Is Polyester Waterproof?

A final answer to the question everyone was waiting for

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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.

But wait, is polyester that waterproof at all? 

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

What Fabric Can Be Called Waterproof

What Fabric Can Be Called Waterproof

If we go to the nearest store and fond 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.

WeatherproofThis 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 Protect From Water?

Does Polyester Protect From Water
Photo by Tammy Gann

So what about polyester?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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