Can You Steam Polyester?

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When you think of polyester, you think of a durable fabric. But, can you steam polyester? What is the best way to clean, care for, and get wrinkles out of this durable fabric without harming it?

When you are learning to care for your clothes, it is always a good idea to take time to get to know your fabrics. This allows you to find the best way to care for and maintain your clothes.

What is Polyester?

​Polyester is a synthetic fiber. It is made from pellets or chips that are melted down and reformed into fibers that are interwoven to make clothes. Some polyester clothes are made from recycled products, allowing your clothes to help the environment.

  • This fabric was made to be durable, with strong and tightly woven fibers. Most all polyester is water resistant, due to its man-made synthetic nature. That makes polyester a great fabric for outerwear.
  • Don’t mistake water resistant for waterproof. While the polyester fabric and small fibers are waterproof, the small pores between the fibers being woven together allow water to pass through the fabric.
  • While polyester is one of the most durable fabrics around, it does have one weakness. It cannot tolerate direct heat. This means ​using an iron on your polyester outfits is a difficult task.
  • When direct heat is on polyester, it creates a shiny scorched spot. These spots stick out and can be difficult to remove. Some are even permanent, depending on how badly the polyester has been damaged.

If you cannot put direct heat on it, does that mean you can steam polyester? The answer is yes you can. There are a few different ways to steam polyester, depending on the weight of the fabric and type of item.

​Searching for the perfect ​clothes steamer for your home? We’ve ​compiled a comprehensive review on the best one in the market.

How to Steam Polyester

Now that you know more about polyester, you can learn how to steam it. Using steam to remove wrinkles and clean large polyester fabrics is a much safer alternative to using an iron.

Step One: Preparation

When you are ready to begin steaming, turn on your steamer and let it heat up for a minute. If there are steam settings, turn your steamer to the lowest heat steam setting.

Hang your garments up before you steam them. Make sure you do not use metal hangers when you are steaming. Metal can rust under the damp conditions and transfer that rust to your clothes.

The best way to steam your polyester is inside out. This keeps the direct heat off the fabric.

this is the best way to steam polyester

Normally, you steam your clothes by pressing the tip ​of the steamer against the fabric and going down. When you are dealing with a more delicate fabric, you need to keep the steamer pulled away from it.

Step Two: Steaming

To begin steaming, hold the steamer about an inch or two away from your hanging garment. Use your other hand to pull the bottom of the item down as you move the steamer vertically along your garment. ​

You don’t want the steamer to be too far away and not be able to straighten out the wrinkles. Keep it close, without the steamer touching the polyester.

Stubborn creases and wrinkles do happen. If you need a little more power to straighten your polyester, you can press the steamer head to the fabric. However, do this carefully and lightly press the steamer to the wrinkled area for two seconds or less. Another option would be to use an upright steamer which holds a lot more power and heat compared to its portable variants.

Step Three: Variants on Steaming

If you are unable to steam your items inside out, you can still steam them. Just make sure you keep the steamer on low. Hold it away from the garment, so it does not get too close and create a heat burn.

While a steamer is not as much of a hands-on heat source as an iron, it does deliver a high temperature and fast powered steam. It is better to pull the steamer just a little further away and risk having to try again instead of starting too close and risking damage to your polyester items.

Bonus: If you’re traveling, that doesn’t mean you can’t steam your clothes. A handheld steamer will fit nicely in your suitcase, allowing you to avoid using the (typically awful) hotel irons!

Alternatives to Steaming

While you are able to steam your polyester, there are times you may need extra help to get the wrinkles out while avoiding higher levels of heat. These no-heat tricks can help of you are unable to steam out the wrinkles or have a delicate polyester item that needs care.

  • Shower steaming your clothes is a very effective and time saving method. If you are short on time, hang your polyester items in the bathroom and turn the shower on high. Leave the bathroom fan off when you do this so the bathroom will steam up. This will take care of the wrinkles in your clothes.
  • Downy Wrinkle Release Spray only requires for you to hang your garment. It will handle the rest of the de-wrinkling. This handy spray comes in full size or travel size, so that you don’t have to go anywhere without it.
  • A DIY Vinegar mixture is just as effective wrinkle eliminating spray. Vinegar is safe on clothes (polyester included) and the natural acidity in vinegar will straighten out wrinkles from your hanging clothes.


Now that you know more about polyester and that it is safe to steam it, you can tackle the wrinkles and unwanted creases with a more professional at home touch. Just make sure you always read your clothes labels. They are mini instruction manuals that provide you with the safest cleaning and care for the fabric.