Is Polyester Waterproof?

A final answer to the question everyone was waiting for

Written by Camilla Moln. Updated on How to Bleach Polyester

Polyester is one of the fabrics which can be breathable and waterproof at the same time. Depending on the density, and the number of threads, the water-resisting properties of polyester increase. Even 100% polyester fabric can’t be 100% waterproof until it has been treated with water repellents or it is coated with a layer of extra fabric.

So, is polyester waterproof? Yes, polyester is waterproof. But it depends on the number of treads that were used and the polyesters density. More threads equal more waterproof abilities. Water-resistant abilities of polyester increase if the fiber was coated with a special cover, for example, rubber. 

Are you an outdoor person? If yes, then you probably know very well how important it is to have a good waterproof outfit to walk in the rain and not get soaked.

Since the market is loaded with polyester items today, many people believe the manufacturers who claim their garments are waterproof and buy polyester outdoor clothing.

And Can polyester get wet? Yes, polyester can get wet. It depends on the thickness of the fabric and the number of threads that were used. The tent will repel any water that comes, but the leggings we use will be damp in minutes. Also, polyester dries very fast.

But wait, is polyester that waterproof at all? 

That’s what we are going to figure out today!

What Fabric Can Be Called Waterproof?

If we go to the nearest store and find a section with outdoor clothing, we will see how varied it is. Some items labels say those are water-resistant, others state that the apparel is waterproof. We can even find weatherproof clothing!

We basically know the distinctions between each of those types of water-resistant material. The lowest level of protection belongs to repellent fabrics, whereas resistant ones will provide their owners with a better ability to keep them dry underneath the apparel. As for the waterproof outfit, it is an ideal choice for harsh weather conditions.

Are you already confused? We are, too. That is why we suggest everyone to clarify once and for all what are the distinctions between those three types of outdoor outfit we just mentioned.

Type Property
Weatherproof This sort of fabric is coated with s finish that repels water but not completely, so some amount of it will get through the fibers. A weatherproof jacket can bead up rain creating drops on its surface.

Good for light rains or foggy days.
Water-resistant (Nylon, most of the polyester, wool) This fiber resists water penetration to a certain amount but not completely. 
Waterproof (TPU, PUL, ripstop nylon, nylon taffeta, PVC-coated polyester, laminated cotton, oilcloth, vinyl) It means that the fabric lets no water in and no water out. The surface of such an item must be completely resistant to water so that a person would stay dry even in the harshest conditions.

Surprisingly, some people wonder whether a polyester item will shrink when exposed to rain. Let’s see where this belief comes from. 

This material does indeed get smaller but not after any exposure to water. Polyester items tend to shrink when washed in hot laundry or exposed to heat in the drying barrel. As you could guess, polyester shrivels after being exposed to heat, no matter whether in hot water or while drying.  

So for the outdoor outfit, rain is not a problem, but if you need to make your polyester garment smaller for purpose, there are several ways how to shrink polyester. Only make sure it will be done correctly to keep the artificial textile wearable.

Does polyester fade? Polyester usually doesn’t fade, so it will not change its color for quite a long period of time. Also, if the fabric was blended with polyester, it will not lose its color because of polyester properties. SO you can wash and dry it, and it will be the same for years.

What Fabric Can Be Called Waterproof

Does Polyester Protect From Water?

So what about polyester?

Can it be used as a 100% effective water protection for walking in heavy rain?

Does polyester repel water? Yes, polyester can repel water, it depends on the number of threads that are used. If the polyester is thick, like in a tent, it will protect you from water. But if it is as thin as we wear in daily life, it will be wet fast, but it will dry much easier than any other fabric?

Is polyester jacket waterproof? The Polyester jacket is waterproof for quite a short time, around 15 minutes in heavy rain, or 30 minutes – 1 hour on breezy rain or snow. You could use it underwater unless it were covered with an extra protective layer, like rubber.

First, we need to note that polyester itself is waterproof indeed, but that refers to the fibers only. It means that if we take a solid material and expose it to water, it will stay dry. But! Since the fabric is woven, there are air gaps between the threads.  And even though the threads don’t get soaked, the gaps will let water underneath the clothing making its owner slightly soaked.

What Fabric Can Be Called Waterproof

But don’t be deceived with those air gaps. It may seem that due to them, polyester is highly ventilated, but in fact, is polyester that breathable? Even though it has certain breathability, it is too weak for making you feel comfy in hot weather or during intense training.

And is polyester strong? Yes, polyester is a strong fabric and is very stretchy. It can handle around 7 kilograms, depending on the number of threads. Since the polyester is plastic, it can handle much more weight depending on the fabric and its maintaining properties

Does Polyester Protect From Water

That is why most of the outdoor garments made of this material can be good only for the light showers, but not for heavy continuous rain.

However, if polyester is coated with special finishes, it can gain that waterproof power everyone desires. Of course, such apparel will cost more since the process of coating is extremely time and money-consuming.

So, does polyester absorb water? It is a hydrophobic material. But it depends on the fabric thickness and on the number of threads that were used. If polyester is thin, it will absorb water and become damp. If it is thick like a tent, it will not absorb any water at all.

That is why manufacturers found a way to make polyester more water-resistant by simply increasing the number of threads and thus making the gaps between them smaller.

Another option is to apply an extra protective layer on top of the fabric. But none of these approaches will make the garment completely waterproof, rather water-resistant.

And Is polyester UV Resistant? Polyester thread can protect you from UV radiance. It is often used for special UV protection cloths. It Protects you from UVA and UVB rays exposure, but if you are outside for longer than 20 minutes, you should always use the extra cover of UV protection On You.

Is Polyester Waterproof

What is polyester flammability rating? Polyester is not highly flammable. But since it is plastic by its nature, it melts and can cause severe harm and burns. So polyester is the wrong choice for a heat or flame protective cloth.

We hope now you’re more aware of the difference between various water-resistance levels of fabrics and you will choose your next raincoat wisely!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is polyester comfortable to wear?

Yes, this material is quite breathable and light so you’ll feel comfortable in it.

⭐ Can polyester absorb water?

Partly, it can (especially in heavy rain) since the fabric is not waterproof itself.

⭐ Is Polyester a cheap fabric?

It depends on what kind of polyester it’s about. A coated waterproof one will be expensive since making it like that costs a lot of money. But usually, this material is affordable.

⭐ Is 100% polyester breathable?

Yes, this fabric is known for its ability to ventilate well.

⭐ Is Polyester a bad material?

As for the environment, it’s hard to recycle so yes, it can be called bad. But it can also be bad for sensitive skin since harsh chemicals are used for producing it.

⭐ What waterproof material is best?

TPU, PVC-coated polyester, oilcloth, vinyl, and laminated cotton are the best.

⭐ What material is good for rain?

For showering rain, polyester will be fine, but for heavy pouring rain, you’d better choose something more durable.

⭐ Which is more waterproof nylon or polyester?

Polyester repels water better than nylon.

Written by
Camilla is an experienced Consultant with more than 20 years of preparing professional articles for numerous online resources. She has done a tremendous job and has learned a lot during her career. Camilla will advise you on the latest trends and give amazing tips on how to decorate a house.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
Help Me Choose... Waterproof Fabrics & BreathabilityHelp Me Choose... Waterproof Fabrics & Breathability