Can I bleach polyester fabric?

Updated November 21, 2016

Polyester is a man-made fabric consisting of strong woven fibres, according to the Fabrics website. Although polyester is used in many items, including clothing and upholstery, it can be difficult to clean and should not be bleached.


Polyester fabric is usually colour-fast, according to the Threads sewing website. Since most polyester fabrics and polyester blends are colour-fast, bleach cannot be used to intentionally remove their colour, in tie-dying, for example.


Bleach may actually damage polyester fabric, according to the website of Paula Burch, a former biologist at the Baylor College of Medicine. Since polyester is a synthetic fabric, exposure to bleach can give it an irreparable yellow appearance.


Polyester fabrics come in a variety of styles, including dyed solid, linen spun, T-spun, filament and stitchbound. Bleach, abrasive cleaners and other harsh chemical detergents should never be used on any polyester fabric, according to the Outdoor Fabrics Direct website. Some cotton blends containing polyester can be bleached, but it's important to check product labels for washing and care instructions before exposing any blended fabric item to bleach.

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