Can You Put Polyester In The Dryer? A Detailed Guide

If you’ve ever wondered whether you can put polyester fabrics in the dryer, you’re not alone. Polyester is one of the most common synthetic fabrics, and knowing how to properly care for it can save you time and frustration.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, polyester can generally go in the dryer. However, the heat and tumbling of a dryer can damage polyester over time or cause issues like shrinking, wrinkling or pilling.

To maximize the life of polyester fabrics, it’s best to air dry them or use a low heat setting in the dryer.

What is Polyester?

Polyester is a synthetic polymer fabric that is widely used in various industries. It is a man-made material that is created through a chemical process called polymerization. This process involves combining different chemicals to form long chains of polymers, which are then spun into fibers to create the polyester fabric.

A synthetic polymer fabric

Polyester is known for its versatility and durability. It is a fabric that is made from synthetic fibers, which means it is not derived from natural sources like cotton or silk. This synthetic nature allows polyester to be highly resistant to wrinkles, shrinking, and stretching, making it a popular choice for both clothing and home furnishings.

Properties like durability, elasticity, wrinkle resistance

One of the key properties of polyester is its durability. It is a strong fabric that can withstand wear and tear, making it suitable for garments that are worn frequently. Additionally, polyester has excellent elasticity, allowing it to stretch and recover its shape without losing its original form.

Another important characteristic of polyester is its resistance to wrinkles. Unlike natural fabrics like cotton, polyester has the ability to retain its smooth appearance even after being washed and dried.

This makes it a convenient choice for those who prefer low-maintenance clothing and household items.

Commonly used for clothing, home furnishings, accessories

Polyester is a versatile fabric that is used in a wide range of applications. It is commonly used in the fashion industry for making clothing items such as dresses, shirts, pants, and jackets. Its durability and resistance to wrinkles make it an ideal choice for everyday wear.

In addition to clothing, polyester is also widely used in the production of home furnishings. It is often found in items such as curtains, upholstery, beddings, and carpets, thanks to its durability and ability to resist fading from sunlight exposure.

Furthermore, polyester is used in the creation of various accessories such as bags, wallets, and shoes. Its strength and resistance to moisture make it a reliable material for these types of products.

Can You Put Polyester in the Dryer?

Yes, polyester can be machine dried. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is known for its durability and ability to retain its shape. Unlike certain delicate fabrics, polyester can withstand the heat and tumbling action of the dryer without getting damaged.

This makes it a convenient option for those who prefer the convenience of machine drying their clothes.

But heat and tumbling can damage fibers over time

While polyester can be dried in the dryer, it is important to note that excessive heat and tumbling can damage the fibers over time. High heat can cause the fabric to shrink or lose its original shape, while the tumbling action can lead to pilling or fraying.

To keep your polyester garments in the best condition, it is recommended to follow some best practices when drying them.

Best practices for drying polyester

  • Use a low or medium heat setting: To prevent damage to the fabric, it is advisable to use a low or medium heat setting when drying polyester. This will help to retain its shape and prevent shrinkage.
  • Remove promptly: Once the drying cycle is complete, remove the polyester garments from the dryer immediately. Allowing them to sit in the dryer for an extended period can cause wrinkling and make it difficult to remove creases.
  • Avoid overloading the dryer: Overloading the dryer can lead to increased heat and friction, which can be detrimental to polyester fabrics. It is best to dry polyester items separately or with similar fabrics to ensure proper airflow and prevent damage.
  • Consider air drying: If you want to be extra cautious, air drying polyester garments is a safe option. Simply hang them on a clothesline or lay them flat on a clean surface to dry naturally. This method can help maintain the shape and integrity of the fabric.

Remember, it is always a good idea to check the care instructions on your polyester garments before drying them in the machine. Some specific items may require special care or recommend air drying to ensure their longevity.

By following these best practices, you can safely and effectively dry your polyester clothes, keeping them in great condition for longer.

Potential Issues of Drying Polyester

Polyester is a popular synthetic fabric known for its durability and wrinkle-resistant properties. However, when it comes to drying polyester, there are a few potential issues that you should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at these concerns:

Shrinking or distorting shape

Drying polyester at high heat can cause the fabric to shrink or distort its shape. This is especially true for garments that are not labeled as shrink-resistant. It is recommended to dry polyester on a low heat setting or air dry to avoid any unwanted changes in size or shape.

Pilling and damage to fabric

Another issue that can arise from drying polyester is the formation of pills or small balls of fabric on the surface. This can happen when the fabric rubs against itself or other garments in the dryer.

To prevent pilling, it is best to turn the polyester garment inside out before drying or use a garment bag.


While polyester is known for its wrinkle-resistant properties, it can still develop wrinkles if dried improperly. High heat can cause the fabric to lose its shape, resulting in unsightly wrinkles. To minimize wrinkling, remove polyester items from the dryer promptly and hang or fold them immediately.

Fading colors

Excessive heat can also lead to color fading in polyester fabrics. Brightly colored polyester garments may lose their vibrancy and become dull over time if not properly dried. To preserve the color of your polyester items, it is recommended to dry them on a low heat setting or air dry.

Melting synthetics

Polyester is a synthetic fabric, and when exposed to high heat, it can melt or fuse with other materials. This is particularly important to consider if your polyester item has any embellishments or is mixed with other types of fabrics.

Always check the care label and follow the recommended drying instructions to prevent any mishaps.

Buildup of static cling

One common issue with polyester is static cling, which can be exacerbated by the heat of the dryer. To reduce static, you can add a fabric softener sheet or use a wool dryer ball during the drying process. These will help to minimize static and keep your polyester items static-free.

By being aware of these potential issues and taking the necessary precautions, you can safely and effectively dry your polyester items without any major problems. Remember to always check the care label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Tips for Drying Polyester

Sort laundry by fabric type

When it comes to drying polyester, it’s important to separate it from other fabrics. This will prevent any potential damage or color bleeding. Sort your laundry into different piles based on fabric type before putting them in the dryer.

By doing this, you can ensure that your polyester garments receive the proper care they need.

Wash in cool water

Before drying your polyester items, make sure to wash them in cool water. Hot water can cause the fabric to shrink or lose its shape. By using cooler water temperatures, you can help preserve the integrity of your polyester garments, ensuring they remain in great condition for longer.

Use a delicate cycle

When selecting a drying cycle, choose the delicate or low heat option on your dryer. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that can be sensitive to high temperatures. Using a gentle drying cycle will help prevent any potential damage to the fabric and maintain its original shape and texture.

Dry on low or no heat

It’s best to dry polyester on low or no heat settings. High heat can cause the fabric to melt or warp. By opting for a lower heat option, you can reduce the risk of any heat-related damage to your polyester items.

If your dryer has a no-heat or air-dry setting, that’s even better as it provides a gentle drying method.

Remove promptly to avoid wrinkles

As soon as your polyester items are dry, remove them from the dryer promptly. Leaving them inside the dryer can lead to wrinkles, especially if they sit for an extended period. By promptly removing your polyester garments, you can minimize the need for ironing or steaming to remove any unwanted creases.

Use dryer balls or fabric softener sheets

To help reduce static and soften your polyester items, consider using dryer balls or fabric softener sheets. These can help prevent static cling and make your garments feel softer. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use these products sparingly, as too much can leave a residue on the fabric.

Lay flat or hang to air dry

If you prefer not to use a dryer, you can also lay your polyester items flat or hang them to air dry. This method is particularly useful for delicate or lightweight pieces, as it allows them to dry naturally without the risk of heat damage.

Just make sure to reshape your garments as necessary to ensure they maintain their original form.

By following these tips, you can safely and effectively dry your polyester items, helping them retain their quality and longevity.

When to Avoid the Dryer

While polyester is generally a durable fabric that can withstand the rigors of machine drying, there are certain situations when it is best to avoid putting it in the dryer. Here are some instances where you should take extra caution:

Delicate polyester fabrics prone to damage

Some polyester fabrics, especially those with delicate weaves or special finishes, can be prone to damage in the dryer. Fabrics like chiffon, organza, and lace should be air-dried to maintain their shape and prevent any potential shrinking or warping.

It’s always a good idea to check the care label on your polyester garment for specific drying instructions.

Polyester blends with spandex, rayon, etc.

When polyester is blended with other fabrics like spandex, rayon, or elastane, it’s important to be cautious. These blends can have different drying requirements, as the other fibers may be more delicate or prone to stretching.

In such cases, it’s best to air-dry or use a low-heat setting to minimize any potential damage.

Intricate items like sequined dresses

Sequined or heavily embellished polyester garments, such as dresses or tops, should be handled with care when it comes to drying. The heat and agitation of the dryer can cause the sequins or embellishments to become loose or damaged.

It is recommended to lay these items flat or hang them to dry, ensuring the sequins are not in direct contact with any surfaces.

Foam-backed, vinyl-coated, or rubberized fabrics

Fabrics that have foam backing, vinyl coating, or rubberized finishes should generally be avoided in the dryer. The heat can cause these materials to melt, warp, or lose their shape. It is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or air-dry these items to maintain their integrity.

Furnishings like curtains that can warp

When it comes to polyester furnishings like curtains or drapes, it’s important to consider the potential for warping. High heat in the dryer can cause polyester curtains to shrink or lose their shape, resulting in an ill-fitting appearance.

It is recommended to either air-dry them or follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for drying.

Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and follow the specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer. By taking proper care of your polyester items, you can ensure their longevity and keep them looking great for years to come.


While polyester is generally durable enough for the dryer, air drying is the safest option for preventing long-term damage. If you do use the dryer, be sure to wash polyester on a delicate cycle and dry at a low temperature or no heat.

With proper care, you can safely keep polyester looking and feeling great. Armed with these tips, you can decide if the convenience of machine drying is worth the small risk of damaging your favorite polyester pieces over time.

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