This material is also blended with linen, the fabric, and makes some very fine textiles or clothing, etc., but it is still not a linen because it is a man-made fabric and does not have the right characteristics to be one.

Others may have a different opinion on this topic and that is okay. There is just nothing in polyester that would qualify it to be linen in the fabric sense. It is used in linens to make them stronger or easier to launder but that is about as far as it goes with that material.

Differences Between Linen and Polyester

To help you keep on time with your busy schedule, we created this quick comparison chart to help you see many of the differences between these two fabrics. It only takes a few seconds o get the information you need:

Category Linen Polyester
Origin The Flax plant The laboratory, oil & chemicals
Years in existence Thousands of years Less than 100 years
When to wear When the weather turns hot Colder days when the temperatures are down
Laundry care Wrinkles & shrinks easily Resists wrinkling & shrinking
Durability Very durable but maybe not as much as polyester Durable and lasts a long time
Biodegradable Yes It takes a long time to degrade & disappear
Quality Can be very high quality Not as good quality as natural fabrics
Absorption rate Absorbs 20 times its weight Does not absorb moisture
Care Needs special care Easy to take care of
Cost Can be very expensive Budget friendly and inexpensive

Polyester vs Linen Couch


In this comparison, polyester may be the better of the two fabrics to have on your sofa. While linen looks good and is affordable as well as resistant to fading and pilling, its negative aspects overshadow anything positive a linen couch brings to your home.

Linen will wrinkle and get dirty very easily. It is not the type of fabric you want to have in use every day or if you have kids or pets in your home. Plus, if you live in an area where the humidity gets very high, then this is not the fabric you want on your sofa.

With polyester fabric covering your couch, the lighter colors will attract and show stains more easily than the darker colors you can get. In addition to that, it may pill on you especially if blended with wool. But the material is easy to clean, can last a long time with proper maintenance and you have a wide variety of colors and designs to choose from.

It may be difficult to find a 100% linen couch as that fabric is most often blended with other fibers to add look, strength, and other fine features to your new sofa.

Polyester vs Linen Curtains

The winner in this matchup will be determined by which properties or features you want in your kitchen or home. Polyester is said to be mold and bacteria-resistant, holds its color well, and does not deteriorate. Plus, the cost is cheap making that fabric very attractive.

Polyester’s biggest drawback is heat and you can ruin it very easily by laundering it at the wrong temperature. With linen, you get UV and insect resistance and a material that is biodegradable and good for the environment.

Its drawbacks include it can wrinkle easily, can attract mold and mildew and it is more costly. But mold and mildew are expected as linen is a natural fiber. Most people who talk about polyester try to improve the reputation that fabric got when it was first introduced to the world of fashion.

There have been many upgrades over the past few decades and they claim polyester is better than ever. But nothing beats natural fibers. They are healthier, better looking, softer even if they cost a bit more. But you always pay more when you want quality.

Polyester vs Linen Tablecloths


The same characteristics that you may or may not like in either fabric come into play here. Polyester is great for casual or semi-formal events and can take a pounding as it is easier to clean than linen is. Plus, you get a lot of great colors and designs to work with so your table can look exciting and creative.

Linen’s best attribute is that it is a natural fiber that lends an air of sophistication and class to any event you are hosting. If your friends are part of the upper crust in society, then polyester would not be the type of tablecloth you would want to use.

Linen is strong but it takes more work to get it looking like it should. Your guests will be impressed by your selection of linen over polyester when they eat at your table. If you can’t decide which fabric to use as your tablecloth, then compromise and get a blend.

Blends give you the best of both worlds and your elite friends may not even notice the difference. The kids won’t, so use polyester when they and their friends take a break and snack at the table.

Polyester vs Linen Headboard

You spend a good portion of your time in your bedroom. Having the right headboard will make all the difference and help you to relax and enjoy that room much more. Polyester may last a little longer than linen will but then it lasts longer in the landfill as well.

Also, polyester can be made to feel soft although that soft feel may seem more artificial than the natural fiber’s softness. If you are the type of person that does unique activities in your bedroom, polyester resists stains except for greasy and oily ones that are next to impossible to remove. You also may experience more static electricity when you have a polyester headboard.

On the other hand, linen adds class and a great look to any bedroom. While polyester may come in a variety of colors, linen can be dyed to match your room’s decor. Linen can be hypoallergenic to some extent protecting those family members with allergies or asthma.

Linen is soft but will absorb stains if you get too overactive in your bedroom.

Polyester vs Linen Thread


The use of either thread depends a lot on the type of fabric you are sewing. Polyester is better for stretch fabrics as it has a lot of giving to it and can stretch with stretch material. Linen is not stretchy nor does it have any real give to it as time passes.

Linen thread is very strong and works well for those fabrics that can’t stretch yet have hard pressure points. If the thread gets wet, it becomes stronger. Some people say it gains 5% in strength when wet. One good point in its favor is that linen thread has been the thread of choice of saddle makers. This shows its strength.

Also, linen thread has found its way into bookbinding, sailing, and other heavy use industries. It accepts dye as well. Polyester thread is also strong but it does not dye very well. You may end up with a two-toned outfit if you are not careful.

It shouldn’t fade that fast and can last a long time. It also resists mold and mildew, etc. The best we can say here is to pick the thread that matches up with your sewing project or the clothing item you need to repair. Both are good in their own ways.

Polyester vs Linen Sheets

Linen sheets are known for their quality, their durability and are thicker than cotton sheets. That means when the sun goes down or the temperature drops a little, you would be warm if you use linen sheets. You should also be very comfortable.

Then if those sheets come with a high thread count expect those characteristics to increase. On top of that, linen is very good for asthma and allergy sufferers as it is a hypoallergenic material. A better night’s sleep is good for everyone when they use linen.

The main drawback to linen sheets is that they need to be washed a few times before they soften up and you can pay more for these sheets over polyester. If your sheets are made from polyester microfiber then you will have lower maintenance duties and they are easier to clean.

Plus, they can be very soft, durable, and easy on the bank account. Then polyester sheets resist wrinkling, shrinking, and is water-resistant. The downsides to this type of sheet are that it retains heat making you get too hot, can be clingy because it creates static electricity, and holds on to oily stains.

The choice is yours to make but natural fabrics next to your body usually let you breathe better and are healthier for your body.

What is Polyester Linen?


This combination is a blend of the two fabrics. If it is done with thread, you tend to get a nice vintage look with your clothing. When you want a nice 1940s look in your costume or daily clothes then choose this thread to put your outfits together.

This thread has many applications and is used in canvas and leatherwork, auto upholstery, sports equipment, saddles, military gear, western wear, luggage, bookbinding, model ship rigging, work gear, moccasins, straps, beading, and more.

Also, this blended thread can look like Irish linen and it is a middleweight thread that normally needs a size 12 needle to use in your sewing projects. The thread should also be used in a commercial sewing machine and not your regular home model.

Another good point about this blended thread is that it comes with a satin finish. Is a bit stiff in texture, but resists water and rot. Then it handles glue quite well adhering nicely to whatever you glue it to.

In clothing, it is often compared to muslin that is made in Bangladesh. It will handle good laundry techniques and hold up well over time even under heavy use.

Linen Polyester Blend


As a fabric, polyester lends its positive properties to linen to help make it shrink and wrinkle less. Then it helps soften linen initially while helping it to retain its good color. Also, you can clean or wash linen a lot better as it does not need that special care that 100% linen requires.

Then linen can help polyester look better, feel more natural, and breathe a lot easier. Polyester is not known for its breathing ability and linen lends a good hand here. That is good if this blend is found in your sheets. You should sleep a little cooler on warm nights.

If the blend is found in furniture, your sofa should look better and last longer while being easier to clean. Linen is often included in multiple fabric upholstery blends. Also, linen should stretch a little more when blended with polyester in all formats.

That is a good thing when it comes time to move fast or reach up high or down low.

Pros and Cons of Linen

You already know the pros and cons of polyester as we have written about that fabric often. Here are the good and bad points found in linen


  • Comes from a plant grown naturally
  • Needs little energy and water to process
  • ​Breathes and absorbs moisture well
  • ​Does not pill and resists stains
  • Gets smoother and softer overtime


  • Can be very expensive to buy
  • Can wrinkle and shrink easily
  • ​Not as durable as synthetic fabrics
  • Needs special care to clean it

Some Final Words

Linen and other natural fabrics have been around for thousands of years. Polyester has barely made 60 or 70 years and is made from chemicals, oil products, and plastics that may be harmful to your health. It is your choice what fabric will be next to yours and your loved one's skin.

Natural is always better than synthetic no matter the upgrades are done to the latter.

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