Can You Wash Polyester That Says Dry Clean Only?

dry clean
(Source: pixelshot/Canva)

If you have a polyester shirt that says “dry clean only,” you may wonder if it is safe to wash it at home.

The answer is yes, you can! You can wash your “dry clean only” items at home if careful and follow a few guidelines.

polyester dry clean wash

This blog post will discuss the best way to wash polyester clothing and how to prevent it from shrinking or fading.

Can You Wash Polyester That Says Dry Clean Only?

dry clean only
Dry clean tag on polyester clothing. Credit: canva

The answer is YES. But you have to be careful and follow the guidelines.

Here’s the thing: polyester is a synthetic fabric made of man-made fibers. That means it’s not as delicate as natural fibers like wool or silk.

So if you’re careful, you can machine wash polyester on a gentle cycle with cool water. Just be sure to use a mild detergent, and don’t put it in the dryer!

If you’re worried about ruining your dress, you can hand wash it in cool water.

How to Wash at Home

polyester washing machine
Washing machine setting. Credit: canva

Machine Wash

To machine wash your “dry-clean only” polyester items:

  1. Start by checking the label care instructions to see if it’s safe to use hot water or a high-heat dryer setting.
  2. Turn the items inside out and put them into a mesh bag, so they don’t get tangled or snagged on other items.
  3. Then, choose a mild detergent and avoid fabric softeners, which can damage the polyester fibers.
  4. Set your washing machine to the “gentle” cycle with cool water and wash on its own.
  5. When your clothes are done in the wash, take them out and lay them flat to dry.

Hand Wash

washing in water
Hand washing. Credit: canva

To hand wash your polyester garment:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with cool water and add a gentle detergent like baby shampoo.
  2. Allow the item to soak for about five minutes, then gently agitate it.

Then, rinse the item in clean cold water until all suds are gone, and lay it flat to dry.

To Dry

fresh clean laundry
Hang dry the cloths. Credit: canva

To dry the garments:

  1. It’s best not to tumble dry polyester clothing, as this can cause shrinkage and damage to the fabric.
  2. Instead, lay your clothes out on a rack or hang them somewhere they can air-dry naturally.
  3. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the process by gently blotting clothes with a towel and laying them out to dry indoors.

At-home Dry Cleaning Kits

There are also special dry cleaning kits that can be used at home.

These kits typically come with powdered detergent and special sponge-like cloths that help prevent damage from machine washing.

To use the kit, follow the instructions on the label and lay your polyester garment flat to dry.

About Polyester and “Dry Clean Only” Label

Polyester is a synthetic fabric widely used in clothing, upholstery, and other textiles. It’s popular because it’s durable, easy to care for, and highly resistant to stains and wrinkles.

However, polyester can be damaged by hot water or harsh detergents, which is why it is often labeled as “dry clean only.” The fabric may lose shape and stretch out, leading to an ill-fitting dress. 

If it has embellishments or unique trimmings, like sequins or beading, it’s also best to have it dry-cleaned.

Tips for Preventing Shrinkage and Fading

laundry bag
Washing a delicate underwear in a mesh bag. Credit: canva

Once your polyester items are clean, you’ll want to prevent them from shrinking or fading in the wash.

  • The first step is to use a mesh laundry bag when washing delicate fabrics like polyester. This way, the clothing won’t get snagged or tangled on the washing machine drum.
  • You should also avoid using hot water and high-heat dryer settings since these can cause polyester to shrink over time.
  • Instead, choose a cool or cold water cycle and low heat for drying. This will help prevent fading as well.


Can I wash my polyester with my regular load of laundry?

Yes, you can wash your polyester with your regular load of laundry, but you should use a detergent made for sensitive skin. This will help to keep your clothes looking and feeling their best.

How does polyester work?

Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is made from petrochemicals. It is essentially composed of long chains of molecules called polymers.

These polymer chains are fragile and almost invisible to the naked eye. When woven together, they form a fabric that is strong and durable.

Polyester is often used in clothing because it doesn’t wrinkle easily, and it holds its shape well even after repeated washing. It also has a high absorbency level, making it a good choice for clothing that gets sweaty or wet.

However, polyester is not very breathable, so it can be uncomfortable to wear in warm weather.

Do you know how often you should wash your polyester clothes?

I don’t know precisely how often you should wash your polyester clothes, but I would suggest washing them as often as you would washing your other clothes.

Polyester is a synthetic fabric that tends to repel dirt and oil, so it may not get as dirty as some other clothes. But I would still recommend laundering them every time you wear them to help keep them looking and smelling their best.

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