Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is commonly found on the market. Often it is mixed with other types of materials as it contributes to wear resistance.
Polyester as a fabric:
Polyester is made of crude oil in long chains (poly), just like different types of plastics are. That is why garments made of 100% polyester resemble plastic when it comes to touch and feel. It can often be sticky and sweaty in warm weather and when the weather is a bit cooler, the fabric can feel chilly. Polyester fabric doesn’t breathe, hence you will need to wash clothes made out of this material more or less every time you have used them. The garments can turn static when there is friction, but this can be remedied quickly and easily by using our functional freshener Softening & Antistatic No. 503.
Polyester releases tiny fibres in the laundry waste water every time it’s put through a wash and these eventually end up in the environment as microplastics. Seeing that polyester is a non-renewable resource, it isn’t the really best material from an environmental perspective, but as garments of polyester and polyester blends are likely to exist in most wardrobe, we feel it is still important to know how to care for the fabric in the best possible way.
How to launder synthetics and mixed materials:
Polyester can also go under the name of fleece, nylon, elastane, spandex, lycra, acrylics or polyamide. In our product descriptions and data sheets, we refer to these variants as synthetics and mixed materials and they often have a few percent of polyester mixed in to make them more durable and hard-wearing. If possible, please wash these fabrics by hand to minimize the release of microplastics into the environment. Washing by hand is almost always more gentle than a washing machine, but regardless of how you choose to wash your polyester clothes, we recommend you use our Detergent – Sensitive No. 203 as this is specially designed for washing programs at lower temperatures and washing by hand.
You probably can’t avoid polyester altogether. Socks and swimwear are more or less impossible to manufacture without synthetic materials. But you can avoid cheap throwaway garments. Don’t be tempted by the cheap blankets in pretty colours that are sold for just a pound or two, skip the fleece jacket and put your money on a beautifully knitted, woolly sweater that will last you a lifetime. Be more aware, read the label carefully before you buy and commit to a more sustainable wardrobe!