Can You Iron Polyester – A Simple How-to Guide

Can you iron polyester and polyester fabrics? Here is your complete guide to ironing polyester and removing wrinkles without damage.

Clothing label for 100% polyester with care instructions and content information on green polka dot garment

Polyester is a manmade fabric specifically famous for its durability and wrinkle resistance. It is used in a majority of fabric across the world – either as 100% polyester or mixed in with other fibers like cotton, spandex, etc.

Advantages of polyester:

  • It has a water-resistant finish.
  • It is not prone to shrinkage, nor does it lose shape
  • Some polyester fabrics do not wrinkle
  • Does not absorb sweat/water easily
  • It is relatively cheaper than other fabrics with the same durability
  • Mixing fibers like cotton with polyester makes cotton resistant to shrinkage, adds durability, and makes it less prone to wrinkles.

The durability of polyester is incredibly beneficial and is used extensively in outdoor fabrics.

100% polyester fabric quickly bounces back and is resistant to wrinkles. However, one of the biggest frustrations is opening a new package with a polyester garment or item riddled with wrinkles. These can be extremely hard to get rid of. Polyester blend fabrics can also be challenging to iron because they may need different temperatures.

Why Is Ironing Polyester Challenging?

Polyester is derived from petroleum products and is essentially a plastic. This makes it extremely easy to burn with even a little extra heat.

Woman looking through a burnt hole in a shirt

Can You Iron 100% Polyester?

YES. You can iron 100% polyester fabric. However, you have to be extremely careful. The best way to get wrinkles out of polyester or polyester blend fabric is by using steam. Steam penetrates the fibers in the fabric, relaxing them and removing wrinkles. Various methods can be used to apply steam. Let’s dive into them below.

Before starting, read the fabric label carefully to ensure you don’t use excessive heat.

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Method 1: Use a Shower

Water running in a shower.

Hanging the garment in a steamy shower is a great way to remove wrinkles.

  1. Run the shower to fill the room with steam.
  2. Hang the garment or fabric close to the shower (without getting it wet, of course). Hang it on a hook in the shower or on the shower rod.
  3. Close the bathroom and let the steam do its work. This can take about an hour or more.

The advantage of this method is that it is almost risk-proof. There is no way for the garment to burn from excessive heat.

However, it is not environmentally friendly as you waste a lot of water creating the steam. It can also be a very long process. The steam might not last long enough to eliminate the wrinkles, and you may have to rerun it.

Method 2: With a Clothes Steamer

Garment steamer next to clothes. This is a great way to remove wrinkles from polyester.

A clothes steamer is an excellent choice for removing wrinkles from polyester fabrics. They are extremely easy to use, and you can find many budget-friendly options.

I own this one, which is powerful, small, and compact. It is great for travel as well.

Here is how to steam polyester clothing to get wrinkles out:

  1. Hang up the garment from a hanger. It is essential to have 360-degree access to the fabric. A shower rod works well.
  2. Turn on the clothes steamer and allow it to warm until steam is released. Hold the steamer nozzle upright to prevent hot water spills.
  3. Lightly brush the fabric with the nozzle as the steam escapes. Be sure not to touch the fabric as the nozzle can be a little hot, and it can damage the fabric.
  4. Straighten the fabric as you work by gently pulling at it as you steam it.
Woman is steaming blue polyester shirt. She holds small stream iron in hand.

You may notice the garment is damp once you have finished using the steamer. This is normal. Allow it to dry while hanging.

Note: Be careful not to steam near clasps and hooks in the garment. The steam can oxidize and rust them, which can transfer onto the fabric.

Method 3: Use a Steam Iron

steam iron on ironing board with shirt and basket

This is probably the easiest and most accessible way to remove wrinkles from polyester fabrics. Almost everyone owns a steam iron. This means no additional investment and a quick removal of wrinkles.

To steam iron polyester, you need the following:

  • A steam iron. I use and love this one.
  • A padded ironing board or surface. Padding is essential as it allows the steam to circulate and easily remove wrinkles.
  • A pressing cloth. This is any white cloth – a muslin cloth works well but you can also use a towel.

Here’s how to remove wrinkles from polyester using an iron:

  1. Lay the fabric as flat as possible on the padded ironing board. If you do not have enough padding, lay down a folded bedsheet or thin quilt underneath to create padding.
  2. Lay a damp pressing cloth on the area that needs to be ironed.
  3. Slowly glide the iron across the pressing cloth.
Woman ironing polyester short with white pressing cloth

It is important to ensure the iron stays on top of the pressing cloth and doesn’t come in contact with the polyester fabric to keep it from melting.

If the pressing cloth dries up, you can use a spray bottle to wet it again or use the spray function in the iron.

If the wrinkles are too stubborn, you can also press the steam button to release more steam into the cloth to relax the fibers.

What Iron Setting for Polyester?

Polyester usually starts to melt at 482°F. Most irons can reach the highest temperature of 500°F. Because it is possible to melt polyester fabric with an iron, it is critical to follow the ironing instructions carefully.

Iron with heat setting to synthetic for polyester

Most polyester items have a label with a picture of an iron with one of two dots indicating low to medium heat, with a maximum temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher than this can cause the fabric to melt. To iron polyester, you can set the dial on the iron to the medium or poly setting.

Once the fabric or garment is ironed, it is best to keep it hanging or on a hanger to allow any moisture to escape before using. If the fabric cannot dry completely, it can wrinkle again easily.

Can You Iron Polyester Satin Fabric?

Evening dresses or gowns are frequently made from satin or polyester blends. The polyester contributes to the garment’s resistance to creasing. These dresses are typically hung on a hanger. However, if they are folded and compressed for transport for long periods, they can be easily creased.

Women steaming satin dress in room to remove wrinkles

Ironing these satin/polyester blends is not recommended. If you have to, be sure to follow the above methods. A garment steamer like this one is probably the best way to remove wrinkles from satin or polyester.

Can You Iron Polyester and Spandex Fabric?

Spandex is primarily made of plastic. That’s the fiber that adds the stretch to the denim jeans and other clothing. A heated iron will quickly melt the plastic and destabilize the fibers, causing the clothing to age more quickly and lose its elasticity.

When washed and dried appropriately, most spandex blend apparel does not crease. The basic rule here is to avoid ironing spandex-containing clothing. If ironing is completely essential, use a pressing cloth with the lowest heat setting possible and apply soft and even pressure.

Tips to Prevent Wrinkles in Polyester

  • Do not overload the washer when washing polyester to prevent creasing during the spin cycle.
  • Once the wash/dryer cycle has been completed, promptly remove the clothing from the dryer to prevent wrinkles.
  • Don’t wear or use damp polyester fabric, as this will crease them easily.
  • It is best to hang polyester garments to keep the wrinkles away.

More Clothing Care Resources:

steam iron on dress shirt with text overlay
Anika Gandhi

Anika Gandhi is on a mission to declutter and organize all the things around her and is here to inspire and encourage you to do the same!

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