Can You Wash Polyester In Cold Water?

We all know to some extent that the temperature of water we use to clean our clothes can affect its longevity. 

Hot water has a bad rap. It makes some clothes shrink, colors to loosen from fibers and bleed, and fibers to weaken. On the good side however, it is able to provide disinfection of laundry. 

Cold water on the other hand offers no disinfection at all, but it is very gentle on fabrics and therefore would not affect them negatively the way hot water does.

And then there’s warm water sandwiched between the two! It can disinfect to a moderate degree while still offering that gentility to fabrics. Still yet, some clothes cannot simply tolerate it! 

As far as polyester goes, the best water temperature to use to clean it is warm or cold water. Hot water can cause polyester to shrink, wrap, or be destroyed. It can also loosen up dyes and increase the chances of bleeding. 

Below, will discuss more on polyester fabric maintenance and in that course, teach you all the necessary techniques and steps required to keep your polyester material polished up as ever. 

You can wash polyester in cold water, but warm is preferred

We’ve all heard about the sturdy nature of polyester, but that must not be abused or taken for granted. 

Because polyester is a very strong material does not mean you can put it in the washing machine on hot and expect everything to turn out okay. It wont. 

Your polyester will shrink, and continue to shrink the more you keep up with the practice. Eventually, everything will be lost, from shape, to color and integrity of the clothing.

As far as what wash temperature is recommended to wash polyester in, a warm setting is the way out, although you can clearly do so using cold water. 

Warm water will help break down stains and soiling easily, and it will also be able to provide some disinfection properties too, unlike cold water. So you’ll find it easier to get clean and odor free clothes when you use warm water to clean polyester clothes.

How to wash polyester using cold water

If you’ve made up your mind that you’re using cold water to do the laundry, maybe because you see it as an unnecessary stress, or you’re simply trying to save up on energy, then this is how to wash polyester clothes, be it 100% polyester or blended one, using cold water.

First thing you should do is to check your polyester material for stains. Because polyester is hydrophobic in nature, it means that it rarely picks up water-based stains, but at the same time however, you’ll find polyester clothings super eager to have oil-based stains splattered on them. 

So check all round the fabric and ensure that you do not have oil or grease on it, if not, you want to make sure you’re treating it with a spot remover or a paste of heavy duty detergent or liquid dishwashing detergent (preferred).

Using a spot remover is very easy (and works great for aged stains), but you need to make sure you’re using the right type. Opt for stain removers specifically meant for the type of stain you’re treating which is obviously oil based stain. 

Typically, you’ll have much better chances of removing oil or grease stains when you use a dry cleaning solvent. These are very risky to handle so you want to make sure you’re observing all safety precautions when using them.

All purpose stain removers can also work, but they may not be as effective as stain removers that target a specific type of stain. 

If you’re using detergents, then know that they work better with fresh stains or those that haven’t aged well. 

Liquid dishwashing detergent is mostly recommended because it’s purposely created to target oil stains on plates and pans, and this can work to suck out grease stains from fibers and keep clothings clean.

Apply detergents to stains from the outer parts to the inner parts so you do not end up spreading the stain further.

After you’re done with stain removal, it’s time to wash. Use an all-purpose detergent or a heavy duty laundry detergent to wash polyester clothes in cold water. 

You can opt for the standard cycle, or use the delicate cycle. Polyester can tolerate whichever one of them you opt for because it’s sturdy and very durable.

If you also find the need to sanitize your polyester material, feel free to do so using laundry sanitizers from brands like Lysol, and Clorox. 

You can also use non-chlorine bleach to achieve disinfection. Before you use that however, make sure to test for colorfastness by applying the product directly to an inconspicuous area of the cloth and observing what happens after you let it sit (but not dry), wash, rinse and then dry.

When rinsing, you can add fabric softener, or vinegar to help promote anti-static properties and also brightening respectively.

And finally to dry, use the low or moderate heat settings on your dryer. Do not go higher than that because the material will eventually shrink or wrap.

Polyester typically doesn’t come out of the dryer with wrinkles because the material is made naturally to be wrinkle free, but if it happens that your material has wrinkles, then feel free to use a pressing iron to straighten things out.

When using pressing iron, ensure it is set at low to moderate. An alternative to using pressing iron is to use a steamer.

The best way to clean white polyester garment

White polyester garments need special treatment, not just polyester, but whites for every type of fabric out there. 

When taking care of whites, we always want them to appear cleaner and brighter. And sometimes, the regular washing technique we use at home may not be sufficient enough, and so we need to do a little bit more to achieve that goal.

The best way to wash white polyester fabrics so they come out whiter and brighter, is to soak them overnight in a solution made from combining ½ cups of automatic dishwasher detergent and 4 liters of water. 

Then launder as usual using a heavy duty laundry detergent, and use a fabric softener during the rinse cycle.

Do not use chlorine bleach to whiten polyester fabrics as it can strip away the outer coating of their fibers and reveal the yellow inner core which would make the garment appear yellow instead of whiter. If you want to disinfect white clothes, use laundry sanitizers or an oxygen bleach.

Instead of using fabric softener, you can use vinegar instead, and this would add much more brightness and richness to the white fabric.

Final Thoughts

Polyester is always up to the task for either cold or warm washing. Both are perfectly suitable methods for polyester. What you should be wary of is hot water, because it can shrink, distort or wrap polyester.

Don’t just avoid using hot water in the washer, avoid using the hot settings in the dryer and also avoid pressing polyester using a very hot iron. Instead use low to moderate heat or a steamer.