This article will cover exactly what you should know to safely and effectively steam polyester clothing, curtains, table cloths, and more. Let’s start with the most important questions…
Can You Steam Polyester?
Yes. Steaming polyester is the safest way to remove wrinkles. You’re not actually making contact with the garment and the melting point of Polyester is far higher than the temperature of steam. There are a few things you should still keep in mind.
Polyester Steam Setting
Polyester has a pretty high melting temperature of around 250°C and steam is essentially only water vapor at 100°C, so one would assume that steam alone cannot damage polyester.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. It’s still much safer to set your steamer to its lowest heat setting first. You can turn it up to “medium” if you’re really struggling to remove the wrinkles but first test it on inconspicuous parts of the garment.
Is it Better to Iron or Steam Polyester?
It’s much safer to steam polyester since a clothes steamer doesn’t need to make contact with the fabric. An iron’s hot soleplate runs a higher risk of melting the polyester fibers. Of course, you can always steam the clothing vertically with normal iron if you don’t have a steamer. Simply keep the iron a few inches away from the fabric while using the iron’s steam burst function.
If you’d still like to iron the garment to get rid of really stubborn wrinkles, read our article in How to Iron Polyester instead.
How to Steam Polyester
1. Hang the Garment Inside Out
Occasionally, the steamer’s face might make accidental contact with the garment. Hanging the polyester clothing inside out serves as an added layer of protection from accidental burns. This isn’t always possible (as in the case of complex dresses and suits) but can be pretty helpful if the option is available.
2. Use a Plastic or Wood Hanger
Plastic or wooden hangers, especially when they are wider around the shoulders, form a gentle slope over which the polyester garment can hang. This avoids sharp creases being steamed “into” the garment.
There’s also no risk of the hanger rusting, as is the case with metal hangers which can damage the garment.
Thankfully, most standing clothes steamers already include the perfect hanger rack in the standing frame. Here’s our review of the best clothes steamers.
3. Start on Low Heat
As mentioned earlier, you should start on the low heat setting of your clothes steamer. Polyester is pretty resilient but also doesn’t need tons of heat to unwrinkle. You should be completely fine with the “delicate” or “low” setting and can turn the steamer up to medium if you are absolutely struggling.
4. Don’t Make Contact
No matter the temperature setting, do not allow the steamer to make physical contact with the garment. The steam might only be 100°C but the steamer itself might be several times hotter.
If the steamer face (front panel with the holes) is made from metal, you’ll need to be ultra-careful as a slight brush of the garment could lead to melted streaks.
That being said, for the most part, accidentally touching polyester fabric briefly with a clothes steamer on medium heat, shouldn’t cause any damage.
5. Gently Pull the Fabric
By pulling down the fabric with one hand and steaming it with your other, you’re helping the steam smooth out the wrinkles.
This gentle stretching helps the steam penetrate the fibers and releases tension in the weave.
6. Keep Moving
Don’t keep the steamer in one place too long. The over-steaming of one area could lead to melted fibers.
Instead, gently sweep the steamer up and down, along the panels of the clothing at a consistent speed. You should quickly find a comfortable speed that’s both effective and safe for the garment.
Can You Steam 100% Polyester?
Yes. Steaming 100% polyester clothing is completely safe. In fact, steaming is the best and safest way to remove wrinkles from 100% polyester.
Can You Steam Polyester Satin?
Absolutely, satin merely refers to the weave structure that can be made from any material fiber like silk, wool, polyester, etc. with a fine warp and weft weave creating a soft, delicate fabric.
If your satin is made from polyester, it is safe to steam as long as you observe the steaming tips above.
How to Steam Polyester Tablecloths
The first you’ll need is something to hang the table cloth over. If you don’t have a long enough rail available, the table itself could work.
Lay a section of the tablecloth hanging over the side without folding and without touching the ground. Gently pull the section taught while steaming along the slightly tensioned fabric in long vertical sweeps.
Continue all around the table until all wrinkles are removed. You may also have to run a steam iron (or a steamer) over the top of the table if you want to remove all wrinkles perfectly.
Can You Steam a Polyester Dress?
Yes, you can steam a polyester dress. It’s extremely effective at removing wrinkles and is often used for wedding dresses and summer dresses as well as delicate evening gowns.
Can I Steam Polyester Curtains?
Yes. Steaming your polyester curtains and drapes is the safest and most effective way to remove wrinkles without the risk of damaging the fabric.
Can You Steam Clean a Polyester Fiber Couch?
Yes, you can steam clean a polyester couch. You should however use a steam cleaner if you have one available. Preferably one with a vacuum function included which will suck up the loosened dirt as it steams.
How to Get Wrinkles Out of Polyester Without a Steamer
Use an Iron Instead
As mentioned before, you can simply steam the garment vertically with a normal steam iron using the steam burst feature. Avoid contact with the soleplate to be extra safe.
Steam in the Shower
Hanging the polyester garment in the shower over a wide hanger can be reasonably effective. The steam isn’t exactly powerful but could work in a pinch.
Allow the steam from the shower to penetrate the fabric without the shower water raining down on it. Make sure to close the bathroom door to ensure more steam.
Let it Hang Dry
Most washed polyester garments will hang pretty straight without any steaming at all. Simply wash the item thoroughly and let it hang dry on a wide hanger in a well-ventilated area. The weight and the fresh air will combine to remove most of the wrinkles.
Use Curling Iron
Using a hair curling iron is very dangerous and should be avoided. If you have no other option, maybe, but consider the risk involved and leave the wrinkles for another day.