How to care for polyester? How to wash and iron synthetic materials?

Polyester is the most widely used textile raw material, accounting for more than half of the world’s production. When we consider only synthetic fabrics, polyester accounts for more than 80% of all such textiles. This popular material has both its fans and enemies. When you have polyester in your wardrobe, it’s worth knowing how to care for it to last as long as possible.

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Polyester and its impact on the environment

When choosing polyester, you need to be aware of how such a material affects the world around us. The production of polyester consumes more energy than cotton, and synthetic fabrics are not easily biodegradable. When washing polyester, the microplastic fibres enter the water cycle. But is polyester to be abandoned altogether? No, you just have to care for it consciously.

Where is polyester most commonly used?

Polyester is a material resistant to sunlight, stretchable and durable. It is anti-crease and quick-drying. You don’t have to worry about moths in the wardrobe with polyester clothes, which feed mainly on natural (linen, cotton, viscose) and protein (wool) fibres. Polyester is the most common choice for sportswear manufacturers, but it is not lacking in the world of fast fashion.

The recipe for washing and ironing polyester will be the same for any type of garment made of this material. Follow these tips when washing polyester jackets, blazers, sportswear, and bathing suits.

How to care for polyester?

Woven and knitted polyester fabrics are not difficult to care for. However, it is worth following a few rules that will ensure the long life of polyester clothing. Hand wash your polyester clothes whenever you can. Frequent washing in an automatic washing machine significantly shortens the life of clothes, not only polyester ones. Do not throw your clothes into the washing machine after one day – hang them on a chair or on a rope on the balcony and let them air out. Polyester can be washed in a special microfiber bag – not only will it be more eco-friendly, but synthetic clothes will not pill so quickly.

Don’t wash too often!

Instead of throwing clothes into the washing machine that only needs a little freshening up, use a steamer. The steam that the device blows under high pressure will remove any wrinkles, and its temperature will help to remove impurities and accumulated mites from the material. Be sure to use this trick if you have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies. Often the cause of an allergy to synthetic materials is not the fibre itself, but the microorganisms accumulated on its surface.

How to wash polyester?

When the clothes need to be washed, first check the label and check the washing instructions recommended by the manufacturer. Usually, polyester can be washed at temperatures up to 60°C. Polyester is resistant to stains, so there is usually no need to wash it at such a high temperature and it is enough to set it in the range of 30-40°C. Polyester clothes can be spun if you want them to dry faster. Do not spin too long though – polyester does not absorb as much moisture as natural fibres and even without a spin cycle it will dry relatively quickly. Most modern washing machines have special programs for washing synthetic clothes that are worth using.

Do not use bleach, stain removers or strong detergents when washing polyester. They can destroy the material!

How to iron polyester fabrics?

The greatest enemy of polyester is high temperature. Synthetic materials are flammable, so when fully heated, the iron will burn a hole through your polyester garment. If the iron is too hot, the material may shrink, deform and stick to the soleplate. Set the lowest possible temperature on the iron. Just in case, you can iron polyester clothes using a cotton cloth you put on top of it.

How to care for printed polyester?

Polyester is printed in sublimation technology – it is a printing method in which dyes change from solid to gas (omitting the liquid state) and penetrate the fibres of the material. Sublimation-printed polyester fabrics are resistant to fading in washing, they do not rub or fade in the sun. Printed polyester can be dried in direct sunlight without fear that the fabric will lose its saturated colour.

Good practices in caring for polyester

  • Before throwing the garment into the washing machine, check the instructions on the inside tab.
  • Do not wash or iron polyester at too high a temperature.
  • Choose a short spin cycle or give it up altogether.
  • Do not use bleach, stain removers or strong detergents.


Content writer, amateur photographer, sewist after work.

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