Can You Dry Clean Polyester?

Polyester, like many natural and synthetic fibers, can be dry cleaned. But verify that the specific polyester garment you have is dry cleanable from the care label tucked at the seam. Many structured polyester garments or clothing like jackets, face caps, suits and dresses cannot be cleaned at home and must be dry cleaned, because home washing can end up destroying them. 

Below, we’ll discuss why polyester can be dry clean only, how to dry clean it and also how to properly wash it at home. 

Why would polyester be dry clean only?

It’s surprising to find the dry clean only instruction printed on polyester, given its widespread use and durability. That’s why the question of why polyester would be dry clean only needs to be asked. 

If your polyester is “dry clean only”, it means there are specific things on the particular fabric that can be affected by machine washing or drying, and so the manufacturer, refusing to take any share of blame from possible destruction of that nature, has opted to slap the dry clean only tag on his/her product. 

The possible factors can be the finishing on the fabric, the structure, the nature of weave, the dye or embellishments on the fabric.

If you don’t know, dry cleaning is a very careful and deliberate process. When you take items to the dry cleaners, they are properly checked and examined before being washed. Stains are treated using appropriate and safe techniques and products, and special embellishments or buttons on your clothes (that can be destroyed by the dry cleaning process) are removed and replaced back after the process.

Also, the dry cleaning solvent doesn’t penetrate into fibers the way water does, so it doesn’t cause dyes to run off or finishings to come off, unless that particular type of finishing can be affected by a solvent!

Additionally, the dry cleaning process doesn’t agitate clothes like in the washer, where there can be a central agitator to help beat up clothes to release soiling at the cost of weakening the fibers.

How to dry clean polyester

Because dry cleaning can be an expensive venture, it’s always a good idea to try and minimize the trip to the dry cleaners by maximizing how long your clothes lose their freshness.  

Practices such as rotation of clothes and airing clothes out before keeping them aside can help with that. 

When your dry clean only polyester clothes eventually lose their freshness, then it’s time to take them to the dry cleaners. 

If you have any stains on the cloth, identify the cause and the age, and communicate that to the person on the counter at the dry cleaners. That’s where all your efforts stop. All you have to do again is to go back to the dry cleaners shop to retrieve your fabric.

Polyester can be machine washed

Just like there are polyesters that can be “dry clean only” there are also polyesters that can only be washed at home and not dry cleaned.

When machine washing polyester, you don’t have to really worry about the cycle type and laundry detergent but the water temperature, as polyester can shrink when left to sit in hot water for a while. 

For the cycles, opt for a normal wash cycle when you’re washing polyester clothes that have no fillings inside them, and for those with fillings like comforters and puffer jackets, use the gentlest cycle possible. 

Polyester should be washed using a top quality detergent. It can also be put in the dryer to dry at moderate or no heat cycle, but avoid the high heat cycle. 

Can all clothes be dry cleaned?

Because dry cleaning is gentler on fabrics in comparison to machine washing does not mean that all clothes can be dry cleaned. In fact, not every cloth can be cleaned using dry cleaning. 

There are specific sheets, pillowcases, natural and synthetic materials that cannot fare well under immersion in a dry cleaning fluid. They can discolor or get damaged there. 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to read the fabric care label to find out the right instructions on how to clean the specific type of fabric you have.

What about other fibers

Now that we know whether or not dry-cleaning can be dry cleaned, let’s learn about other types of fabric and yes it is with the dry cleaning.

Cotton, nylon, silk and linen can all be dry cleaned, but there are some exceptions like those having finishes on them that can be destroyed by the dry cleaning fluid. Where or not a fabric can be dry cleaned is usually an instruction that is communicated in the care label. So read that to be 100% sure. 

Final thoughts

Polyester aside from being machine and hand washable is also dry cleanable. In fact, some specific types of polyester garments like to suit, dresses, face caps and jackets can only be dry cleaned because the process will preserve their structures, finishing, colors and even weaving.