What is the Difference Between 50/50 vs. 100% Cotton?

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

Published: May 11th, 2020

You wear t-shirts all the time. It may even be the casual look you rock every day. Whether your tee is designed with a logo or is just plain and simple, it's likely made from either 50/50 or 100% cotton.

What does that mean? How do you take care of either material? Get cozy and let's learn the difference between these two types of cotton.

What is a 50/50 T-Shirt?

A t-shirt that's classified as a "50/50" blend is made from half cotton and half polyester. This breathable fabric is one of the most common in the textile industry.

Do you want to customize your 50/50 t-shirt? You'll have the best results with screen printing! The texture of this fabric is able to easily hold onto the ink, even after repeated washes.

What is a 50/50 T-Shirt?

Pros

Cons

  • Generally more affordable than 100% cotton
  • Less likely to shrink or wrinkle
  • It's generally easier to wash
  • Cotton blends are argued to be more environmentally-friendly

Cons

  • Perceived value isn't as high as 100% cotton
  • Colorful designs may not adhere as well to the fabric
  • A bit coarser and not as soft as 100% cotton
  • Typically more lightweight and not as durable

Recommended for:

What is a 100% Cotton T-Shirt?

A t-shirt that's 100% cotton is made from natural cotton, which is a crop that requires a lot of water to grow. This material is soft to the touch and results in a high-end look.

Do you want to print a cool design on your 100% cotton tee? Try full color printing! You can use as many colors as you want without any extra charges, and the ink adheres better to cotton since it's less prone to any dye migration (aka bleeding ink).

What is a 100% Cotton T-Shirt?

Pros

Cons

  • Feels a bit heavier and more durable
  • A higher perceived value than a 50/50 blend
  • Colorful designs are less likely to bleed or fade
  • Extremely soft and comfortable

Cons

  • Often more expensive than a 50/50 blend
  • May shrink or wrinkle when placed in the dryer or in a bag
  • More susceptible to staining; can be difficult to wash
  • Not as environmentally-friendly as a 50/50 t-shirt

Recommended for:

What Are Polyester Vs. Cotton Socks?

Are you shopping for new socks? You'll find pairs that are made from either a 50/50 blend or 100% cotton. The same pros and cons that apply to t-shirts also hold true for your socks.

The 50/50 blend is more breathable and lightweight, so stick with this material if you have a lot of walking to do or are wearing gym shoes for the day. Do you want a pair to wear with your boots? Try 100% cotton socks since they're likely thicker and will keep your feet from sliding.

Polyester vs. Cotton Socks

How to Wash a Custom Printed T-Shirt

Do you want to wear the same band tee you wore in high school in twenty years? There are simple things you can do to make sure the design lasts!

Here is how to wash a custom printed t-shirt:

  • Wash your t-shirt inside out. This helps keep the design from getting destroyed by harsh detergents.
  • Use bleach sparingly on white tees with a colorful imprint. If you use too much, the design may end up bleeding and getting ruined.
  • Hot water can be way too harsh on a custom t-shirt. Go with cold water instead.
  • Don't use too much detergent or fabric softener. It ultimately makes your custom tees way less comfy. Try a mixture of ½ detergent and ½ baking soda and wash on a "gentle" setting.
  • Wear your tee more than once without washing. It's not gross if you didn't run a marathon in it or wear it when landscaping your yard.
  • Store your custom printed t-shirts in airtight containers. You can rotate the ones that are sitting on hangers, but make sure they're never in direct sunlight.
  • Try not to fall asleep in your custom tee. You move around a lot, which stretches out the shirt and may even crack the imprint.

Bonus T-Shirt Care Tips

Now that your design is in mint condition, there are a few more things to keep in mind. You can keep your t-shirts looking new with these helpful tips:

Wash zippers separately

Wash zippers separately

Does your tee have a zipper on the front? Wash it separately so it doesn't snag on other items in the machine.

Separate by fabric type

Separate by fabric type

You already know that you should separate dark and light loads. Did you know, though, that you should also separate your wash by the type of fabric? With that in mind, 50/50 blends and 100% cotton would be washed separately.

Air dry

Air dry

You should never throw your tees in the dryer. Air drying keeps the fabric in good condition and prevents any shrinkage.

Don't wear it too much

Don't wear it too much

Even the best t-shirt gets tired eventually. Give yours a break every now and then so it doesn't get worn out and faded.

Make breathing room

Make breathing room

Your closet may be tiny, but that's no excuse to overpack it with too many t-shirts. A cluster of fabric is a breeding ground for moths and rodents.

Say

Say "no" to yellow

Remove any gross yellowing from your white tees by mixing 4 tablespoons of baking soda with a quarter cup of water and scrubbing the solution onto the stain.

Is that t-shirt too big? Shrink it down to size with the tips from this video!

Did you know?

An autograph will preserve better on a 100% cotton tee than on a 50/50 blend. You can make it last even longer by placing a clean cotton cloth on top and pressing down with a dry iron for at least one minute.

Why Do We Love T-Shirts?

It doesn't matter if it's made from a 50/50 blend or 100% cotton. T-shirts have a fascinating history and have long been a favorite for everyone, from dock workers to Hollywood superstars. You should add as many as you can to your wardrobe!

Why Do We Love T-Shirts?

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, a 50/50 blend or 100% cotton is only one of the many choices you'll make when it comes to t-shirts. There are so many different styles out there! Take care of every one, and you'll have something cool to wear for years to come.

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.

References

Sweet Orr. (2016, July 5). 100% Cotton Vs. Polyester Blends. Retrieved May 21, 2019, from
https://www.sweet-orr.com/benefits-of-wearing-100-cotton-vs-polyester-blends/

Clothed with Truth. (2015, July 29). How to Make Your T-Shirts Last Longer. Retrieved May 23, 2019, from
https://clothedwithtruth.com/blogs/news/53581891-how-to-make-your-t-shirts-last-longer

Shirtmax. (2018, June 29). Cotton Care 101: How to Make Your Cotton T-shirts Last Longer. Retrieved May 23, 2019, from
https://www.shirtmax.com/blog/cotton-care-101-make-cotton-t-shirts-last-longer/

Illuminati, C. (2014). 5 Ways to Make a T-Shirt Last Longer. Retrieved May 23, 2019, from
https://brobible.com/guyism/article/way-make-t-shirt-last-longer/

Wardrobe Advice. (2008, August 22). How to Make a Print on a T-shirt Last Longer. Retrieved May 23, 2019, from
http://wardrobeadvice.com/how-to-make-the-print-on-a-t-shirt-last-longer/

Numi. (2019). How to Get Rid of and Prevent Yellow Underarm Stains. Retrieved May 24, 2019, from
https://wearnumi.com/pages/how-to-get-yellow-stains-out-of-white-shirts-women

Leverette, M. (2019, March 3). How to Preserve an Autograph on a Shirt or Hat. Retrieved May 24, 2019, from
https://www.thespruce.com/preserve-an-autograph-2146210