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100% Cotton or 50/50 Blend: Which Is Best?

You’ve created the perfect design. You settled on the perfect slogan. You’re finally ready to place your order when you’re suddenly rattled with a question you may have not been expecting…

100% cotton or a 50/50 blend?

Don’t panic! This post is going to teach you everything you need to know to make a wise and knowledgeable choice.

For the most part, it will simply come down to your own personal preference. But there are some important factors and considerations that you should be aware of before making your final decision.

Each choice offers its own set of pros and cons, so let’s look at each of them separately.



100% Cotton T-Shirts

The first thing you’ll notice about the cotton t-shirts is how soft they are to the touch. Not only are they much softer than their half-polyester counterparts, they “breathe” a lot better as well. What this means is that the cotton fabric allows air to circulate through the shirt. When we sweat, the shirt allows air to flow through and assist in evaporation, thus helping us stay cooler in hot and humid conditions. Plus, the cotton shirts just have a nicer, heavier feel to them that most people seem to like.

If your event is going to be outside, or in an area of high heat and humidity, then the 100% cotton shirt is definitely the way to go.

Cotton shirts are notorious for being heavy-duty shrinkers. But these days, 100% cotton fabric is manufactured to reduce the amount of shrinkage that occurs in the laundering process. Also, manufacturers are beginning to produce their cotton shirts a little bit bigger, to account for the shrinkage that will occur, not to mention that they are put through the manufacturer’s “preshrink” process.

So remember that 100% cotton shirts may not last as long as 50/50 blends, but they are softer and much more breathable, allowing for proper perspiration evaporation. They also do not shrink as much as they used to. For instance, our preferred shirt, the Gildan 100% cotton T, will only shrink up to 3-5%, on average.

50/50 Cotton and Polyester Blend T-Shirts

If its durability and long-lasting shirts you’re looking for, then a 50/50 cotton and polyester blend may be right for you. The Polyester adds resiliency to the cotton fibers, allowing them to “spring back” into shape and endure many more laundry cycles.

Unfortunately, the Polyester does not allow for evaporation, and can become uncomfortable when worn in hot and humid areas. 50/50 blends are ideal for indoor situations which may call for extra durability, longevity or unusually high amounts of laundering.

The 50/50 blend is also less likely to shrink/wrinkle than 100% cotton and feels lighter on the wearer.

Many T-shirt and clothing manufacturers such as Anvil Knitwear are beginning to use recycled polyester in their manufacturing processes. The FTC recognizes items containing recycled polyester fibers as being eco-friendly and, of course, ClassB supports that as well.



Making the Final Decision

Now that you know the advantages of each type of shirt, it’s time to take a quick look at exactly where and how the shirts are going to be worn.

Are they going to be worn indoors where it is cool, or outdoors in the heat and humidity? Will the shirts be worn over and over again, or is it a one-time event? Just give it a little thought and you should have no problem deciding which is best for you.

You should have enough information now to be able to make your decision, but if you still need help, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-851-4020. One of our helpful customer service representatives will be glad to talk to you about which shirt to choose. We’re here Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm EST, and we’re always ready to help!

Now it’s your turn – let us know your thoughts on the differences between 100% cotton and 50/50 blend. Leave a comment below!

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