Fabrics Database - Polyester

Summaries for Polyester

Key: Centre (0) Bad        Outer (6) Good

Characteristics / options defined by the above graphs are proportionally represented and approximate, and are only intended as a guide. As such they do not represent any industry standards. Among other things, fabric construction and weight will influence the perceived ranking.

Data Sheet for Polyester


An oil based synthetic fibre. An oil based synthetic fibre, Polyester is the most used of all the man made fibres. Polyester is the best wash-and-wear fibre. In addition, when polyester is blended with other dryclean only fibres, like wool, acetate, or rayon, the durability of the blended fabric improves and, in some cases, the fabrics can even be made washable, if the percentage of polyester is high enough. A fibre that is capable of re-processing, fibres manufactured from recycled polyester are now available on the market. Polyester fabrics tend to be resistant to creasing and are resistant to UV radiation. Specialist polyester fibres can be supplied where the use of multilobed cross sections or fire retardant properties are required for specific end uses. Recycled polyester is now available and will possess the same properties as conventional polyester

Available as:

Wide range of fabrics available. Polyester fibre is available as continuous filament and staple fibre. As a staple product it is often blended with other fibres to provide yarns with properties designed fro specific end uses. As a continuous filament yarn the fibre is woven, producing fabrics often used in suit linings. Fabrics produced from blended yarns will come in a range of blend compositions and fabric weights. The end use will often determine both the composition and fabric weight.


Wide range of colours available. Polyester fibres do not usually require bleaching and are often treated with an optical brightener that improves whiteness. Dyeing polyester fibres is usually carried out with disperse dyes. Good colour fastness to washing and light.

Dimensional Stability

Shrink resistant. Polyester fabrics are resistant to shrinking but can have natural stretch.

Resistance to pilling

Resistant to pilling. Fabrics produce from polyester have good abrasion resistance and are resistant to pilling.

Moisture regain

Very low. Low moisture absorption, typically 2-4% at 65% RH

Care information

Machine wash or dry-clean. Most items made from polyester are suitable for either machine washing or dry-cleaning. A warm water cycle can be used with the addition of a fabric conditioner during the rinse cycle to minimise potential static build-up. Tumble drying at a low temperature and removal as soon as the garments are dry should overcome a need for ironing. If it is necessary to iron polyester garments then a moderately warm iron should be used.


Widespread use is apparel. Polyester clothing has a good stability and strength and is resistant to stretching and shrinkage. It is not damaged by sunlight or weather. It is widely used as dresses, blouses, jackets, separates, leisurewear, suits, shirts, rainwear.

End of life Possibilities

Non biodegradable by suitable for all others. In general polyester is not bio-degradable and is therefore unsuitable for composting. Disposal to landfill is regarded as an option, however as a melt spun fibre it is possible to remanufacture the polyester into more fibre or film for other applications. Fibres produced from re-processed polyester are available.

Eco aspects

Key environmental impacts of producing polyester include:

The consumption of non-renewable resources (petrochemicals) in fibre production.

Relatively large energy consumption in production, which has far-reaching environmental implications, the most serious of which includes global warming.

Emissions to air and water that have a medium to high potential of causing environmental damage if discharged untreated including: heavy metal cobalt; manganese salts; sodium bromide and titanium dioxide.

The cost of disposal – synthetic fabrics like polyester are extremely slow to biodegrade and add to the environmental impact of landfill sites in the very long term.

Cost scope (economic impact)

Common trade names

Trevira, Diolen, Dacron, Coolmax Patagonia (recycled polyester)



Carrington Career & Workwear Ltd,
Market Street
Adlington Nr Chorley Lancashire
Tel: +44 (0) 1257 476 850
Fax: +44 (0) 1257 476 863


Oakdene Hollins Limited, 2024 for the CRR Uniform Reuse Project www.uniformreuse.co.uk


The rationale behind the study has been to provide a means whereby current and potential fibres/fabrics for use in the corporate clothing sector, can be compared. Any such comparison will be dependent on a multitude of factors that will influence the choice. Although application is the foremost factor that will be influencing the material selection, service life and cost will also play an important role.

The information contained within the following data sheets is an attempt to draw together some of the salient points that may be of interest at the specification and design stage without trying to be exhaustive.

De Montfort University produces these data on the fibres/fabric groups and blends on a non exhaustive basis. De Montfort University therefore makes no representation, express or implied that any of the fibres/fabric groups or blends will be unaffected by other treatments or processes. Users of these data must address the possibility of any health and safety issues that may arise personally.