How to remove set stains from polyester

how to remove set in stains from polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fiber composed of a mixture of coal, air, water, and petroleum. It does not absorb moisture but does absorb oil. This makes it more resistant to stains, generally, but different liquids and organic materials can still leave behind stains.

Liquids such as ink, paint, and blood can cause noticeable ugly stains on your polyester garments, not to mention oils such as baby oil and automotive lubricants. Organic stains such as the lunch or dinner you took can cause a mean stain if not quickly dealt with.

So how do you remove set stains from polyester? It can simply be done by using basic easy-to-access household commodities such as distilled white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, ammonia, baking soda, and liquid dishwashing soap.

To remove set stains from polyester you can use the following products

  1. Distilled white vinegar
  2. Alcohol
  3. Ammonia  
  4. Baking powder 
  5. Dishwashing liquid soap

Using distilled white vinegar on ink stains

Distilled white vinegar is a culinary must-have for households. It not only makes outstanding meals, but also has numerous cleaning and health applications. Vinegar works well on ink stains left behind on polyester.

To use the vinegar method, you will need:

  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • A tablespoon dishwashing liquid
  • One gallon of water


  1. Mix the distilled white vinegar with a cup of water, then add the tablespoon full of dishwashing liquid and stir it to make a solution.
  2. Soak the polyester garment in the solution.
  3. Let the solution act on the stained area for twenty to thirty minutes.
  4. Rub the fabric together as you normally do when washing.
  5. Rinse the stained region with the remaining water.
  6. Transfer to the washing machine and launder as you normally would.
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Rubbing alcohol method

I bet you didn’t see this coming. However, denatured alcohol and isopropyl alcohol are good degreasing agents, and good with ink stains and sap as well. If you are finding a hard time getting rubbing alcohol, get a sanitizer with 70% alcohol and no glycerin if possible.

When using alcohol you will require:

  1. 1/2 a cup of alcohol
  2. A tablespoon dish soap
  3. One gallon of water
  4. Piece of cotton cloth or a cotton ball


  1. Dampen a cotton ball with the alcohol and apply to the set stain on the polyester outfit, check for discoloration.
  2. If there is none, wet a second piece and rub the stain, take note, not to saturate the fabric with alcohol.
  3. Allow the affected region, now dampened with alcohol, to dry.
  4. Rub the fabric together as you normally do when washing.
  5. Cleanse the spot once again with the dishwashing liquid and scrub until the stain disappears.
  6. Rinse the fabric with warm water and air dry.

Ammonia approach for blood stains

Ammonia is a versatile household product also superb for removing stains that are set in on polyester fabric. It is both affordable and readily available in local stores. Stubborn stains are no match for it, when mixed with other cleaning detergents. It works very well on blood stains.

Ammonia does not work alone, you will also need:

  • One gallon of water 
  • One-tablespoon dish soap
  • ⅔ cup of clear ammonia
  • Six tablespoons of baking soda


  1. Mix the ammonia, dish soap, and baking powder with two cups of water.
  2. Soak the affected region of the garment, or apply it to the affected region directly.
  3. Let the solution settle on the fabric for thirty minutes.
  4. Wash the fabric or garment as usual.
  5. Rinse the stained region well.
  6. Air the garment or fabric it to dry.
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Using baking soda on oily stains

When it comes to greasy stains on polyester, such as food, baby oil, or industrial oil; baking soda is your go-to cleaning agent that stands out from the rest.

To use the baking soda approach, you will require:

  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • One gallon of warm water
  • A tablespoon of dish soap or detergent


  1. Scatter baking powder to the affected area generously. This will allow it to absorb the excess oil.
  2. Let the baking powder settle for forty-five minutes to one hour.
  3. Afterward, brush off the baking powder to clear it off the garment or fabric.
  4. On the affected spot, apply the dishwashing liquid or detergent and leave it for five minutes to allow it to work.
  5. Wash the garment as normal and air dry.

Liquid dish soap on grease stains

As you now already know, polyester is a good absorbent of oil and greasy substances. This is why dishwashing liquid is ideal for cleansing such stains, as it is designed to break up grease and oil.

To use dishwashing you will need:

  • ½ cup of dishwashing liquid
  • One gallon of water


  1. Dampen the affected region with hot water to break down the oils or grease.
  2. Apply the dishwashing liquid generously and rub it with both your fingers and thumbs.
  3. Let the dishwashing liquid act on the stain for five to ten minutes.
  4. Launder the fabric or garment as normal.
  5. Rinse the fabric or garment and allow it to dry.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use bleaching detergents to remove set stains polyester?

Never use bleach to remove set stains on polyester. It is never advisable to use bleach on polyester since it is synthetic. Bleach will cause irreversible damage. Bleach does not react well with the fiber; in addition, it can ruin the fabric. Also always remember bleach never works on stains, bleach is just a whitener.

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Can I use hot water to remove stains faster when washing polyester?

No, warm water is okay, but not hot. It is advisable that you first check the care label on the garment. It gives direction on what the manufacturer recommends on the maximum temperature the garment can be exposed to. So be careful and to be safe go for warm, not hot water when dealing with stains.

Can I use fabric softener when washing polyester garments?

You can use fabric softener when you wash polyester fabric. Polyester fabric is stiff, so you can use a fabric softener to relax the fabric if you prefer.

Wrapping up

Overall, prevention of stains is more suitable than treating them. The best way to remove a set stain from polyester is to pre-treat it quickly before it becomes permanent. This will protect your precious polyester garment from looking undesirable the next time you need it. Since you cannot predict getting stains on your laundry, buy some of the cleaners and have them on hand so that they come in handy when you need them.

how to remove set in stains from polyester

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