How to Clean a Polyester Coat

Clerk and customer at dry cleaners
Take dry-clean only coats to a dry cleaner and explain that your coat is constructed with polyester. (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Polyester is among the most durable and heavily used synthetic materials today. Since its invention in the 1940s, polyester has been noted for its resistance to wrinkles and stains and used as both fabric and filling for outerwear such as jackets and winter coats. Although its resilience make cleaning and maintenance fairly simple, there are a few precautions to take when cleaning your polyester coat.

Care Tag

Before you open a fresh bottle of laundry detergent, read the care tag attached to your coat. Clothing manufacturers in the United States are required to attach a “garment care” tag to each of their products with cleaning instructions and warnings. Read the care label carefully to determine if your coat is machine washable or if it is dry-clean only. Although most polyester garments are machine washable, you should always read the label -- failure to follow the care instructions may cause permanent damage to your coat.

Washing

A machine washable coat requires that you proceed with care. Knit coats should be turned inside out to avoid snags. Set your machine to wash with warm water and use your regular detergent. You can brighten white polyester fabrics by soaking them overnight in a gallon of water with 1/2 cup of automatic dishwasher liquid or powder and then washing in warm water with regular laundry detergent, adding 1/2 cup of vinegar during the final rinse.

Drying

Dry your polyester coat on a warm setting -- hot temperatures and over drying may cause your coat to shrink. Dry your coat on the “tumble dry” setting at a low temperature. Add fabric softener to reduce static electricity. Check your coat periodically to ensure that is not shrinking; if it appears to be smaller, lower the dryer temperature or allow to air dry.

Dry Cleaning

Some polyester coats should only be dry-cleaned; however, you should exercise diligence when taking a polyester coat to your cleaner. Although polyester is resistant to moisture and liquid stains, oils easily stain it -- point out any stains to your dry cleaner that need to be removed. Plainly tell your dry cleaner that the coat is made of polyester, and point out if the outer fabric, filling or both are polyester. Indicate that it should be handled with care; even dry cleaners can ruin a coat if they do not realize that it is filled with polyester fibers.

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