What Does Polyester Feel Like?

We will help to decide whether it’s worth wearing

Written by Camilla Moln. Updated on What Does Polyester Feel Like

Polyester is now included in almost any apparel both fully synthetic or part natural. This material gives fibers strength and durability, and that is what it is praised for.

However, due to the artificial origin, many owners notice that polyester garments may feel not quite natural and pleasant to their skin. This can be quite a big stumbling point for those who are in doubt whether to buy polyester apparel at all.

So, what does polyester feel like? Pure polyester feels like plastic on the bare skin it is also not breathable fabric, when you wear pure polyester, you will feel hot in the summer and cold in the winter. If the polyester is blended with cotton or linen, it will give a pleasant feeling to the bare skin.

Keep on reading to discover the answer.

How This Material Is Produced

As everyone probably knows, polyester fabric  is a sort of artificial textile made by people with the use of various chemicals to create and wove the treads. The procedure involves air, petroleum, and water that results in thin threads so it may seem to be some sort of magic.

Its fibers are comprised of a purified terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, and later they are woven into flat material. Due to polyester synthetic origin, polyester possesses several specific characteristics, for instance, thermoplasticity and strength. Moreover, this resilient fabric can be dry-cleaned and has excellent pleat retention.

But quite a few people know (if they are aware of it at all) that in fact, polyester is a sort of plastic! That is why it is often noticed that polyester has a somewhat unnatural look.

Because of the way it is manufactured, polyester can be easily melted and shapeshifted which, by the way, makes it a very good base for making laser prints. 

Pros And Cons Of Artificial Textile

Even natural fibers have certain disadvantages and artificial textiles are not the exception.

Polyester, despite its super useful benefits, also possesses several features that people don’t usually like much about this fabric. But before we proceed to list its cons, let’s first remember what makes this material so popular.

How This Material Is Produced
Photo by Volha Flaxeco
  • strength
  • resistance to different deformations
  • reasonable stretchiness (more than cotton)
  • durability  
  • ability to dry fast
  • simple maintenance

Thanks to these qualities, this artificial textile has become one of the favorite materials for sewing sportswear and swimwear, for instance. 

However, disadvantages often make people go for another fabric.

What Are Synthetic Fibers? Why You Should Avoid Them.What Are Synthetic Fibers? Why You Should Avoid Them.
  • polyester has a high predisposition to flammability which makes it life-threatening to stand by the fire in a garment made of this material.
  • it almost doesn’t absorb liquids, that is why you will always feel sweaty and clammy. Not quite a pleasant feeling, especially after the intensive training on a hot day.
  • the material is produced with the use of chemicals that make it irritative on the sensitive skin
  • polyester items produce static electricity. Ladies will understand how annoying it is to put on or take off polyester apparel so that it would not make you styled hair looks like a mess!

What Does Polyester Feel Like?

So finally, how this material is felt on the skin? Since it is artificial and it is actually plastic, the feeling that polyester gives is described as unnatural and plastic-like.

Even if it is blended with natural fibers, that synthetic feeling won’t go away. For this reason, people often prefer to purchase cotton, silk, or linen bedsheets instead of those made of a man-made material since natural fibers are way more pleasant to the touch.

What Does Polyester Feel Like
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Besides, due to its origin and plastic nature, polyester has the same health issues as any plastic does. 

Moreover, certain specifics of it might make you look for another fabric.

  • polyester traps heat which means that you’ll be sweating when wearing it or sleeping on it
  • this material breathes badly 
  • it doesn’t wick moisture properly which will result in sweat staying on your skin creating perfect surroundings for bacteria and fungi infections to develop
  • the material itself feels coarse, scratchy, rough, and even slippery. Something that not every person would enjoy.

So, before buying anything made of this artificial textile, consider what you will be using it for. For the bedsheets, for instance, polyester is a bad choice, especially if you’re living in a hot climate. As for the clothing, the only exception that could be made is sportswear, but even then consider that your t-shirt or leggings won’t be breathing properly.

What Do Different Types Of Polyester Feel?

Whenever we are going to buy new clothing, one of the most crucial issues we are always concerned about is how the fabric will feel to the skin. Let’s agree, wearing something that feels scratchy, itching, or that tickles will hardly make us feel comfortable!

When it comes to synthetics like polyester, most of us may think that these materials all have the same smooth and slippery feeling no matter of their type. However, it is not quite so.

Hanging upon how well the fibers are woven, as well as the overall quality of the material, the feeling we get when wearing the fabric may vary quite significantly. So if you are still in doubt regarding how a polyester garment will feel on your skin, check out the most common types of this material and compare them yourself.

What Does 100% Polyester Feel Like?

100% polyester has a silk-like feeling when you wear it. And you will feel warm in the cold weather and cold in the warm, because of its plastic origin. If you are not sensitive to this plastic-like fabric, it will only give you softness and flexibility.

Pure polyester is known for its recognizable slippery and almost silk-like feeling. However, it does lack that delicacy and rich and pleasant feeling that natural silk has. Since this material is actually made of plastic, people with very sensitive skin often note (or shall we say complain?) that polyester does feel like plastic as well as being slightly harsh.
Nevertheless, if you are not that super sensitive, this fabric will only give you the feeling of moderate softness and flexibility. Also, take into consideration that, the cheaper the material the worse it will feel on your skin. Of course, a qualitative polyester will feel almost the same nice as any other well-made fabric.

What Does 100 Polyester Feel Like

What Does Polyester Microfiber Feel?

Polyester microfiber is often used for bedsheets. Microfiber is flexible and reusable material it is soft and will last long for you. Polyester microfiber is a soft and gentle fabric, warm when it is cold outside and cold on hot days.

First of all, let’s recall what that polyester microfiber is. To say it short, microfiber is a very fine sort of polyester material that is composed of the finest fibers. Thanks to this specifical nuance, this type of polyester fabric is known for being very thin but at the same time very durable, soft, quite nice to the touch, and smooth.

The overall impression that this material gives can be described as exceptionally comfortable and pleasant even despite the fact that the fibers used for this material are artificially made.

Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why polyester microfiber is often used for bed sheets.

What Does Polyester Microfiber Feel

What Does Polyester Spandex Feel?

Polyester and spandex blend is comfortable to wear. Polyester and spandex feel very soft and stretchy. It dries very quickly, and it is widely used for making sports underwear because of its warm properties. So being comfy to wear is one of its major characteristics.

If we put on apparel made of polyester and spandex blend, we will most likely describe it as quite comfortable, soft, and stretchy material that gives enough freedom for our moves and retains its shape after each wear.

Though people with sensitive skin often highlight that this material still does have a certain amount of artificial plastic-like feeling, in most cases, polyester and spandex blend is comfortable to wear.This fabric is widely applied for making sportswear and yoga clothing, as well as workout garments, compression tops, and various uniforms including swimwear. So being comfy to wear is one of its major characteristics.

What Does Polyester Spandex Feel

What Does Rayon Polyester Fabric Feel Like?

Rayon polyester feels much softer than pure polyester because of blended fibers. You can also feel more comfortable in it because it is softer and similar to cotton and linen. Rayon feels like wool, silk, or linen. But polyester steel has an artificial origin, so you have to keep that in mind when you wear it.

If we try to describe each of these fabrics separately, we will see that they are somewhat distinct. Pure polyester, since it is made of plastic materials, often tends to feel harsh and stiff to the skin. In comparison to it, rayon is made to be way softer, often approaching natural fabrics such as cotton and silk.
What about their blended version, you may ask?

Well, of course, everything hangs strongly upon how much polyester the apparel has.

But thanks to rayon fibers, such a mixed material will have a rather nice and pleasant feeling when being worn.

Polyester, in its turn, will add some of its durability to the apparel but you will hardly experience any unpleasant feelings like stiffness or harshness.

Nevertheless, we would not recommend you expecting any extreme coziness since the material (even being blended with rather soft fibers) still contains a significant part of artificial materials.

RELATED: What is Rayon and How to Use it Right?

What Does Rayon Polyester Fabric Feel Like

What Does Heavy Knit Polyester Fabric Feel Like?

Naturally, knit polyester feels like soft and pretty pleasant material. It is warmer and softer than ordinary polyester fabric. Also, it is good for sports and any physical activities. It is easy to wash, stretch, and it is a durable material that you can use for quite a long time.

Heavy-knitted polyester is mostly used for making sweaters, jumpers, and other warm and cozy garments for winter and cold seasons in general.

Naturally, the feeling it gives is that feeling of soft and pretty pleasant material.

But of course, if we compare heavy-knit polyester garments to the same ones made of natural material (for instance, wool), the distinction will be striking since the natural fabrics will always have a way of feeling comfier on our skin.

What Does Heavy Knit Polyester Fabric Feel Like

What Does Cotton Polyester Feel Like?

Cotton polyester is also known as poly-cotton will feel smooth and gentle if you have 60% of cotton and 40% of polyester. And with more than 40% polyester in a blend, it will feel slippery and hot in it. It feels lightweight, and it dries pretty well if you do sports in it.

Cotton polyester that is also known as polycotton may feel differently on our skin hanging upon how many artificial fibers it contains. Of course, the more polyester is used in the apparel the more “plastic” the garment will feel.

Artificial fabric makes the garment lightweight but it also gives the item that slippery unnatural feeling that not all people enjoy.

Also, if your polycotton garment does contain quite a lot of artificial compounds, you may notice after a while that polyester comes up to the surface of the material which becomes shabby and thus uncomfortable to wear.

What Does Cotton Polyester Feel Like

What Does Polyester Jersey Feel Like?

Polyester jersey gives you a smooth and warm feel. It is prone to static, and is lightweight, and has a silky feeling on bare skin, it is warm on cold days and gives cool on hot. A polyester jersey is stretchy, easy to wash, and you can wear it for more than three years in a row.

In general, polyester jerseys give us a smooth and warm feel, however, the material will anyway have those recognizable synthetic “notes”.

However, since being a cheap alternative to more qualitative fabrics, it is prone to static which does not contribute much to its comfiness.

However, since this fabric is meant for being used in close-fitting apparel, we can’t say the feeling it gives is that bad and irritating.

RELATED: How to Wash a Jersey?

What Does Polyester Jersey Feel Like

What Does Polyester Chiffon Feel Like?

If you are looking for a very lightweight and yet soft material, chiffon is definitely your choice.

And even if it is made of polyester fibers, don’t get worried since this artificial component will not influence that well-known softness that chiffon has.

The magic of chiffon is easily explained: this fabric is produced so that its fibers are woven to mimic the softness of silk no matter what the material is made of.

Whether it is an artificial or natural material, the chiffon item will anyway feel extremely soft and comfortable on your skin.

So, What Does Polyester Chiffon Feel Like? Chiffon is lightweight and very soft material. If you have a polyester-chiffon blend, your fabric will be very gentle, smooth, and durable because of the polyester properties. Chiffon is woven to mimic the softness of silk. So artificial polyester thread does not cause any harm to its abilities.

What Does Polyester Chiffon Feel Like

What Does Polyester Poplin Feel Like?

Polyester poplin is the type of fabric that is woven in a plain weave and it is strong, with crosswise ribs. Its surface is usually corded, and the material itself feels soft and drapes very well.

Since the fabric is wrinkle-resistant, and it also drapes very well, polyester poplin has been actively used for various types of clothing from tops and skirts/dresses to tablecloths.

So what does Polyester Poplin Feel Like? Polyester poplin feels like a smooth and airy fabric. But poplin is also very strong and often has crosswise ribs. Polyester-poplin blend has a soft but firm feeling to the bare skin because of it, is often used for tops and skirts.

What Does Polyester Poplin Feel Like

What Does Polyester Clothing Feel Like?

Polyester is an artificial man-made material that is produced from plastics. This is the major reason why people believe this fabric will always feel unnatural and harsh on the skin. This is also the most frequent cause why we tend to avoid purchasing polyester items feeling more confident about natural fibers like cotton or wool.
However, depending on whether we are talking about pure polyester or its blends, the feeling the fabric gives will vary significantly. Also, we need to take into consideration that the fibers that are blended into polyester material also matter since some of them may make the basic material softer or, on the contrary, harsher.
Apparently, clothes made of this artificial type of fiber will also give us distinct feelings depending on what exactly they are made of except for polyester.

What Does Polyester Sweater Feel Like?

Well, everything will hang upon the quality of the fibers. If the material is made into a fine and thin fabric, the general feeling it gives will be rather pleasant.

Such a sweater will most likely feel malleable and soft, however, do not expect it to be the softness of cotton or silk! We would rather compare it to the softness of a plastic bag (remember, polyester is still an artificial material no matter what we add to it to improve its characteristics).

On the other hand, if a polyester sweater is made with the addition of natural fibers, the feeling it gives to the skin may be somewhat improved.

So, what does a polyester sweater feels like? If the sweater is made from pure polyester, it will feel like a plastic bag because polyester is plastic by nature. But if the polyester sweater is made from blended polyester with cotton or wool, it feels softer and smoother to the bare skin.

What Does Polyester Sweater Feel Like

What Does Cotton And Polyester Shirt Feel Like? 

If we compare a shirt made of cotton with one made of polyester, the distinction will be obvious.

The one made of natural fabric will have that soft and pleasant feeling which its counterpart will definitely lack.

See, polyester always has that hint of stiffness and plastic-like feeling that no additional fibers can help to get rid of. This is why a polyester shirt will give you a slippery and unnatural feeling, unlike a cotton alternative.

So, What Does Cotton And Polyester Shirt Feel Like? This polyester-cotton blend combines the softness and lightweight of natural cotton and durability and easy laundry abilities of polyester. It is very soft and gentle to the bare skin, so it is really comfortable to wear. Easy and pleasant to wear fabric for any skin type.

What Does Cotton And Polyester Shirt Feel Like

What Do Polyester Trousers Feel Like?

A pair of trousers made of this material can hardly be called a comfy garment. Since polyester consists of plastics, it does not allow our skin to breathe properly and the material can be called hydrophobic.

In addition, it is prone to static.

For this reason, when wearing trousers made of it, we will constantly have that feeling of something not quite breathable yet lightweight and somewhat stiff on our skin.

What Do Polyester Trousers Feel Like

What Does Polyester Leggins Feel Like?

As for leggings, polyester is probably the best material that could be used for this type of garment. It sits close to the skin, retains its shape, and it is also very lightweight.

All these characteristics make this outfit feel quite comfy for physical training, however, you will anyway not be able to get completely rid of the artificial feeling on your skin.

Besides, polyester leggings may feel somewhat sweaty due to their poor ability to breathe.

What Does Polyester Leggins Feel Like

What Do Polyester Home Textiles Feel Like?

Of course, it is always better to make use of natural fabrics for various home textiles like covers, duvets, or blankets. They are the items that we use daily, besides, these textiles are always in very close contact with us and our skin which means that natural and safe materials will be better to utilize rather than unnatural ones.
However, the reality is that natural fabrics are often quite pricey; this is why artificial materials like polyester become a cheaper and more affordable alternative for those who can’t afford all cotton and linen for themselves.

What Does a Polyester Comforter Feel Like?

Such a comforter is not the best option for a good and comfy sleep. Polyester tends to trap moisture heat and hold them close to the skin, besides, the fabric does not breathe well enough which means it can make you quite sweaty, especially if you live in a hot climate.
In addition, those with sensitive skin may find it even irritating – all because of that stiff plastic feeling the material has.

What Does a Polyester Comforter Feel Like

What Does a Polyester Blanket Feel Like?

On the one hand, polyester blankets are made to be as soft as possible. On the other, even despite all the possible smoothness and softness, the fabric is still not that absorbent which means it might be rather hot and sweaty under such a cover.

So, perhaps, for the area with very cold nights, such a blanket might be helpful and even comfy, but in all the other cases, a blanket made of natural material will be better.

What Does a Polyester Blanket Feel Like

What Does a Polyester Tablecloth Feel Like?

A tablecloth is not something that we usually pay much attention to. People normally don’t care much how it feels since it’s used for covering the table. But if it does matter for you, then note that a polyester tablecloth will have quite a significant artificial feeling being a bit plastic to the touch.

What Does a Polyester Tablecloth Feel Like

What Does a Polyester Showers Curtain Feel Like?

Polyester is frequently used for making umbrellas and also shower curtains. This is perhaps the only item for which that plastic feeling of this material is so suitable! And even though such a curtain will feel artificial and slippery, these characteristics are exactly what we need for an item meant to protect the bathroom from water.

What Does a Polyester Showers Curtain Feel Like

What is Polyester Fabric?

Polyester (or, as it is usually referred to “officially”, polyethylene terephthalate) was first invented in 1941 by chemists from Great Britain, and later, this material was brought to the United States by Du Pont since it was very cheap and thus affordable unlike many natural fabrics.

The most prominent years of polyester lasted during the 1970s decade when this artificial fabric gained huge popularity and fame because of its low price, easy maintenance, and the ability to be used not only for suiting, but also for other clothing.

What is Polyester Fabric
Credits: dominiquelandau, via Canva.com

What Is Brushed Polyester?

Brushed polyester is a type of fabric that is made of polyester and spandex mix. During the manufacturing process, it undergoes the brushing procedure which makes its surface look like suede. The fabric is very soft to the touch and it is known for being able to drape perfectly.
In addition, this material is easy to maintain, it can be laundered successfully time after time, and it’s widely used for fashionable garments due to its rich color palette.

What Is Brushed Polyester

What Is Polyester Twill?

Twill is a 100% woven polyester material that is fifty to sixty inches wide.

It is known for having that significant diagonal weave which makes the material very strong, and besides, it possesses a small selvage on its edges.

It means that it can be used without hemming. The twill fabric is rather versatile being able to be used for making uniforms, aprons, garments, and even table covers.

 What Is Polyester Twill

Is Polyester Soft Or Rough?

Those who don’t see much difference between distinct synthetic fabrics (which is sometimes quite complicated!), often wonder how polyester feels to the touch. Since this material often looks a bit plastic-like, people tend to believe that it is the same harsh and rough. However, even though polyester can be considered plastic due to its origin, it doesn’t feel completely the same of course! Otherwise, we would not be able to wear it.

Nevertheless, polyester can’t be called a soft material either! If we compare it to cotton, wool, silk, or even linen, we will easily notice that this man-made fabric is quite hard and rough on skin with a very little of softness. Even the varieties that are made to be softer still have that artificial roughness. This is often an issue for those with sensitive skin, by the way.

Is Polyester Soft Or Rough
Credits: Mehaniq, via Canva.com

Is Polyester Clingy?

This is one of the most frequent questions asked about this material, however, there is no single answer to it. See, polyester can be both clingy and not! Since it is a man-made fabric, its manufacturers can make it according to their preferences and needs. So yes, there are certain types of polyester that tend to produce static electricity while you are wearing it.

On the other hand, there are also types of this material that do not cling to your body even when you walk or run, for instance, double-brushed polyester. Such fabrics do not build up static electricity charge making the material drape and flow exactly as it should be.

Is Polyester Clingy
Credits: ILtonRogerio, via Canva.com

What Does Polyester Feel Like On Furniture?

Polyester is a very versatile material, and one of the areas where it is successfully used is upholstery-making. Indeed, thanks to its durability, fade-resistance, and toughness, this artificial fabric can be a good choice if you are looking for a new “cover” for your favorite armchair or a sofa!

As for the way this material will feel like on furniture, it may seem to be a bit tough at first, however, with time and active use, it will gain more softness. But even then do not expect it to become as soft as an upholstery made of natural textile!

What Does Polyester Feel Like On Furniture
Credits: franky242, via Canva.com

Is Recycled Polyester Safe?

Since polyester is artificial stuff, its safety is always questioned. And even its recycled alternative is not that super sustainable.

  • the fabric still sheds microplastic particles that are harmful to people and the environment
  • this material is not guaranteed to be recyclable since companies usually lack the necessary equipment to make the whole recycling process properly
  • recycled fibers can still contain components that tend to cause various health issues like cancer
Is Recycled Polyester Safe

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Does polyester shrink in the dryer?

If you dry it at the high heat regime, it will shrink but not badly.

⭐ Is polyester A good fabric?

It is rather useful due to durability and simple care, but the fact that it can irritate skin and often feels unpleasant to the touch can’t make it 100% qualitative.

⭐ What is the texture of polyester?

When it is spun, polyester fiber is usually flat (or straight) which makes it feel somewhat like silk.

⭐ Is polyester clingy?

Yes, the fabric tends to cling pretty much.

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.
Natural Vs Synthetic Fibers (Which to choose and why)Natural Vs Synthetic Fibers (Which to choose and why)