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Polyester vs. Microfiber — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on April 19, 2024
"Polyester" is a synthetic polymer used in various textiles, while "Microfiber" is a fine synthetic fiber, often made from polyester.
Polyester vs. Microfiber — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Polyester and Microfiber


Key Differences

The defining trait of microfiber is its thinness, which allows it to be woven into textiles that are exceptionally soft and water-absorbent.
One of the striking differences between polyester and microfiber is their texture and resultant feel. While polyester is lauded for its durability, microfiber is often praised for its softness and ability to trap dirt and moisture, making it especially popular for cleaning products. Furthermore, when microfiber is made using polyester, it's a demonstration of polyester's adaptability in the realm of synthetic fibers.
In essence, polyester is the broader term, encompassing a range of uses in its polymer form. In contrast, microfiber is more niche, particularly known for its specific qualities like softness and absorbency. It's noteworthy that microfiber can indeed be a type of polyester when polyester fibers are made thin enough.

Comparison Chart


Synthetic polymer
Ultra-fine synthetic fiber


Durable, can be coarse or smooth
Very soft and absorbent


Derived from coal, air, water, and petroleum
Often made from polyester or a blend of synthetic fibers

Diameter of Fiber

Less than ten micrometers

Common Uses

Clothing, home furnishings, industrial products
Cleaning products, soft textiles

Compare with Definitions


A synthetic resin used in making textiles.
The shirt, made of polyester, resisted wrinkles during travel.


A synthetic fiber finer than silk threads.
The microfiber cloth effortlessly removed the smudges from her glasses.


A textile fiber resistant to wrinkles and shrinking.
Her polyester dress maintained its shape even after multiple washes.


A material known for its softness and absorbency.
The microfiber towel dried the car quickly without leaving streaks.


A durable polymer derived from petroleum.
Polyester fabrics are commonly used for sportswear due to their moisture-wicking properties.


A fine fiber often used in cleaning products.
I use a microfiber mop to clean my hardwood floors without scratching them.


A man-made fiber popular in the fashion industry.
Many fast-fashion brands use polyester because of its cost-efficiency.


An ultra-thin synthetic fiber with specific applications.
The microfiber suede had a luxurious feel, resembling genuine suede.


A material known for its versatile applications.
From curtains to shirts, polyester has a wide range of uses in households.


A textile often made from polyester or nylon.
The microfiber sheets were soft and cozy, perfect for winter nights.


Polyester is a category of polymers that contain the ester functional group in every repeat unit of their main chain. As a specific material, it most commonly refers to a type called polyethylene terephthalate (PET).


Microfiber (or microfibre) is synthetic fiber finer than one denier or decitex/thread, having a diameter of less than ten micrometers. A strand of silk is about one denier and about a fifth of the diameter of a human hair.


A synthetic resin in which the polymer units are linked by ester groups, used chiefly to make synthetic textile fibres.


An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven or knit into textiles with the texture and drape of natural-fiber cloth but with enhanced washability, breathability, and water repellancy.


Any of numerous synthetic polymers produced chiefly by reaction of dicarboxylic acids with dihydric alcohols and used primarily as light, strong, weather-resistant resins in boat hulls, textile fibers, adhesives, and molded parts.


(American spelling) Very fine synthetic fiber; cloth made of such fiber.
The spilled wine hadn't stained the microfiber couch.


A wrinkle-resistant fabric of fibers made from any of these resins.


Any polymer whose monomers are linked together by ester bonds


A material or fabric made from polyester polymer


Of, or consisting of polyesters


Any of numerous synthetic resins; they are light and strong and weather resistant


A complex ester used for making fibers or resins or plastics or as a plasticizer


Any of a large class of synthetic fabrics

Common Curiosities

Why are microfiber cleaning cloths popular?

Microfiber cloths can trap dirt and moisture effectively, often better than polyester counterparts.

Which is more durable, polyester or microfiber?

Polyester is typically more durable, but microfiber products are known for their longevity too.

Is polyester environmentally friendly?

Polyester is non-biodegradable, raising environmental concerns, while microfiber can shed microplastics.

Is microfiber a type of polyester?

Yes, microfiber can be made from polyester or a blend of synthetic fibers.

Which is softer, polyester or microfiber?

Microfiber is generally softer than standard polyester due to its fine fibers.

Can you find microfiber that isn't made from polyester?

Yes, microfiber can also be made from nylon or other synthetics, not just polyester.

Which material is better for sensitive skin?

Microfiber, due to its softness, is often preferred for sensitive skin over polyester.

How do you care for microfiber products?

Microfiber requires gentle cleaning without fabric softeners, while polyester care varies by product.

Are microfiber products more expensive than polyester?

It varies, but high-quality microfiber products can sometimes be pricier than standard polyester.

Why is polyester commonly used in clothing?

Polyester is durable, wrinkle-resistant, and often more affordable than natural fibers, while microfiber is more niche.

Can both polyester and microfiber be used in bedding?

Yes, both polyester and microfiber are used in sheets and bedding products.

Can both materials wick away moisture?

Yes, both polyester and microfiber have moisture-wicking variants.

Do microfiber products shed?

Some microfiber products can shed microplastics, a concern not always associated with standard polyester.

Which is better for the environment?

Both have environmental concerns: polyester is non-biodegradable, and microfiber can release microplastics.

Is polyester always smooth to the touch?

No, polyester's texture can vary, but microfiber is consistently soft due to its fine fibers.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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