How to Wash Polyester in Four Steps


(Image credit: Szymon Brzoska / The Style Stalker)

While the thought of polyester clothing may conjure up images of vintage tracksuits, this ubiquitous fabric is far more widespread than you might think. From the prettiest French-girl dresses to your favorite loungewear, polyester tends to find its way into the full gamut of designer and casual wear. Because of its almost-endless versatility, polyester also has a strong presence in activewear, which is just one more reason to make sure you keep this pervasive fabric clean. Fortunately, knowing how to wash polyester is one of the easiest skills to master.

Read on for our four-step guide on how to wash polyester.

Step 1: Check the Label


(Image credit: Szymon Brzoska / The Style Stalker)

Polyester is designed to be machine washable and dryable, which is outstanding news for anyone who’s not a fan of intensive laundering techniques. However, polyester is often paired with fabrics that aren’t so low-maintenance, such as silk or rayon. Before you toss that beloved polyester top into the washer, be sure to double-check the care label.

Step 2: Avoid Heat


(Image credit: Szymon Brzoska / The Style Stalker)

So what temperature should you use when washing polyester?

Because polyester is synthetic, high heat can break down the fibers and damage the fabric. As a result, the best way to wash polyester is to use cold water. Warm water is also okay for polyester, but be sure to restrict your load to similar colors and avoid including anything with especially deep or intense dyes. Opting for a gentle laundry detergent that’s free of harsh chemicals will also help to extend the lifespan of your clothing.

Step 3: Don't Overdry


(Image credit: Szymon Brzoska / The Style Stalker)

As with washing, always avoid high heat when it comes to drying. One of the most important aspects of washing polyester, following this step will help you to avoid damaging the fabric and preserve the quality of clothing over time.

Of course, polyester can also be hung to air-dry and is highly wrinkle-resistant in either case.

Step 4: Use an Oxygen-Based Brightener


(Image credit: Szymon Brzoska / The Style Stalker)

Like many of our favorite fabrics, polyester has a tendency to pick up stains and can start to look faded over time. To restore your favorite pieces, use an oxygen-based brightener. A number of traditional, chemical-based brightening agents are made with chlorine, which strips away the coating of polyester, causing the fabric to lighten even more. Instead, opt for an all-natural oxygen brightener, which is friendly to both your polyester apparel and the environment.

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Now that you know how to wash polyester like a pro, keep reading to learn how to properly wash clothes by hand—and keep them in perfect condition.

This article was published at an earlier date and has been updated.