Unilever logo
Coronavirus (Covid-19) information: How to keep yourself, your loved ones and your home safe.

How to wash polyester so it lasts longer

Polyester’s not too hard to handle, but it’s worth knowing what you’re doing. Here’s how to clean polyester.


By Cleanipedia Team

How do you wash polyester? It’s one of the most common fabrics in the world, so it’s worth knowing. Here’s our guide.

Key Steps How do you wash polyester? Here are the basics:

  1. Check the care label.

  2. Machine wash on a gentle cycle in warm (not hot) water.

  3. Hang up to dry.

  4. If you’re tumble drying polyester, use a short and gentle low-heat cycle.

If you want to brighten up white polyester that’s gone dull, soak it overnight in warm water with a squirt of washing-up liquid. To get it even whiter, throw 100ml of white vinegar into the drum with your wash.

100% polyester: How to wash it in the washing machine

Whatever polyester garment you need to know how to wash – polyester jacket, polyester shirt, polyester trousers – you can usually use the washing machine.

  1. Check the temperature.

    Washing at a high temperature can damage polyester. Check the care label to see what temperature the item can endure.

  2. Turn the clothes inside-out.

    Polyester’s prone to snagging in the machine, so turn it inside-out before you wash.

  3. Be gentle.

    To keep your polyester clothes lasting longer, use a gentle cycle. You can use regular all-purpose detergent with polyester.

  4. Using fabric softener in the wash.

    Comfort Intense Fresh Sky will help to prevent static problems later on. For more on static prevention, look at our illustrated guide to how to get rid of static in clothes.

  5. Hang your clothes to dry once the cycle is done.

    You can tumble dryer polyester but only on a cool setting.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

How to wash 100% polyester by hand

While polyester can usually safely go in the washing machine, you may choose to preserve your favourite polyester pieces for longer by washing them by hand.

But how do you wash 100% polyester by hand? Here’s the method.

  1. Put warm water in a tub with a squirt of fabric detergent.

  2. Sweep your polyester clothes gently around in the soapy water.

  3. When they’re looking clean, rinse with cold water.

  4. Gently press the excess water out against the side of the tub, rather than wringing.

  5. Hang them up and let them dry.

How to clean polyester blends

You should always take a look at the care label, but it’s particularly important when you’re dealing with blended fabrics. It’ll give you advice on how to clean the specific item you’re dealing with.

Cotton-polyester blends are common, and they’ll usually do just fine in a regular wash. Again, though, check the label.

Silk and wool require special care, so, if your garment contains any silk or wool, it’s best to treat it as a silk or wool item, rather than treating it like polyester. Take a look at our guides to how to wash silk and how to clean wool.

Can polyester be tumble dried?

With polyester, how to wash it isn’t your only problem; you also have to think about drying.

Clothes will often last longer if they’re air dried rather than tumble dried, and polyester is no exception. It’s best to hang your polyester clothes up to dry. If you’re in a rush, though, you can throw your polyester clothes into the tumble dryer.

Use a short, gentle cycle on low heat when you’re tumble drying polyester. If you take the clothes out before they’ve fully dried, it’ll help to prevent static build-up

Now that you know how to wash polyester, you can keep your clothes looking their best. Go forth and use your knowledge!

Read other articles from the Clothing Care category

How to get colour run out of clothes

What do the symbols on washing machines mean

How to remove static from clothes

How to stop clothes bobbling

How to make clothes smell good and stay fresh

Originally published