Linen vs. Cotton – What’s the Difference?

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Linen and cotton are two common fabrics used to make napkins, sheets, towels, and clothing. Both have their pros and cons, but what’s the difference between linen and cotton? Are one or the other better than the other? Let’s discuss the similarities and differences of these two natural fibres, so you can choose which one is best for your needs!

Both come from flax

Some people get confused about linen and cotton because both fibres come from flax, a plant that has been cultivated for at least 8,000 years. Both linens and cottons are derived from a part of flax’s stem called linen bast, but don’t let that fool you – they’re very different fibres!

Both are natural

Natural fabrics like linen and cotton are prized for their smooth, comfortable feel, as well as their easy care: both are stain resistant and can be laundered in cold water or by machine without requiring ironing (and without causing yellowing). And because they’re not made from synthetic fibres, they don’t retain odours from your dinner, either! On its own or paired with a tablecloth and napkins, linen is a classic look for casual dinner parties, but it can also dress up more formal affairs. Linen napkins pair well with our white dinner plates to create a refined setting that reflects your elevated sense of style – and doesn’t leave you feeling stressed about how to put it all together at home.

Each have their own unique qualities

Looking for new linen napkins for your home? Read on to learn about linens, including how they’re made and why they have such a reputation as an attractive yet durable fabric option. First, you’ll need to understand what linen is. Linen is a natural fibre that comes from flax plants grown all over the world. It has been used in textile production since ancient times, mostly because it’s known for its ability to be easily spun into yarn and then woven into cloth with a distinctive texture and crispness that sets it apart from cotton or other plant-based fabrics like rayon.

Use both linens and cottons as napkins

You might be wondering, should I use cotton or linen napkins at my wedding? The answer is a little complicated, but one important thing to keep in mind is that both are just as likely to be stained at your wedding. And if they do get stained, you can always replace them; that’s not an issue! There’s also no need to decide on one or another because there are certainly uses for both in most cases – and definitely no need to purchase special napkins for each table. If it’s all about how you feel and what fits your budget (or style), opt for cottons and linens together for a perfectly blended look that isn’t too matchy-matchy.

Linens are more expensive than cottons

Linens tend to be more expensive than cottons because they are woven with a tighter thread, allowing them to be softer and resist wrinkles better than cottons. Most linens are made of fibres obtained from flax seeds, which makes linen one of those eco-friendly fabrics for your home. Linen is also known for its natural absorbency and breathability, making it perfect for napkins that you can use in place of paper towels in your kitchen! On top of being environmentally friendly, linens have a beautiful texture that looks great around any table setting or as part of a sophisticated bedding ensemble.

They both have different weaves, which affects their durability

linen is stronger than cotton, but it doesn’t hold its shape quite as well. You should choose a linen napkin if you want your linen napkins to last a long time (longer than cotton, anyway), and you won’t mind replacing them every few years. Linen napkins are ideal for formal events where no one will be eating messy foods like spaghetti or cake.

Cottons are more absorbent than linens

When cotton is made into fabric, it goes through several processes to become soft and absorbent enough for clothing or bedding. When you wash a cotton garment, that processing makes it easier for moisture to penetrate and be retained by the fibres, making them more absorbent than linens.

main photo: Kronemberger

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