The differences between people help make everyone unique even though they share similar characteristics. The same goes for fabrics. Even though they have similar attributes, they are also unique and different.
In most cases, the fabric you purchase inevitably comes down to price. The main difference between these two fabrics is that polyester is cheaper to buy than microfiber. It takes more work to produce the latter material so it will cost you more.
To learn about the differences between the two fabrics just continue to read our article. It gives you those differences plus a lot more information. It will only take a few minutes of your time to get to know what makes each material unique.
In a roundabout way, you can say that the two fabrics are the same in the most basic ways. Microfiber is usually made from polyester and other additives. It is a much thinner fiber measuring 0.7 denier in diameter making it an ultra-fine or microfiber.
While polyester is usually blended with other fabrics to give it more positive characteristics, microfiber can often be spun into different textures and qualities to mimic materials like suede.
Nylon can also be used to create microfiber while polyester is basically made from polymers that come from petroleum products. It is a separate and unique fabric much like cotton is separate and unique from linen, hemp, and similar natural fibers.
Polyester was created to help cut down on laundry issues like wrinkles, shrinkage, and other problems that arise when doing the laundry. Microfiber is supposed to be softer than polyester but it may not be able to escape that artificial feel and look that comes with the former fabric.
Polyester cannot get away from being seen as artificial because it is an artificial or man-made fiber woven to create clothing.
It was supposedly invented by DuPont in the late 1930s but it wasn’t until British scientists made the first commercial polyester fiber in 1941 did the world of fabric manufacturing sit up and take notice.
DuPont then bought the rights in 1946 and created polyester Dacron. Eastman chemical jumped on the bandwagon and made Kodel polyester in 1958. The 1970s saw the explosion of polyester clothing culminating in the double knit polyester suit, pantsuits, golf pants, and more disco type fashions.
But your father’s or grandfather’s polyester clothing is not like the polyester of today. Here are some upgrades that have taken place over the past 50 years:
- Resin refinements make the fabric better
- Changes to the spinneret changed the look and feel of the material
- Polyester today is stretched 5 times beyond its original length
- Crimping was added to create more texture and bulk
- More chemicals were used to add a sheen to the fabric as well as making it more colorfast, have better drape, and so on
- Microfiber is created to add another level to polyester fabrics
Even as bad as polyester was in the 1970s and 80s, 9 out of 10 people could not tell the difference between a polyester suit and one made from cotton, wool, or silk.
No one really knows when this fiber was actually invented. Some say it was in the 1950s by a pair of Japanese scientists while others place the date in 1986 and created by English scientists. Whoever and whenever it was invented, the fabric found its niche right away and it is not disappearing any time soon.
The key to its use was the discovery of how small scientists could make this fiber, Its small size made it very soft and comfortable when woven into a fabric. The microfiber is smaller than a silk fiber.
This material was woven in such a way that its fibers were split making it capable of absorbing 7 times its own weight. That split nature also enabled it to wipe away bacteria making it a popular material to use for cleaning products.
Microfiber is woven in two ways, a flat weave which is not as good as the other way, or the split weave. To tell the difference, the split weave will stick to your fingers. Some benefits that come with microfiber are:
- Luxurious feel, much like silk and suede
- Very fine texture, better than silk
- No fading of the color
- Comfortable and strong
- Doesn’t shed
- Easy to keep clean
Instead of giving you lots of long paragraphs to read, we know you may not have the time for that, here is a quick comparison chart to let you know the differences between the 2 materials:
|Origin||Petroleum products and chemicals||Made from polyester or nylon|
|Cost||Known to be inexpensive||More expensive than polyester but cheaper than most natural fabrics|
|Moisture||Water repellent||Absorbs water|
|Texture||Rough, artificial||Smooth and silky|
|Feel||Artificial nature||Soft and warm|
|Breathing||Not breathable||Very breathable|
|Uses||A wide variety of products in and outside of fashion||Mostly cleaning products, bedding, pillowcases, scarfs|
|Durability||Very strong and durable||Not as durable as polyester|
|Warmth||The same as microfiber||The same as polyester|
|Laundry care||Easy to clean||Easy to keep clean|
In bedding, you will find that polyester is more of a closed fabric than an open one like microfiber is. This means that germs, water, crumbs slide off of polyester sheets while those same items find a nice home in the loose weave of microfiber.
As for furniture, microfiber is better and easier to clean and probably a lot softer than polyester.
Again, we have to mention that the level of quality of each fabric will play a role here as to which fabric is cooler. Polyester is not known to be a cool fabric and is best worn or used on your bed during the winter months.
Since microfiber is made from polyester it is not going to be a champion of breathing. This fabric may be a little better at keeping you cool but the competition is close. Both fabrics are good for those cold nights where warmth is needed.
But you will find different opinions on this topic and that is where the quality of the materials comes into play. Different qualities will either help you stay cool or enhance your night sweats.
Of course, a lot will depend on the region of the country you live in as neither of these materials is good when the humidity levels are high. These are synthetic materials and synthetics, no matter how good the manufacturing are not that great at letting your body breathe
Microfiber sheets are going to be the softer more comfortable sheets to sleep under. Plus, microfiber has a nice silky feel to it so you can pretend you are sleeping on silk sheets.
The drawback with microfiber sheets s that they are a great place for dirt, bacteria, and crumbs to find a home. They are usually made with an open style weave which has lots of air holes in it. Not only do those holes let you breathe better than polyester, but they make nice little spots for those dirty items to get caught in.
Polyester sheets, on the other hand, are usually made with a closed weave. You may not breathe that well at night but crumbs, dirt, germs, etc., cannot find a home inside and these sheets are healthier to sleep on.
The polyester sheets if not woven at a top-quality level may also come with that artificial feel and texture the fabric is known for. This is not good when you want to relax and have a good rest before the hard day in the morning.
Even though there are some differences, these two kinds of bedding may be about the same where it counts. Both will keep you warm at night when the temperatures dip and both are durable with polyester being better here than microfiber.
Then both need to be cared for in just about the same way as traditional laundry methods need to be adjusted so you do not harm the bedding. Microfiber may be the winner here as it is supposed to be easier to keep clean.
But if you are going to compare these synthetic fabrics with natural ones, then the only way they would be better is in durability and longevity. Natural fibers tend to fade and wear out faster than synthetic ones.
Nothing beats the quality and comfort of natural fabrics when it comes to bedding or fashion. As silky as microfiber feels it is not as good as the real thing. Also, you get better breathing with natural fabrics than you do with synthetic ones.
If you do not want to sweat at night, go natural, and be cool.
The latter fabric is more water-absorbent which makes it easier to clean than the polyester one., That is a big plus when you have little children running around the house not thinking about the furniture as they play and eat.
Both fabrics help make the couch sturdy and warm which is great when winter comes and you have that nice fire going and a cup of hot chocolate in your hand. Oils and fat are not good for either fiber so clean those spills up as quickly as possible.
In terms of cost, a polyester couch is the better one to buy. You save money and you do not lose that warmth or durability. Yet, if you want a more sophisticated look in your family or living rooms, go with microfiber.
Then your personal preference will come into play. If you are not home that much then it really doesn’t matter what couch you have or which one is better. You will rarely use it. But when you are home, the microfiber one is something good to come home to.
If you can get past the cost of microfiber comforters then you should give them a lot of consideration before buying the comforter you want. They can be a bit on the expensive side and your budget may take a huge hit when you opt for that material.
In terms of softness and comfort, microfiber will be the best option to choose here. Polyester can be made to be soft but it does not reach the level of softness or comfort that microfiber can.
When you can’t afford silk, microfiber steps in and gives you that silky feeling at a much lower price. For warmth, both fabrics are good at keeping your warm at night. This is a toss-up category as neither breathes that well although microfiber breathes better than polyester does.
Then when you want durability, go with polyester. It is a little bit more durable than microfiber is and should last you a lot longer. Polyester and microfiber should not fade on you so the color brightness is not a factor.
Also, polyester doesn't get as dirty as microfiber does so that is worth considering as well. In the end, make the choice you want as both fabrics are synthetic and about the same overall.
Depending on the type of shirt you are looking for, polyester is the hand down favorites when it comes to sportswear. Its durability and other characteristics make it a natural for this type of shirt.
Polyester won’t absorb a lot of moisture and are more durable than microfiber shirts. That would go for a dress and casual shirts as well. Microfiber absorbs moisture more than polyester and is not as sturdy as that fabric.
Where microfiber wins in this discussion is in the comfort department and feel. It has a much softer and silkier feel to it than polyester and that characteristic is transferred to the shirts made from that material.
Also, microfiber will feel softer against your skin as polyester has a hard time shaking that artificial feel to it. No matter how soft they make that fabric, plastic, and petroleum products just are not natural or soft.
The cost of the two fabrics will probably be your most influential factor here. Both shirts should look good on you and which one you buy will depend on how much you want to spend. That is a decision you have to make on your own.
This question is asked a lot whenever comparisons are made. In some cases, there is a clear cut winner and one fabric is better than the other. In this case, it is a little more difficult to say since microfiber is made from polyester and nylon (and in some cases wood chips).
Overall, microfiber is probably better than polyester for several reasons. It is softer, better at picking up bacteria and other germs. It feels good and does not necessarily have that artificial feel that polyester comes with.
While polyester is more durable and may come in more colors and designs than microfiber, those two categories are not enough to propel it to victory and make it the better product.
Let’s just say that microfiber is the polyester upgrade everyone has been looking for. It has better features in most cases and looks better than polyester. It is best to leave this decision up to you. Your preferences and experiences will tell you which one is better.
In terms of cost though, polyester beats out microfiber without it being a competition.
Which fabric you buy is up to you. The cost of both will play a large role in your decision and if you want to save some money and go with polyester, you are not really buying an inferior quality product.
Polyester has its strengths which make it a good fabric to use. Microfiber can be seen as the long-awaited improvement of polyester if that helps justify your spending the extra money for that material. The downside of microfiber is that it is made from polyester.