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How to wash 100% polyester

Updated March 23, 2017

Polyester fabric is durable, stain and wrinkle resistant and offers easy care and cleaning options for the consumer. DuPont purchased the legal rights for polyester in 1946 from a team of British scientists and produced the first polyester products available to the public in 1951. Although not quite as comfortable to wear as a number of softer polyester blends, consumers can find 100 per cent polyester products today in uniforms, bedding, draperies, bathrobes, shirts and trousers.

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  1. Separate all 100-percent polyester fabrics from other types of materials---even polyester blends. Wash dark 100-percent polyester items separately from light-coloured fabrics.

  2. Apply a stain remover to any items that have spot soiling. Secure buttons, zippers and snaps and turn the garments inside out before placing them in the washing machine.

  3. Set your washing machine cycle to the permanent press cycle on warm for garments such as heavy work shirts and uniforms or to gentle for blankets, robes, sheets, delicate shirt materials or trousers. Items marked "hand wash only" should be washed in cold water on the hand wash setting on the washing machine, if available, or washed by hand in the sink or bathtub.

  4. Use a quality detergent with non-chlorine bleach following the manufacturer's recommendations for detergent. Never use chlorine bleach on any 100-percent polyester item. Dull, white polyester may be soaked for 15 minutes in the machine before washing with 1 cup of vinegar.

  5. Remove items promptly from the washing machine once the cycle finishes.

  6. Hang items recommended for hand washing outside on a clothesline to dry or dry them inside on a sweater rack. Tumble dry the other items on low with a fabric sheet, removing them from the dryer at once to hang before they wrinkle

  7. Touch up wrinkles with a warm iron on the polyester setting---never set to hot. Polyester can melt when subjected to high levels of heat, both in the dryer or from the iron.

  8. Tip

    Dry clean large, hard-to-wash 100-percent polyester items, if desired. Wash in small loads, sorting polyester items by weight. Never over-dry 100-percent polyester fabrics in the dryer; this can cause shrinkage.


    Do not use spray starch on 100-percent polyester. Polyester that contains a sheen to the fabric may dull over time with multiple washings.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pre-treatment spray
  • Washing Machine
  • Dryer
  • Dryer sheet
  • Sweater or drying rack
  • Hangers
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

About the Author

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.

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