How to Clean Polyester

Polyester is a durable fabric that was popular in the 70’s and has experienced a limited comeback. It holds it’s shape, along with creases and folds, making it popular for clothing. It’s easy to care for but should be handled properly to keep it looking its best.

Caring for Polyester Items


  1. Polyester can easily be washed and dried, making it very easy to care for.
  2. Machine wash polyester using the permanent press cycle and warm water wash.
  3. The fabric has a tendency to be stiff so you may want to add fabric softener during the rinse cycle to give it a softer feel and reduce static electricity.
  4. Dry polyester on low heat setting in your dryer, or hang on a clothes line to air dry in warmer weather.
  5. Remove from dryer promptly and hang or fold neatly to avoid unwanted creases.
  6. Typically, polyester does not require ironing, but if it’s necessary, use a warm iron.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Generally, all polyester can be safely dry cleaned.
  • Polyester can scorch and melt so use caution when ironing.
  • Avoid over drying as this can lead to shrinkage over time.
  • Turn polyester-knit garments inside out before washing to avoid snags.
  • To keep white polyester from yellowing, try the following steps:
    • Combine 1/2 cup automatic dishwashing detergent and 1 gallon of water (warm works best) in a bucket
    • Soak white items in the solution overnight
    • Wash as usual
    • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to rinse water.



  1. K. Brainerd says:

    Odors in polyester clothing:

    Often polyester clothing will retain the odors of perspiration, in spite of regular laundering or dry cleaning. If you can wash the garment, try using a pet enzyme cleaner for upholstery or carpets. Try a diluted wash first, and air dry the garment. If the smell still persists, try again full-strength, then rinse and air-dry. I tried this on vintage 1970’s Qiana shirts and dresses, and it worked great!

  2. Brianna says:

    Well, I just got a dress for a school dance and I sat in syrup. How do I get the stains out of it?

  3. I got a dress (100% polyester) at Ann Taylor. Only wore once, then hand washed, it was shrank and zipper did not work. I was wondering if the material is not real, not 100% polyester because polyester should be easy to care. Tried to get refund from Ann Taylor, but they told me that I shouldn’t hand washed, should dry clean. Anyone can explain to me why the dress shrank?

  4. I brought my polyester jacket to the dry cleaner because the care label said “professional dry clean only.” Now the jacket is wrinkled and stiff. What went wrong?

  5. I have a white 100% polyester jacket that is brand new and has a yellowish stain on the back. Does anyone know how I can get it out???

  6. I have a black, 100% polyester sweater, and no matter how many times I wash it, I can’t seem to get the little things that stick to it (hair and other particles) to come off. I’ve used sticky lint roller sheets, and those special fabric cleaning tools, but none of them seem to do any good. How can I get my polyester sweater free of hair and other little particles?

  7. To keep white polyester from yellowing, try the following steps:
    1. Combine 1/2 cup automatic dish washing detergent and 1 gallon of water (warm works best) in a bucket.
    2. Soak white items in the solution overnight.
    3. Wash as usual.
    4. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to rinse water.

  8. I have an expensive $600 polyester pencil case (it was designer brand), and I have paint stains all through it from an art lesson. I was too lazy to fix it at first, but I just tried putting it in warm, soapy water and scrubbing it with a bar of soap, but it didn’t help. Could someone please tell me how to fix this? Thanks. :)

  9. I am doing a project and I was wondering if it is easy to clean? Light weight? Strong? Reuseable? Water proof? Biodegradeable? Sustainability? If you could help me please comment under.

  10. I bought a fancy dress that is polyester and chiffon with beading. I danced all night in it and it is kind of smelly now. The label says Do not wash. Do not dry clean, spot clean only with damp cloth. Any suggestions as to how I can get odors out of it? I hung it out in the breeze and sun for a few hours but it didn’t help much.

  11. I have a 100% Polyester jacket that currently fits me perfectly. How can I keep it from shrinking? What is best way to wash it? Please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks!

  12. Wally,
    Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is designed to prevent shrinking. It is unlikely that your jacket would shrink in the wash, but to be safe, use the lowest temperature setting on your washer and dryer.

    Source: Sophisticated Edge

  13. I have a polyester white bathing suit that has yellowed from swimming at the beach; any special advice on this item?

  14. How do I clean the dark sweat line at the top of my 100% polyester uniform collar?

    Check it out! We’ve answered you’re question! Yay!

  15. Need to remove an iron-on name label from the inside of polyester top. It was put in by Care Home mistakenly. Read lots of info to remove with rubbing alcohol and hot iron. How will Polyester react? It is a TanJay product.

  16. I love using polyester because it doesn’t need any ironing.

  17. Harriet says:

    I recently got a yellow dress that’s 90% polyester and 10% spandex with black nets as part of the design. The instructions say, “hand wash cold, don’t bleach, hang or line dry.” I washed it first before wearing it and I notice the black net as left a few stains on the yellow part of the dress. Am guessing maybe it’s because I rinsed the dress with mild warm water. Please, what can I do to remove the stains? Thanks.

  18. Melanie says:

    This is the article that you need: How to Fix Dye Transfer.

  19. I have a polyester robe. I accidentally put my arm over the stove while it was still hot and got it burnt while I was wearing it. I am planning to take it to the dry cleaners, but I’m not sure. Is there any other way Icould remove the burn or is special dry cleaning the only way?

  20. Yarah,
    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Burn Marks from Clothing.
    Since your robe is likely a thicker material, you could also try using sandpaper or a nail file to rasp off the burn mark as you would for a cigarette burn on carpet. To learn more about that, see the article: How to Remove Cigarette Burns from Carpet.

  21. Melissa says:

    I washed a polyester blanket on a large load cycle with another fleece blanket, bedsheets, and a pillow case. Would it have shrunk if I washed it with other articles, or would it be fine?

    I have washed it many times before, and it appears to be fine, but I am just wondering if that would have done even a small amount of damage.

  22. I have a couple of polyester blouses that have developed a strong dirty odor. It doesn’t smell like B.O. or mildew, just dirty. This one blouse in particular, the smell was so bad I’ve run it through the wash 3 times now (without wearing it) and it just seems to get worse. I’ve had this blouse for a couple of years and it only recently started smelling. I always wash in cold water, use fragrance & dye free Arm & Hammer detergent (due to hubby’s skin allergy), and dry on the perm press temp. Help!

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  23. I have a 100% polyester white jacket and I compressed it with other clothes in a bag and left it over the winter. It now has colour stains from other clothes…how can I wash it off? Does anyone know some good tips for it? Please help. :(

  24. Ngocvan,
    This is the article that you need: How to Fix Dye Transfer.

  25. I recently bought a comforter that says 100% polyester dry clean only. Mind you, it’s a queen and would cost big bucks. Should I take it to the cleaners or wash on a gentle cycle? Please help.

  26. Can I wash a dry clean only 100% polyester-filled comforter in the regular laundry?
    If so, how? (Without ruining it.) I don’t have dry-cleaner money.

  27. Kim,
    This is the article that you need: How to Wash Dry Clean Only Clothing.
    Keep in mind that most home washers are too small for comforters, which can cause your comforter to tear or damage your washing machine. Using a laundromat would be best, as they usually have commercial-size washers. As an alternative, you can hand wash the item in the bathtub. To do that, follow the instructions in the article How to Hand Wash Clothing.

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