Polyester fabric has become an integral part of our daily lives, adorning everything from clothing to furniture. This artificial fiber is renowned for its durability, versatility, and affordability, making it a popular choice in the textile industry.
Most times we rock this fabric in different ways and still do not know how it is made or what it even looks like. But it’s a good thing you are on this page. In this article, we will explore the many facets of polyester fabric, including its properties, use, and how to maintain it.
What is Polyester Fabric?
Polyester fabric is a synthetic fabric made from polyester fibers manufactured from a category of polymers made from oil. Polyester fiber is the most commonly used manufactured fiber worldwide.
This fabric is one of the strongest fabrics with many qualities that make it suitable for manufacturing clothing, home furnishings, and other items for industrial purposes. In addition, it can be knitted or woven to make silk-like fabrics. This fabric was first manufactured in 1941 by Dupont and the first polyester fiber was called Terylene. Since then, polyester has gained unprecedented popularity in the fashion stakes—thanks to the 2007 Pakistan decline of cotton production and other natural fabrics.
Chart Showing Properties of Polyester Fabric
|Features of Polyester fabric
|Synthetic fabric made from petrochemicals.
|Smooth texture, may feel less natural than some fabrics.
|Moderate drapes can hold their shape well.
|Look and feel
|Can vary from matte to shiny, depending on the finish.
|Not very breathable, can trap heat and moisture.
|Resistant to wrinkles, holds its shape.
|Moisture-wicking properties dry relatively quickly.
|Highly durable, resistant to wear, and tear.
|Melts when exposed to high heat, open flames, or hot irons.
|Low; may get static cling
|Easy care, can be machine-washed and dried.
|Production involves chemicals, but recycling is possible.
When was it Introduced into Fashion?
This fabric was invented in 1941 by British chemists John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dickson. It gained popularity in the 1970s due to its marketing as “a miracle fiber that can be worn for 68 days straight without ironing, and still look presentable.”
However, there has also been controversy surrounding this fabric. Thanks to those loud, shiny, and, shall we say, slightly plastic-looking suits from the 70’s, polyester became known as a cheap and uncomfortable fabric. But it has come a long way since the days of Saturday Night Fever and the Brady Bunch!
Why Choose Polyester?
The reason polyester is such a popular material for clothing is that its fibers are thermoplastic or heat-sensitive. This implies that permanent pleats and decorative forms and patterns can be laser-cut into 100% polyester fabrics. They are also quite stain-resistant and as such, cleaning them will be a breeze.
But there’s a little drawback to this fabric: 100% polyester clothing is more likely to accumulate static electricity. This means that it can cause sparks, crackling or attract dust to you. But thankfully, manufacturers combine polyester with more durable fibers, such as cotton, to get rid of this problem. This is then known as polycotton and it embodies the benefits of both fabrics; strong, durable, wrinkle-resistant, and far more breathable than 100% polyester.
Tips on How to Wash Your Polyester Fabric
It’s very easy to wash and care for your polyester clothing. You can wash it in the washing machine with a cool wash setting at a temperature lower than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and a tumbling speed lower than 600 revolutions per minute.
Here are some tips to guide you:
- Before washing, make sure you read the care instructions that you find on the care tag. This way, you’ll know if the garment is washable or not.
- Though the washing instructions may vary depending on the fabric’s blend, you can clean and rinse polyester fabrics in cold water.
- To save water, and energy, and preserve the quality of your garment from melting, it’s best to use a temperature lower than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Don’t use any chlorine-based or strong detergent and use a gentle cycle in the washer to avoid high spin speeds. Ensure the washing speed doesn’t exceed 600 revolutions per minute.
- Do not dry polyester clothing in a tumble drier. The high heat risks damaging the fabrics and melting polyester fibers. The more sustainable way of drying your clothes is to hang them to dry.
- Place them on a line in fresh air rather than using a dryer. It preserves the quality of your garments and saves an enormous amount of energy, carbon emissions, and money.
- You can also lay the fabric down on a towel for a while, then flip it over. Or you can hang it up on a hanger to help it dry naturally.
Is Polyester Safe to Wear?
Yes, it is. Polyester is chemically stable and is not an allergen for most people. However, its manufacturing process can be harmful to the environment. For one, one of the biggest issues our planet is facing is plastic pollution and polyester is part of the problem. This fabric is noted for not decomposing within 20-200 years, thereby causing land waste.
But on the flip side, even if you aren’t allergic to the fabric, some manufacturers still can’t be trusted. So, when buying new clothing, it’s crucial to consider what you are putting on your skin. Your skin is by far your body’s largest organ. You have to protect it and treat it well to stay healthy. The best you can do is get informed and not buy or wear harmful fabrics. One of such ways is by reading articles like this, to ensure you safeguard your health while dressing better.