Cotton vs Modal Fabric – Is Modal Same as Cotton?

Last Updated on December 6, 2022

Cotton vs Modal: Cotton and Modal fabric are two of the most popular fibers in clothing products. Both cotton and modal are firm natural fibers, but they leave us with a soft and smooth hand feel. Cotton, which is an organic fiber, comes from a highly hardy plant.

Modal Fabric vs Cotton Fabric

Cotton vs Modal

Modal is a synthetic fiber processed to get its firm structure and soft feel. Then, why do more people prefer modal fabric than cotton? So, for your better understanding, we will compare modal fiber and cotton fiber in this article.

What Is Cotton Fabric?

Cotton fabric comes from the cotton plant, which grows in tropical regions around the world. It is durable and absorbent, making it perfect for everyday wear.

Cotton Fabric

We use it to produce lightweight and heavyweight garments or home furnishing products like sheets and bed covers. Some manufacturers add spandex to cotton fiber to make elastic denim that stretches easily without losing its shape when worn in different positions.

What Is Modal Fabric?

Modal is also known as Tencel or Lenzing. It comes from the European beech tree (tilia Europaea). The name “modal” was given since the fabric first appeared in Sweden.

Modal Fabric

First produced in Germany and Austria, modal was always used to make underwear because of its softness, absorbency, color.

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Cotton vs Modal – What is the Difference Between Cotton and Modal

Cotton is a natural fiber, and due to the way it is designed and manufactured into clothing, it has several advantages, including the ability to regulate moisture, insulate, and provide comfort. It is also hypoallergenic and a piece of durable fabric. Cotton fabrics are well known to be an ideal material for clothing, bedsheets, and other everyday things. It is widely available, affordable, and effortless to care for.

Cotton vs Modal

Cotton fabric has a long fiber length, which results in more strength when creating clothes and home decor items such as tablecloths. Besides, Cotton fabrics can be damaged when washed with bleach or harsh detergents. They are also not very soft compared to modal fabrics.

On the other hand, Modal fabric comprises natural fibers. It can resist wrinkles and shrinkage since it is manufactured with the aid of chemicals. And so modal fiber becomes a trendy choice in home decorating products as well as clothing products. The more you wash, the softer modal fabrics become.

Breathability Comparison

Modal fabric is a type of fiber first made in the 1940s and has remained popular even today. Modal silk, for example, is smooth and soft, just like cotton fabric but feels softer. It also drapes well over the body, unlike other fabrics. This feature makes it very popular as a relaxed-fit clothing material.

Modal fibers give off moisture more efficiently than cotton fabrics, especially when absorbing sweat from the skin surface during exercise, making the modal fabric breathable and comfortable to wear. Even though the modal fabric is much lighter than cotton fabric, it retains its shape and does not wrinkle even if you do not use an iron on it because, unlike cotton, it can dry quickly after washing.

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Durability Comparison

Cotton fabrics are strong enough to endure frequent washing, and they can last for a long time. On the contrary, the modal fabric is also very durable and easy to care for. However, it must be cared for properly to maintain its beauty over the long term and provide continued comfort after many washing items.

However, Modal fabric is superior to cotton fabric only when it comes to its breathability feature, not strength. It feels more comfortable on the skin because of its softness compared to cotton’s scratchiness.

Fiber Comparison

Cotton fabrics contain long chains of cellulose when they are raw materials that have been organized in a spiral formation. It makes them strong, durable, and able to withstand frequent washing. It will still hold together even one strand gets snapped off, making the fabric able to resist ripping off completely, unlike other delicate fabrics like modal.

Cellulose also helps cotton retain its color for an extended time while retaining its natural state even during washing. Modal fibers differ from cotton fibers because they comprise many tiny filaments with their characteristics, such as double twist or single twist, low-density polyethylene.


Well, both are pretty good, actually, as long as you choose your quality from reputable brands like Hanes, Gildan Activewear, Australian Supplies Direct Modal Underwear, or Fruit of the Loom: Cotton/Polyester boxer briefs. Keep in mind that just because something says it’s modal doesn’t mean it is. So be sure to read the label. For example, American Apparel’s modal shirts are mixed with polyester fibers, thus making them a blend not 100% modal like they.


While 100% cotton pajamas are warmer and more durable than modal, cotton pajamas are not that soft. Modal is softer on the skin because of its natural fiber content (more than 50% cellulose). That is why a lot of sleepers prefer their modal pajamas over other fabrics. One solution to this problem would be wearing cotton-blend pajama bottoms with a 100 percent modal top. Whether you choose long- or short-sleeved is up to you. Both can work depending on your personal preferences; it’s based mainly on temperature and comfort levels.

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Is Cotton or Modal Better? – What is Better Modal or Cotton?

Even though cotton and modal fibers come from natural materials, they offer different hand feel, colors, longevity, and cost.

Cotton or Modal

Modal fabrics have been on the market for many years now, so textile manufacturers have successfully produced various techniques to make people wear them all day without getting itchy or uncomfortable. There are 5-main benefits that may convince you to switch from cotton fabric to modal fiber:

1. Wrinkle-free and Stain-resistant

Modal fabric is a durable, soft, and comfortable fiber to wear all day. This feature makes modal fabrics a perfect choice in creating home decorating products. Modal fabrics do not readily wrinkle compared to cotton fabrics when washed. Due to the manufacturing process that modal fabric undergoes, it is treated chemically to obtain its soft yet smooth feel.

2. Easy to Care

Modal fabrics are always easy to care about, and you can wash them in low or high temperatures. Modal fabric can retain its softness, durability, and shape even after several washes. Most of all, it has a long-lasting color, which gives people an elegant look when worn on formal occasions.

3. Color

Modal fabrics are usually wrinkle-free and become more attractive after several washes because they do not shrink or change color like cotton when washed with hot water. Besides, several colors are available for modal fiber, and we can combine them wonderfully with each other. And so, the modal fabric can be dyed in bright or pastel colors, which is not possible for cotton fabrics.

4. Special Treatments and Features

The properties of modal fibers enable manufacturers to create unique treatments or features for their products. For example, we can create modal fabrics with a brushed surface finish to look more luxurious than stark looking. Besides, modal is an excellent fabric for sportswear and everyday wear because it absorbs any water or sweat that comes into contact with it. And it never loses its strength, softness, or shape.

5. Cost-effective

Modal fibers are usually much cheaper than cotton fabric because the production of modal fabric does not need as many resources to produce it. Modal fabrics can be sold at affordable prices but still give you a luxurious feel and look compared to cotton. Usually, the price of modal fabric ranges from 10 to 15 USD per 1 running meter. The main reason for varying the price is that some modal fabric needs more chemical treatments to achieve soft and wrinkle-free features.

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Cotton And Modal Areas of Use

Cotton’s versatility means it has the most extensive range of uses in clothing. We use it to make clothes for all body parts, from shirts and underwear to underpants and men’s suits. Modal fabric is not quite as versatile, but we can still use it in many areas, including shirts, bras and underwear, children’s clothing (socks, tights).

Cotton And Modal

You can use neither Cotton nor Modal for outerwear such as raincoats or winter coats because they are too thin & flimsy. They are only suitable for use indoors as their fibers will tear with heavy wear. However, you can find cotton in curtains that may get rough treatment from time to time.

Are Modal and Cotton Harmful?

Modal and cotton are the type of fabrics that we frequently see in our wardrobe. However, the question arises whether these fabrics are safe for skin? Both Modal fabric and cotton fabric comprise natural fibers.

Modal and Cotton

These natural fibers help to keep us warm when the temperature is low and calm when it’s hot. It is essential to know that wearing either modal or cotton clothing for a long time can harm your health. To maintain your skin healthy and avoid rashes, we advise you to wear modal clothes in summer and wear cotton clothes in winter.

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Final Word

We hope that this article about modal vs. cotton fabrics will be helpful for you to understand the difference between modal and cotton. Now, you can maintain your wardrobe as per the season of the year. However, it is advisable to choose between these fabrics depending on your usage, preference, and temperature changes throughout the year.

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