Modal Fabric vs Cotton: What Are the Differences?


It’s a little unbelievable how much there is to know about cotton. What else can you expect about a fabric with over 1000 years of history?

One of the reasons cotton’s so common is it’s so versatile. It’s not the only game in town, though.

Today, we’re going to take a look at modal fabric vs cotton to help you tell the difference between the two. Then we’ll share some modal fabric tips so you’ll have a better idea of which material is best for your project.

What Is Modal Fabric?

Modal fabric is made from material sourced from beech trees. It’s not exactly all-natural, although modal fabric begins with biological materials. Bio-based might be a more accurate way to put it.

Modal fabric begins with the pulp of birch trees. This pulp is then chemically processed similarly to how rayon is produced. Like rayon, modal fabric is intended as an alternative to silk.

First, beech chips are soaked in vats full of cellulose. The resulting debris is then mixed with sodium cellulose xanthate. Then it gets one more soak with sodium hydroxide, at which point it’s soft enough to spin into fibers.

These fibers are then washed in sulfuric acid so they can be woven into yarn. The resulting yarn is then bleached, washed, and dried.

Even though modal fabrics involve chemical processing, it can still be surprisingly eco-friendly. In fact, modal fabric can even be more sustainable than cotton which costs a lot of resources and labor to produce.

Modal Fabric Vs Cotton

Now let’s take a quick side-by-side comparison with a modal fabric guide vs. cotton guide to help you decide which fabric is going to be best for your needs.

Of the two, modal fabric is the softer and the silkier choice. It’s almost as soft and smooth as silk, so if that’s what you’re looking for modal fabric is the obvious choice.

Also similar to silk, however, is the fact that modal fabric doesn’t breathe wonderfully. If you’re looking for an airy, breezy comfortable fabric that wicks nicely, cotton might be a better choice.

Modal fabric is wonderfully resilient, though. It holds its bright, vivid color for many washes. Cotton, on the other hand, fades and wears relatively quickly in the wash. If it’s durability you’re after, again modal fabric is the best choice.

Finally, there’s the environmental factor. Since modal fabric requires fewer resources to produce and turn into fabric, it’s slightly more sustainable than cotton as well.

Considering all of these advantages, there’s no reason not to investigate modal fabric if you’re looking for soft, comfortable, resilient fabric like you’ll find at Canvas ETC.

Want More Fashion Advice?

Fashion is constantly shifting and changing. It never sleeps – it doesn’t even slow down for a second.

Now that you know some of the differences in modal fabric vs cotton, you can browse the rest of our fashion articles for an even deeper dive into today’s world of high style!

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