Despite using water to wash clothes and linen, washing machines can leave water stains on fabrics, which can be difficult to remove from natural fabrics.
With synthetic fabrics like polyester, though, removing water stains is simpler.
For one thing, you needn’t worry quite so much about causing damage when you remove the water stains from polyester.
Below, I share various means of getting rid of water stains in polyester.
How to get water stains out of polyester
Lay a towel that’s at least as light in color as the stained polyester on an ironing board. Put the stained polyester fabric on the towel with the water stain side face-down. If the polyester is part of clothing, turn it inside-out before treating the stain. Apply water to the stain on the polyester with a wet cloth and rub gently for a minute or two. Iron the dampened polyester until it is dry.
Notes on how to get water stains out of polyester
Important: in the steps given above, pay particular attention to these crucial caveats and additional instructions:
- A lighter towel than the stained polyester is even better.
- Important: set your iron “Synthetic” or “Polyester”.
- If the stain hasn’t gone completely, move the polyester to a dry part of the towel and restart the process from “Apply water to the stain…”
- Keep repeating the loop until all the water stains are gone.
If the water stain is on a polyester couch
Laying your couch against a towel on an ironing board is, of course, a silly thing to say, and I’m not saying it. If your polyester couch is water-stained, the following steps will help you remove the stain.
The tag is on the couch, and what you must do next
Items you will need:
- A vacuum cleaner with a brush attached to it.
- One brush with soft bristles. (Important: harsh bristles will easily damage your polyester!)
- One spray bottle
- Some white vinegar.
- Laundry detergent
Somewhere on your polyester couch, you’ll find tags that describe how it should be cleaned. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t always put the tag in the same place, so you may have to hunt around for it for a while.
Tip: if all else fails, get in touch with the manufacturer and ask for the couch’s cleaning details. You may need to send them pictures as couches don’t often (wink) come with model numbers. If even this fails, I’m afraid it’s a professional cleaning service for you.
However, if you find the tag, check the tag for letters such as S or SW, X or W.
If you find:
- W, for water. You should only use water to clean the couch.
- S, for solvent. Only clean the couch with a solvent (and using water will make things worse).
- SW, for solvent or water. You can use either solvent or water to clean your couch. Both are quite safe to use in cleaning the couch.
- X (presumably, for ‘expert’.) Seeing an ‘X’ means you should not clean your couch yourself, but you need to call in a professional cleaner instead.
Cleaning the polyester couch
First, vacuum. Use the vacuum cleaner to get rid of crumbs and other debris. Use the foxtail to clean your couch if you don’t own a vacuum cleaner or it isn’t working.
Next, spray. Grab your chosen cleaning solution (going by the tag on the couch, this will be water or solvent) and spray the water stains.
Now, if you require a solvent, make use of a homemade one like this:
Begin by mixing one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of laundry detergent, and one quart of warm water in a container. When the solution is thoroughly mixed, pour it into a spray bottle and use it as a solvent to clean your couch.
Blot down. After spraying the cleaning solution (be it water, solvent, or the homemade mixture), use a clean cloth to gently rub the cleaner onto the stained area. Keep gently rubbing until the stains have all disappeared.
If you aren’t satisfied with the results you’re seeing, wait for a couple of hours and repeat the procedure.
Reminder: if you are using a homemade mixture, please shake it thoroughly before applying it to the stained area.
Fluff up the couch. After you’ve carefully followed each of the preceding steps, use a soft-bristle brush to fluff up the polyester on the couch to give it a nice, fluffed-out texture.
How polyester fabrics get stained
Pure water, on its own, doesn’t stain fabric. It is the minerals in impure water that do the damage.
Homes with wells are more prone to having iron, manganese, and hard water issues.
On the other hand, homes using public water supplies usually have to cope with calcium and magnesium problems.
At one time or another, all homes have to grapple with hard water stains caused by rusty hot water heaters.
Fortunately, on synthetics such as polyester, you can normally get away with using the same tried-and-tested methods to get rid of water stains.
It is only in those rare instances of stubborn watermarks that you need to ask yourself what is really staining the fabric.
Use steam to get rid of water stains on polyester
A manual steam machine quickly removes water stains on polyester clothes, upholstery, and other fabrics. Use steam from your steam iron if you don’t own a garment steamer.
To remove water stains from polyester with this method, attack the stains with short bursts of steam.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get Water Stains Out of Polyester
How can I prevent water from staining my clothes?
If you use well water at home, you’ll probably find yourself constantly fighting yellow, brown, or orange stains when you do your laundry. Connect an iron filtration for the entire house to your main water input pipe if this happens. Drain your hot water heater if you don’t have a well, and the water appears rusty. (Attach a hose to its drain bib.) Flush the heater multiple times until the water runs clear.
Will polyester shrink if I wash it in hot water?
Wash away water stains on your polyester fabric by giving the item a good, hot wash. If you wash polyester in really hot water and afterward dry it with high heat, your polyester garment will probably shrink a bit. Since it is a man-made polymer, polyester is resistant–but not completely impervious–to shrinkage.
Afterword: How to get water stains out of polyester
Ironing water spots on polyester fabric is the best (and easiest) way to get rid of them. In more complex cases (such as polyester couches), you might have to do some more work yourself or even call on professional cleaning services.
Anyway, by avoiding errors like cleaning polyester with hard-bristled brushes, there’s no need to worry about ruining fabrics when removing water stains.