How to Wash Polyester at Home in 6 Easy Steps

colored polyester fabric

Polyester is a popular synthetic fabric due to its durability, affordability, and insect resistance. When washing polyester, you must treat it differently to keep its sheen and quality intact, resulting in longevity.

Polyester is easy to wash and doesn’t require picky instructions. Despite being washed infrequently, polyester clothes remain clean and in great shape for a long time.

Don’t worry, though! Let’s dive in further to understand how to wash polyester correctly.

Cleaning Overview

Working Time:  25 minutes
Total Time:  25 minutes
Skills Required:  Beginner
Estimated Cost:  USD 0

What Will You Need


  1. Stain remover
  2. Oxygen-based brightener
  3. Heavy-duty laundry detergent


  1. Washing machine
  2. Dryer
  3. Drying rack (optional)

How to Wash Polyester?

1. Read the Care Label

Read the washing instructions on the care label before you wash your polyester garment. Polyester alone is resilient to machine washing; however, another fabric blended with it can change the game. The washing instructions may vary depending on the type of fabric that combines with polyester.

You may find instructions for some garments to be “dry cleaned only” or a few asking you to wash them separately or by hand. You must strictly follow those instructions to prevent damage to your polyester garment.

wash as care label suggest

2. Pretreat Stains

Polyester easily attracts stains. It repels most spills but cannot hold back oil stains. Follow the steps below to remove the stains.

  1. Apply the stain remover to the stained area. 
  1. Gently rub the stain remover solution on the stained area to remove the stains.
  1. Allow the stain remover to settle for 15 minutes.
  1. Wash your polyester garment in a washing machine. Polyester garments can be hand-washed too.
  1. Check for the stain. If the stain is gone, put your garment in the dryer. Alternatively, you can also air-dry your polyester garments.
  2. If the stain persists, repeat the process of applying stain remover and washing again.

Warning: Do not put the garment with the stain in the dryer. The heat from the dryer permanently leaves a stain on your garment, ruining it beyond repair.

liquid detergent to remove stain on shirt

3. Turn Fabric Inside Out

Despite polyester being resistant to wrinkles, it can pill. Minimize the after-effects of the agitation of the machine on the fabric by turning the cloth inside out. It prevents the material from pilling and shrinking. Turning the garment inside out also prevents the risk of ruining the clothes due to buttons or zippers hooking on any part of the washing machine.

women holding shirt in hand

4. Use Cold or warm water for Wash Cycle

Cold water is the safest option to wash your fabric if you aren’t familiar with it. However, you can use warm water for washing 100% polyester, which helps you remove stains, prevents shrinkage, and doesn’t allow the color to bleed onto other clothes.

operating automatic washing machine

5. Add Detergent

The durability of polyester allows us to use any heavy-duty detergent. We recommend you use a heavy-duty detergent that contained enzymes to break down any stains or heavy soils on the fabric. Add the recommended amount of detergent as a lot of detergent isn’t required.

mild liquid detergent to wash clothes

6. Tumble Dry on Low Heat or Permanent Press

Polyester fibers are prone to shrinking if overdried. It may even melt. Therefore, use tumble dry on low heat setting or permanent press setting on your dryer while drying polyester. You can also hang your polyester clothes to dry in the air. It decreases the risk of shrinking the polyester.

To prevent polyester from developing static, you can use a fabric softener.

Are you out of fabric softener and looking for alternatives? If yes, then you must read: Substitute for fabric softener.

tumble dry

Additional Tips to Wash and Dry Polyester

With our years of experience in washing polyester clothes, here are a few additional tips to help you wash and dry polyester effectively.

i. Use an Oxygen-Based Brightener

All fabrics tend to attract stains and fade eventually. To restore your beloved polyester use an all-natural oxygen-based brightener. Avoid chlorine-based bleach, as it may ruin the polyester by stripping its coat and fading it.

Related: How to remove bleach from clothes?

ii. Sort Garments by Color and Fabric

Sort loads according to color and fabric before you put them into the washing machine. It prevents bleeding of the color and further transferring the same to other clothes. Therefore, it’s crucial to sort them out. It also decreases the risk of fading and pilling. It’s best to wash polyester separately from other fabrics.

iii. Set the Wash Cycle

Load your washing machine with polyester items after pretreating and sorting them. Use a mild or heavy-duty laundry detergent while you set the wash cycle to normal. Wash your polyester clothes with cold or lukewarm water.

Avoid hot water, as polyester is a synthetic material, and the fibers may break down, damaging the clothes due to high heat. Ensure you check the washing instructions on the care label before you wash.

iv. Set the Dryer Cycle

Similar to setting the wash cycle, set the dryer cycle too. Select the tumble-dry or permanent press setting to dry polyester clothes. Adjust the temperature to low, medium, or according to the instructions on the care label. It helps to keep your polyester garments in good shape for a long time.

How to Treat Stains on Polyester

Treating stains on polyester requires a disciplined approach.

  1. Treat the stain as soon as you notice it. The earlier you act on the stain, the better the possibility of removing it.
  2. If you spill red wine during dining, immediately wash it under cold water to flush out the stain.
  3. Any one of the following suffices to remove stains from your polyester clothes: (a) a standard-quality stain remover; (b) dish soap; or (c) a heavy-duty laundry detergent.
  4. Rinse the garment in warm water to remove stubborn stains. Avoid hot water.

How to Take Care of Polyester?

You can repair the incisions in the polyester hems by hand or using a sewing machine. Ensure you use thread that matches the color of the fabric. 

If the fabric has developed holes, it is beyond repair. However, the holes won’t grow in size if the cloth is untouched. Call in a professional tailor if your polyester garment is expensive.

Polyester plaits snag. Bringing the erring thread to the opposite side with the help of a needle and thread may fix this problem.

Can You Iron Polyester?

Polyester does not wrinkle easily. However, as an exception, your polyester item may develop heavy wrinkles. To remove these wrinkles, you can steam-iron the fabric. Set the iron to low or medium heat. Alternatively, you can also use a clothing steamer.

How to Store Polyester?

You can either hang them or stack them flat. Folding polyester garments will wrinkle them. It is best to store them in a plastic tub or hang them in a garment bag. Storing them this way helps keep dust away from them for a long time. 

Store recently washed items when they are dry and completely moisture-free. Store loose-knitted polyester garments in drawers. Hang tightly knit clothes and woven items such as dresses, shirts, and pants.

  • Does polyester shrink when washed?

    100% polyester is a synthetic material that won’t shrink when washed. However, if exposed to excessive heat, it may shrink eventually at a slow rate. Polyester blended with natural fibers such as cotton or wool is more prone to shrinkage when washed. It’s therefore essential to go through the washing instructions before washing the clothes.

  • Why is 100 percent polyester dry clean only?

    100% polyester must be dry-cleaned only to help it retain its shape intact.

  • Will polyester shrink in the dryer?

    100% polyester is sensitive to heat. The heat in the dryer may damage the polyester by shrinking or melting the fibers.


Polyester fabric is durable, resists wrinkles, and returns to its original form after washing without stretching or shrinking. Moreover, it allows machine washing, making it easy to keep clean.

Washing polyester at home is easy, but with a careful approach. You must read the washing instructions on the care label. Polyester may not always be 100% pure but may be a blend of natural fabrics mixed with it that requires more attention while washing. 

Polyester is durable, but the other blended fabric may not be. You must follow the washing instructions to prevent damaging your favorite polyester garment.

Related: How to Wash Synthetic Clothes