What is Synthetic Fabric – A Comprehensive Answer

Do you frequently check clothing labels while shopping? If you are an observant individual, you may notice that synthetic fabrics largely dominate the current textile market. How did this situation arise? Are synthetic fabrics genuinely beneficial? Let’s explore further into this fabric born from technological advancements.

What is Synthetic Fabric?

Unlike natural fabrics made from plant or animal fibers, synthetic fabrics are made from petroleum-based polymers through chemical processes and spun into synthetic fibers for weaving.

Natural fabrics showcase their inherent characteristics. However, they no longer fully meet the diverse modern needs of people. Consequently, advanced technologies have been employed to create synthetic fabrics with specific properties that surpass those of natural fabrics.

The world’s first synthetic fiber, nylon, was born in the 1930s. It was developed by American chemist Carothers and his research team. This breakthrough in the synthetic fiber industry injected new vitality into the textile industry.

Today, a wide variety of synthetic fabrics have become popular choices across various industries. Their diverse performance capabilities and lower costs have made a significant impact in the realms of fashion and practical applications.

What Fabric is Synthetic?

With the aid of technology, people have surpassed the limitations of natural fabrics and created a diverse array of synthetic fabrics. Let’s familiarize ourselves with some of the most common types of synthetic fabrics, enabling you to make more informed choices based on your future needs.


Polyester currently dominates the textile industry market share. It is the most recently developed but rapidly growing synthetic fiber. Possessing high strength and excellent elasticity, it retains its shape even after numerous washes. 

Polyester is renowned for its quick-drying properties, making it suitable for everyday use and specialized purposes. It finds applications in outdoor equipment, sportswear, and interior decoration.


Nylon represents a significant advancement in the realm of synthetic fibers. Its remarkable abrasion resistance distinguishes it from other fabrics, ensuring long-lasting convenience. Its lightweight and quick-drying characteristics make it an ideal choice for sportswear, socks, hiking attire, and outerwear. Who wouldn’t desire a lightweight, comfortable nylon garment that provides some insulation?


Acrylic fabric is renowned as a synthetic wool. It offers a wool-like appearance, texture, and warmth, all at a more affordable price. It is one of the three primary synthetic fibers, alongside polyester and nylon. 

Acrylic provides warmth during the cold winter months. Its fluffy nature ensures lightweight comfort and a pleasant hand feel. Acrylic is an excellent choice for winter apparel, including scarves, cozy jackets, sweaters, blankets, and more, delivering affordable warmth without compromising on quality.


Spandex fabric, also known as elastane or Lycra, is an extremely elastic fabric recognized for its lightweight nature. It supports stretching without deformation, as implied by its name. This elasticity enables the fabric to conform well to curves, providing superior comfort and flexibility. 

It ensures an unrestricted wearing experience while maintaining remarkable durability. Spandex is widely used in popular swimwear, sportswear, and other apparel. It showcases your physique beautifully without imposing any constraints while preserving freedom of movement.

Spandex is often blended with other materials, such as cotton and polyester. This blending enhances the fabric’s elasticity and flexibility, further elevating its functionality and enabling its versatile application across various industries.


Polypropylene is considered the lightest synthetic fabric available. It boasts excellent hydrophobic properties, enabling it to dry quickly. Additionally, polypropylene fabric exhibits high resistance to abrasion and tearing, ensuring stability and providing exceptional insulation.

These characteristics make polypropylene fabric highly versatile. Its applications extend beyond sportswear and clothing, encompassing the creation of mosquito nets and its use as insulation material. In industrial settings, polypropylene finds utility in the production of canvas, and fishing nets, and serves as an excellent choice for medical and hygiene products.


The creation of microfiber was inspired by the imitation of silk, surpassing the initial thread density of synthetic fibers to achieve higher levels of comfort and aesthetic appeal. Microfiber is much finer than a strand of hair, resulting in fabrics that are soft and possess excellent moisture-wicking properties. Additionally, its fibers not only contribute to the fabric’s texture but also provide stain resistance and quick-drying capabilities.

Microfiber is a highly versatile synthetic fabric with broad applications in apparel, upholstery, cleaning products, automotive interiors, medical dressings, and other fields. It serves as an indispensable ally, catering to your diverse needs.

Features of Synthetic Fabrics

With the increasing demands of production and daily life, as well as advancements in technology, more and more synthetic fabrics have emerged in the textile market, such as aramid, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and others. The invention and utilization of synthetic fabrics stem from their …

  • Durability: Synthetic fabrics are renowned for their high strength, enabling them to withstand frequent use, multiple washings, and the test of time without easily losing their shape.
  • Wrinkle Resistance: The manufacturing process of synthetic fibers imparts a smooth surface and inherent wrinkle resistance to the fabrics. They can maintain a smooth and neat appearance without meticulous storage, ensuring they look their best for your next use.
  • Quick Drying: They are derived from petroleum-based chemicals, and possess inherent hydrophobic properties, reducing their susceptibility to water. Consequently, the fabric swiftly sheds water droplets after getting wet, facilitating rapid drying.
  • High Colorfastness: Synthetic fabrics are crafted from polymers with exceptional chemical stability, effectively preventing color molecules from degrading and resisting external factors. Consequently, even after washing and exposure to sunlight, they can retain their beautiful appearance.
  • Versatility: They are designed to compensate for the limitations of natural materials in specific aspects. They come in diverse textures and performances, effectively mimicking the look and feel of natural fibers. This versatility provides them with a broad range of applications.
  • Affordability: Synthetic fabrics, manufactured from petroleum-based chemicals through chemical processes, boast lower production costs compared to pure natural fabrics. This affordability makes them more accessible and budget-friendly.
  • Low Maintenance Cost: These fabrics are characterized by high strength, chemical stability, durability, and wrinkle resistance. Therefore, they require minimal special care and are easy to clean and maintain.

Are Synthetic Fabrics Environmentally Friendly?

In today’s challenging ecological environment, many people are concerned about the environmental friendliness and biodegradability of synthetic fabrics. The answer is no, unfortunately.

It seems that anything labeled as “synthetic” lacks certain environmental qualities. Regardless of the specific type, synthetic fabrics take a long time to decompose in the natural environment, posing a risk of soil and water pollution during this process. 

However, does this mean we should completely abandon the use of synthetic fabrics? The answer is also no.

Let’s not overlook how synthetic fabrics are manufactured. Scientific and technological advancements are addressing this issue. Recyclable synthetic fabrics play a role in the circular economy, effectively minimizing their environmental impact.

Recyclable synthetic fabrics are designed to recycle the waste generated during production and after use. For instance, recycled polyester is processed using discarded plastic bottles. These materials simply need to be shredded and melted to create new fibers, reducing the reliance on chemicals and raw materials in the production process, which is beneficial for environmental protection.

By choosing recyclable synthetic fabrics like recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and recycled microfiber when making purchases, you contribute to the well-being of the Earth’s ecology. As a member of the global community, let your actions demonstrate your commitment to environmental protection! Rest assured, advanced technology will likely bring us even more environmentally friendly synthetic fabrics soon.

Synthetic Fabric vs Natural Fabric

Properties Synthetic Fabric Natural Fabric
Easy to clean
Wrinkle resistance

From the table above, it is evident to see the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic fabrics and natural fabrics. If you find yourself undecided between the two, all you have to do is clarify your needs and choose wisely based on their characteristics.

The most notable advantage of synthetic fabrics is their affordability and durability, which can assist you in achieving high-strength applications at a low cost. However, they have drawbacks in terms of comfort, breathability, and environmental impact.

Natural fabrics offer natural breathability and provide greater comfort, but they come at a higher price and require more intricate care.

The good news is that both options are versatile, and regardless of your profession, choosing either one can be a valuable asset for you.


Is satin a synthetic fabric?

No, satin is not a synthetic fabric. It is a type of weave technique. It can be made from natural fibers or synthetic fibers. Satin gives the fabric a smooth and glossy surface. The most common types of satin fabric are made from silk and polyester.

How to iron synthetic fabric?

Synthetic fabrics are wrinkle-resistant and generally do not require ironing. However, if you want to achieve a smoother appearance, use a low heat setting when ironing synthetic fabric. Avoid high temperatures as they can cause the fabric to melt. If possible, utilize steam for better wrinkle removal. Iron the fabric gently from the reverse side, then hang or lay it flat to cool and set its shape.

How to dye synthetic fabric?

The key in the dyeing process of synthetic fabrics is selecting the appropriate dyes. For instance, polyester, nylon, and acrylic, the three major synthetic fabrics, require different types of dyes. Disperse dyes are used for polyester, while nylon can be dyed using direct or acid dyes. Acrylic utilizes cationic dyes. These specific dyes are chosen to complement the fabric’s characteristics and enhance its vibrant colors.

Are synthetic fabrics bad?

Absolutely not. While synthetic fabrics do have negative environmental impacts, they also offer numerous advantages. They are affordable, high-quality, durable, and easy to care for, making them suitable for a wide range of purposes. They provide peace of mind and convenience in use.


In today’s technology-driven era, it’s important to embrace diversity. While natural fabrics offer comfort, synthetic fabrics offer enhanced performance at a more affordable price. Take a fresh approach in your design or purchasing endeavors and explore the exciting possibilities of synthetic fabrics.

Sinosilk possesses the experience and expertise to provide customized scarves in a wide range of fabrics, including both natural and synthetic materials. If you’re interested, feel free to contact us today!

More Resources:

What is the Most Sustainable Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

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