How To Iron Polyester: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Iron Polyester: A Step-by-Step Guide

Purchasing garments of good quality is an important step in ensuring the longevity and durability of your clothes. Not only will a high quality product last longer, but it also wears better for a long time.

While there certainly are fabrics that are a pain to care for, some, like polyester, require barely any effort and some blends can even be wrinkle-resistant. That is a great quality in itself, especially when it comes to technical outdoor clothing like jackets or trousers.

On our site we have discussed a number of different fabrics, fabric technologies and types of jackets.

As we have said in some of our previous guides on care and maintenance for particular jackets, knowing the proper steps of caring for your clothes is the best way to ensure that they can maintain their look and last for many seasons.

Polyester has also come up in some of those guides because it is one of the most common fabrics used in jackets and, as such, when learning how to care for a polyester jacket, in a way you also learn how to care about polyester itself.

What about ironing polyester?

That is the topic of today’s guide, in which we have compiled all the steps necessary for a safe and proper ironing of polyester fabrics, regardless if it is a jacket or a shirt.

Contents:

1. What is Polyester?

Made of a long chain of esters, as its name suggests, polyester in itself is a type of plastic which we come across in our daily lives in many of its different forms, not solely limited to fabrics.

It is one of the most durable fabrics available and it is entirely synthetic, or man-made, whichever you prefer.

As a fabric, polyester is used in a variety of different types of clothing, from undergarments, to T-shirts, dresses and, of course, jackets.

The reasons for its wide use are due to its durability, as we already mentioned, its tendency to resist wrinkles, ability to “breathe” by allowing moisture evaporation and air permeability, and its high resistance to chemicals.

If you want to learn more, we have an in-depth article about polyester fabrics here.

2. Frequently Asked Questions about Ironing Polyester

Before we begin with the guide itself, let’s go through some of the most commonly asked questions about ironing polyester.

Can You Iron Polyester?

The guide’s focus today is on learning how to iron polyester, thus this question may seem redundant, however, we chose to include it because it is a frequently asked question.

The answer, in short, is that you can iron polyester, but not in the way you iron cotton, for example. While it is a very durable fabric, polyester fabric is a thermoplastic and, as plastic is wont to do, it can melt in high temperatures.

We also mentioned that polyester is wrinkle-resistant, much more so than most other fabrics. Naturally, one wonders why, then, is ironing necessary for a fabric that does not really require it? After all, the purpose of ironing is to get wrinkles out of a fabric.

Well, in the case of polyester, there is a tendency to crease up if not properly cared for. It will take a long time to happen, mind you, but once it does it is best to act fast so that the creasing will not be permanent.

At What Temperature Do You Iron Polyester?

In general, Polyester is ironed at a temperature of 300F (148°C), preferably lower.

Because the majority of irons we use in our homes might not be that specialized and have the precise temperature setting in degrees, you must either rely on its pre-set setting for polyester, or, in case such a setting is not available, the low or medium setting will work just as well.

Can You Steam Iron Polyester?

A good quality steam iron is preferable when dealing with fabrics that require a bit more care in ironing.

Can you steam iron polyester? Absolutely!

Polyester, in general, can really benefit from steaming, which can be done in several ways, the steam iron being one of them.

In fact, it is best to use steam for getting the wrinkles out of polyester, as opposed to just ironing dry. We will discuss all the methods you can use steam to smooth wrinkles in a polyester garment when we get into the guide.

woman steam ironing

Can You Get Wrinkles Out Of Polyester?

While it is a bit more troublesome than some fabrics, polyester does not require as much care in ironing as other delicate fabrics.

You surely can get wrinkles out of polyester, but it is best to act as soon as they happen, by first washing them and then proceeding with the correct method of drying and ironing. You should always refer to the care label on the garment for the proper method of washing and drying.

Allowing the garment to fully dry with wrinkles on can go downhill quickly as the fabric will be more susceptible to further creasing and wrinkling.

How Do You Remove Iron Scorch From Polyester?

The best step in this regard is to prevent it from happening altogether. Polyester is susceptible to melting under high temperatures, which can practically ruin the fabric and make it unusable.

But, if your garment is already scorched, there are two methods you can try to try and save the garment. Results may vary depending on the particular polyester fabric used and how bad the scorching is.

Method 1: Vinegar

The first method is that of using white vinegar, especially on non-washable polyester fabric.

With a piece of clean clothing damped in vinegar, rub the stained area from the outside, slowly and gently moving inward. This helps in reducing the risk of further spreading the stain.

With another clean cloth damped in water wipe the fabric carefully to remove the vinegar residue and the amount of stain that has lifted.

Repeat this step as necessary.

Method 2: Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia (washable polyester only!)

First, brush off all the burnt fiber from the stained surface and place it face down on a piece of clean cloth. Add a few drops of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide around and on the stain, followed by two drops of ammonia.

For this method to work better, the fabric should be left with the peroxide and ammonia to soak for up to an hour. Every so often, add the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia so that the fabric can be constantly soaked in the solution.

Lastly, in cool water, rinse the fabric and then wash it as you regularly would.

Can You Iron Patches On Polyester?

A fun way to personalize and customize your clothes, iron-on patches are easy to apply and take barely any time. The good news is that you can apply them to polyester clothing, too. Carefully, however!

Using low heat and an iron on a dry setting are the best steps in ensuring that the patch will stick properly, as well as to prevent the polyester fabric from burning.

How To Get Melted Polyester Off An Iron And Clean It?

Scorching is not just an issue that affects the garment, but the iron will bear the marks, too.

In the case of melted polyester on the iron, there are several steps you can take to save your iron.

First, turn the iron on its lowest heat setting just so that the polyester on its surface can soften. Once softened, scrape off as much of the fabric as you can.

Unplug the iron and let it cool down.

In a bowl, mix together equal parts of water and baking soda, then take a clean cloth, dab it into the mixture and scrub the iron’s metal plate to remove as much of the residue as you can. Take care not to scratch or damage the iron plate by being too rough.

Lastly, if there is some residue left, an acetone-based nail polish remover can help. Use a clean part of the cloth as it picks up the stain for best results.

3. Ironing Polyester: A Step-by-Step Guide

With everything said, let’s now get down to the most important part, that of how to properly iron polyester clothing.

Using a Steam Iron

If wrinkles are present after the garment has dried, it’s time to iron it.

Step 1: Turn the garment inside out, laying it on a flat surface or on an ironing board.

Step 2: Place a damp ironing cover, thin cloth or towel, or alternatively a thick cotton handkerchief. If wrinkles are present only on certain parts of the fabric, then instead of dampening the whole covering cloth, use a dry one and spray some water on the areas that need ironing.

Step 3: With the iron’s steam setting on, on a low-medium temperature, or on a setting specifically for polyester, start pressing on the damp cloth to loosen up wrinkles.

Step 4: Do not use a steam iron directly on the fabric, especially not on the right part because you risk scorching and damaging the fabric and the iron.

Using Steam

While both methods rely on steam to remove wrinkles, in this part we will focus on the other ways to use steam that do not require an iron.

Steaming Appliance for Clothes

First, the best bet is using a steaming appliance made specifically for clothes. Run it over the fabric by slightly tugging on the areas needed, to smooth out the fabric, but do not pull too hard as you might stretch the garment.

Using a Dryer

Using a dryer, only if the care label on the garment permits it, you can first pre-treat the fabric with 1 tablespoon of fabric softener (only if the label indicates that it is okay to do so) in 3 cups of water, or just plain water if the label does not allow fabric softeners.

Place the garment in the dryer with a damp towel inside (it will help produce steam), then turn it on for around 10-15 minutes.

If there are wrinkles present after the first 15 minutes, then you can run the garment through the dryer for an additional 10 minutes, with the damp towel inside as well.

The Shower Method

If you are unable to access either an iron, a steaming appliance or a dryer, then using the shower method can help, too. This works great for those who are traveling.

Hang the garment on an wooden or plastic hanger (not metal) and then suspend it in an area near the shower (not inside).

If the label allows it, use the same fabric softener-water mixture from before.

Turn on the shower on its hottest setting, with the shower curtain opened and close the window and the bathroom door.

Allow the hot steam to loosen up the wrinkles for about 15 minutes and then check to make sure the wrinkles are gone.

If the wrinkles are not completely gone, then leave the shower on, close the bathroom door and start tugging carefully on the fabric, which will help smooth it out further.

The Last Step

After you have successfully removed all the wrinkles from your polyester garment, it’s best to keep it hung on a hanger, preferably inside a plastic clothing bag to prevent it from creasing in the wardrobe.

When folding, make sure to use a method that does not create wrinkles and avoid crumpling it up in your travel bag.

4. Conclusion

As with all fabrics, polyester, too, requires regular care and maintenance. Ironing is one of the steps to keep your garments looking their best.

Our guide covered all of the necessary steps in making sure that you safely and successfully iron polyester clothes.

Ironing polyester is not a difficult process, albeit a bit tricky, and we hope you found today’s guide useful and that the “frequently asked questions” paragraph above addressed some of your questions, too.

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Last updated: July 2019

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