Is Linen or Cotton Better in Hot Weather?

By LH Lee

Appropriate clothing during extremely hot weather is essential in order to avoid heat exhaustion. The Family Care Giver Alliance suggests wearing light-weight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibers. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen keep the body cool and dry perspiration quickly. Both have positive and negative attributes, and preference for one over the other is a matter of personal taste.

Natural fibers keep the body cool.

Cotton Identification

Cotton plant

Cotton clothing is made from the breathable, natural fiber from the cotton plant.

Linen Identificaiton

Linen fabric

Linen is a labor-intensive textile produced from the flax plant. Additionally, nonflax fibers, like cotton, woven in a linen texture may also be referred to as linen.

Cotton History

Cotton spun into cloth is believed to have first been created over 3,000 years ago in Pakistan. Historically, people in hot climates such as Northern Africa and South East Asia wore cotton.

Linen History

Linen was worn extensively throughout lands with humid climates like Egypt and the Caribbean. Years later, it evolved to become the preferred fabric for undergarments in Europe.


Light-colored clothes deflect the sun's heat.

Whether it be cotton or linen, it is important to choose light colors to deflect the sun's heat.


Linen has a "wrinkled" appearance, which may be an issue for some when traveling; cotton is slightly more manageable.