Let me guess, you’ve been ignoring your wrinkled polyester shirt or blouse for months because you’re avoiding tackling the ironing and worried about burn marks? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And the good news is that you don’t have to suffer through the chore of ironing wrinkled polyester!
Polyester can be one of the most frustrating fabrics when it comes to ironing. It’s susceptible to heat and can quickly melt if not ironed properly.
The key to ironing polyester and giving it proper care is to use the right iron setting, a pressing cloth, and steam. Yes, it’s as simple as that.
In our step-by-step guide, we’ll explain how to iron polyester correctly. By the end, you should glide your iron over polyester like a pro.
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Is Polyester Prone to Wrinkling?
Polyester clothing has synthetic fibers used in a wide range of clothes, including workwear, travel clothes, and attire demanding low maintenance.
One significant advantage that polyester offers compared to natural materials like cotton and linen is its ability to resist wrinkling.
How Does Polyester Resist Wrinkling?
First, polyester is made from petroleum-based materials called polymers. These long-chain polymers are tightly packed together to form a strong and resilient structure.
The long-intertwined polymer chains create a robust network that makes polyester resilient and durable. It also allows polyester garments to retain shape and form and resist wrinkling.
Second, polyester has a high tensile strength level due to the polymer molecules’ linear arrangement. As such, polyester fabrics endure substantial pulling forces without breaking or wrinkling. The fabric can easily bounce back from stretching and maintain its original shape.
Polyester fabrics are also often heat-set during the manufacturing process. Heat-setting is a helpful technique that stabilizes and organizes polyester fibers to improve their resistance, wrinkling, and durability.
Polyester fabrics are subjected to temperatures up to 210°C during heat-setting in heating chambers. This intense heat causes the fibers to relax and reorganize again to retain their shape, giving them shrinking and wrinkling-resistant properties.
Finally, polymers used in making polyester are hydrophobic, meaning they don’t attract water or moisture. This contributes to the anti-wrinkling properties of polyester as the fabric doesn’t get distorted due to changes in moisture or humidity.
Since polyester isn’t absorbent, it dries out much faster than cotton, wool, and other fabrics. That’s why it’s widely used in swimwear and sportswear.
Why Does My Polyester Wrinkle?
Despite its anti-wrinkling properties, polyester is still prone to wrinkling under certain circumstances.
Like any other fabric, polyesters can wrinkle when exposed to high pressure, compression, or improper care.
Here’s why your polyester wrinkles:
1. Heat Sensitivity
As we mentioned, polyester is heat-sensitive. When exposed to high temperatures during ironing or drying, it temporarily loses shape and becomes stretched or distorted.
This leads to the development of wrinkles that are difficult to remove. This usually occurs when you don’t stretch and hang your polyester garments after ironing.
2. Improper care
Generally speaking, rough handling of garments can easily cause wrinkles, and polyester is no exception. Even though it resists wrinkling to some extent, your polyester fabric will crease if you don’t handle it right.
For example, cramming your polyester garments in your bag for a long time can easily get them wrinkled. The same happens when you crumble polyester clothes into a ball and throw them in your wardrobe without hanging them properly.
Using high heat to dry your polyester garments isn’t the best approach. They’ll wrinkle and lose their shape.
Additionally, leaving your polyester clothes in the dryer for extended periods can also lead to wrinkling and overdrying. We’ll mention the best way to dry polyester later.
If you leave your polyester fabric folded or creased for a long time, wrinkles can easily form like any other fabric. This is especially the case if your polyester clothes are folded in a way that strains the fabric.
Improper washing is another reason your polyester garments get wrinkled. That’s because of the agitation in the washing machine’s spin cycle.
The wrinkling usually happens when you leave your polyester clothes in the washing machine for too long after the washing cycle.
So, it would be best to take your polyester fabrics immediately after washing them and hang them to dry properly.
Can You Iron Polyester?
Polyester clothes are notorious for their wrinkle-resistant properties, and many people opt for them as they don’t require much ironing. But what if they have stubborn wrinkles? Should you iron them?
Well, there’s no one definite answer to this question. That’s because some polyester fabrics are extremely sensitive to heat and can easily scorch if exposed to too much heat.
To determine whether you should iron your polyester or not, the first thing you should do is inspect the label. If the label says, “Do not iron,” that’s your answer – you don’t need to risk it. In that case, you can use a clothes steamer to remove the wrinkles without applying much heat.
If your polyester doesn’t have a warning label, you can iron it cautiously. Just make sure you adjust the heat setting of your iron to not overheat the fabric.
For extra protection, place a thin, damp cloth over the polyester fabric before ironing to prevent direct heat contact and reduce the risk of shiny marks and scorching.
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How to Iron Polyester: Step-by-Step Instructions
You should be extremely careful when ironing polyester because it’s made of man-made fibers that can easily melt at high temperatures.
So, setting the right ironing temperature is crucial before you start.
1. Set the Right Ironing Temperature
Most irons can reach temperatures up to 500°F (260°C), which is extremely high for polyesters. That said, if you’re ironing a polyester garment, you need to set the iron to a lower temperature so that you don’t burn the fabric.
Generally speaking, polyesters burn at 482 °F, so you can easily ruin your valuable clothes without even noticing.
Every polyester brand is different, and not all require the same temperature for ironing. That’s why it’s crucial to check the label on your polyester item for specific ironing temperatures and instructions.
The ideal temperature for ironing polyester is 300°F / 148°C, which is cool to warm. But irons don’t usually display the exact temperature, and different irons use different scale measurements.
To ensure you get the right amount of heat, set your iron to level 1 or 2; don’t go beyond that. These levels indicate low and medium heat, which is suitable for ironing polyester.
If you look at the label on your polyester item, you’ll likely see a picture of an iron with only one or two dots, this indicates the suitable heat level for your garment.
After you set the heat to low or medium, test on the reverse side of your cloth first to see if it handles the heat, then check to see if the wrinkles disappear; if they don’t, you can increase the temperature from low to medium and test again.
2. Use a Steam Iron
Steam irons are usually the best option for iron polyesters. That’s because they heat water and utilize the hot steam to loosen the fabric and eliminate wrinkles without damaging the polyester. Be careful, though.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric, so you can easily damage it using too much steam. Use steam sparingly and direct it away from your clothes.
If you notice stubborn wrinkles, use a handheld steamer with vertical steam to loosen the fabric and iron it more easily. Simply hang your polyester item on a hanger and apply steam at its bottom to stretch it upwards.
Once the fabric is loosened, you can easily eliminate the wrinkles by ironing them out.
3. Place a Pressing Cloth
Using a press cloth while ironing polyester is a good practice. The pressing cloth acts as a barrier between the iron and the polyester, preventing direct contact and minimizing the risk of shiny marks and scorching.
This is a handy way to iron any sensitive clothing material, not only polyester. Here’s how to do it:
- Select a thin, cotton cloth that’s lightweight. Don’t use thick cloth as it might hinder heat transfer.
- Lay the pressing cloth over the polyester fabric you wish to iron. Make sure it lies flat without any wrinkles
- Set your iron to the appropriate temperature for polyester, usually low to medium.
- Start ironing over the pressing cloth gently with a gliding motion. Avoid pressing or leaving the iron on the same spot for too long to prevent overheating.
How to Iron Different Polyester Items
Now that you understand the basics of ironing polyester, it’s time to learn how to effectively iron different polyester products.
- Start by checking the label on your polyester curtains for any specific ironing instructions. Follow the instructions properly for the best results.
- Set up your ironing table/board in a spacious area so you can move your curtains around easily.
- Ensure the ironing area is clean and free of dust and debris that can get transferred to your curtains
- Set your iron to low/medium settings depending on the instructions and let it preheat
- Test the heat on an inconspicuous area of your curtain before ironing.
- Spread the curtains on your ironing board or hang them on a curtain rod for easier access.
- Lay a clean, lightweight pressing cloth over the ironing section to prevent overheating.
- Start ironing at the top of your curtains and glide down smoothly.
- Don’t over-press or leave the iron on the same spot for too long to avoid burning the curtains.
- As you iron, lift the pressing cloth periodically to see the progress and ensure the curtains aren’t overheating.
- If you notice stubborn wrinkles after ironing, increase the temperature and repeat ironing to stretch them out.
- Once you finish ironing a section, let it cool before moving on to the next section
- Use the steam option if the wrinkles persist, and once you finish, let the curtain cool down before you hang it on the rod
- Refer to the fabric care label for any additional ironing requirements
- Plug in your iron, set it to low/medium heat, and let it preheat
- Place your pants on the ironing board with the ironing board inside one leg
- Make sure your pants are turned inside out to avoid direct contact with heat
- Dampen a piece of smooth pressing cloth and lay it over the area you wish to iron to eliminate the wrinkles more easily
- Start by ironing the pockets to smooth them out
- With a steady, sweeping motion, iron the waistband first and move down the leg
- Press the iron into the waistband, then lift it. Repeat the same procedure across the entire waistband
- Repeat the same pressing and lifting technique while ironing over the ankle cuff
- Move on to ironing the other leg using the same steps
- Once you finish ironing, let the pants cool and hang them immediately.
Polyester Dresses and Shirts
- Check the label to see if ironing the dress/shirt is recommended. If ironing is permitted, proceed to the next step.
- Adjust your iron temperature to the lowest setting to be suitable for polyester. Opt for the designated polyester settings if available.
- Lightly dampen the garment before ironing to ease out the wrinkles and make ironing much easier.
- Undo any buttons or fasteners and place the shirt/dress on the ironing board
- Consider placing a clean, pressing cloth over the garment to prevent scorching and shiny spots.
- Start by ironing the collar. Begin with the edges and work your way towards the middle.
- Move on to the cuffs. Open them and iron them from the edges towards the middle.
- Continue to iron the sleeves. Start from the bottom of each sleeve and work your way up to the shoulder.
- Iron the back of your dress/shirt next. Adjust your polyester item as you iron to ensure you get the wrinkles in all sections.
- Let the back cool, then start ironing the front of your garment in the same manner.
- Once you finish ironing, let your shirt/dress cool, then hang it immediately.
PIN FOR LATER
Even though polyester clothes are heat-sensitive, you can easily iron them if you follow our guide. Remember to adjust your iron temperature to low/medium, opt for steam, and apply a pressing cloth to avoid overheating.
With the right temperature and technique, your polyester garments will be wrinkle-free in a few minutes. So grab that iron you’ve been avoiding and follow our tips for the best results.