Is Polyester Waterproof?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 3rd, 2022

Polyester is one of the few textiles that can be both breathable and waterproof. Polyester’s water-resistance increases as the density and number of threads increase. Even 100% polyester fabric cannot be 100% waterproof unless it is treated with water repellents or covered with a layer of additional fabric.

Is polyester waterproof?

Polyester is, indeed, waterproof. However, it depends on the number of threads utilized and the density of the polyester. More threads equal more waterproofing ability. Polyester’s water resistance improves when it is covered with a specific coating, such as rubber.


Are you a fan of the great outdoors? If you answered yes, you probably understand how crucial it is to have the decent waterproof gear to stroll in the rain without getting drenched.

Because the market is flooded with polyester products, many individuals trust manufacturers that say their garments are waterproof and purchase polyester outdoor apparel.

And Is polyester water resistant?

Polyester can become wet. It is determined by the thickness of the cloth and the number of threads utilized. The tent will keep any rain out, but the leggings we’re wearing will get wet in minutes. Polyester also dries quickly.

But wait, is polyester truly waterproof?

Polyester is so resistant to water that it is frequently referred to as “daily waterproof.” Windbreakers, raincoats, and winter jackets are all made from this material. Polyester jackets are available from retailers such as Lands End and North Face.

Polyester is made to be strong and long-lasting. It is not biodegradable, which some consider being its most serious fault. The good news is that polyester fabric is windproof, stain-resistant, and mildew resistant. It is also tear-resistant due to its strong plastic threads.

The moisture-resistant surface of polyester allows you to easily wipe any mud or stains off its surface without causing any damage to the fabric.

Yes, indeed! Polyester is a suitable raincoat material in general. A word of caution: it does not work as well with high heat. Polyester cloth melts at high temperatures and can cause catastrophic injury.

Waterproof Fabric vs. Water-Resistant Fabric

What exactly is Waterproof Fabric?

Cloth must be able to keep water on its surface without any moisture leaking through to be considered genuinely waterproof. Most materials are not completely waterproof in their natural form. They are frequently coated with a specific coating or sealant to make them completely waterproof.

The disadvantage of these coatings is that they frequently render the cloth less breathable. Later in this post, we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of various therapies.

The waterproofness of a fabric product (such as a jacket or backpack) is determined by the fabric used, but it is also determined by the quality of any seams or closures in the garment. For example, if your winter coat has a front zipper and the wind blows rain through it, your garment is not completely waterproof.

What exactly is Water-Resistant Fabric?

Water-resistant may seem less spectacular than waterproof, yet it can achieve the same results in most practical situations.

Water is repelled from the surface of water-resistant fabric. However, the moisture will finally seep through if enough pressure or weight is applied to the cloth.

Lab experiments are frequently conducted to establish how many millimeters of water may lay on water-resistant fabric without soaking through.

The problem is that the water-resistant fabric will usually keep you, your tent, or your outdoor patio cushions dry. How many times have you stuffed your iPhone into the pocket of your rain jacket as you hurried through a drenched parking lot to your car? Nine times out of ten, your jacket’s water-resistant fabric will have kept you and your phone dry.

Now, if you’ve just escaped a hurricane and need to swim across a flooded parking lot, your rain jacket won’t keep you dry for long. Moisture will begin to leak when enough millimeters of water weigh down on the water-resistant fabric. That is the distinction between waterproof and water-resistant materials.

What exactly is polyester?

Polyester, also known as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), is a synthetic fiber composed of two components: refined mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) and terephthalic acid (PTA). These components result from a chemical process involving water, air, and petroleum.

Most individuals are unsure if polyester is a natural or artificial material. Although polyester occurs naturally, synthetic polyester is the material most often used in the garment and textile industries.

Polyester Varieties

Polyurethane Laminate (PUL)

Polyurethane Laminate fabric comprises a laminated layer fused over a thin-knit polyester fabric. PUL can be considered stretchy to some extent, is fairly breathable, and machine washable.

PUL materials are most typically utilized in the production of shower curtains and sports equipment.

Polyurethane Thermoplastic (TPU)

Thermoplastic Polyurethane is made by attaching polyester fabric to a polyurethane membrane. While it is comparable to PUL, it has a softer feel and is often considered less durable.

TPU is used to manufacture survival jackets, drysuits, and other safety clothing. UV protection is included in all TPU clothing.

Polyester with PVC coating

PVC-coated polyester has the strongest water resistance and completely waterproofs the three coated polyesters discussed here. Polyvinyl chloride is coated on the back of the polyester fabric in this material, making the end product stiff yet completely waterproof.

This polyester has the leading denier and is also quite durable, as predicted. Luggage bags, banners, and upholstery are all made from PVC-coated polyester.

What Is the Purpose of Polyester in Outdoor Clothing?

It is a great outdoor material due to its high durability and water resistance.

It also insulates well, even though it does not require a thick layer to keep the warmth in. Furthermore, it is resistant to abrasions, scuffs, and knocks.

Many tent and coat makers may add ingredients to a polyester blend to make it more water-resistant.

In the case of tents, a sealant/water-proofing compound is frequently put to the outer to prevent water from penetrating.

This is especially beneficial for tents because they are rarely washed, allowing the sealant covering to last longer.

Furthermore, the water drops off and dries so rapidly that it appears the cloth is waterproof.

Polyester is a reasonably tear-resistant fabric that is also UV and mildew-resistant.

This means it can withstand harsher outside conditions, and you’re less likely to return to a moldy garment/item if you take it off and put it elsewhere while it’s still damp.

What Types of Fabric Are Waterproof?

We can notice how diverse outdoor apparel is if we visit the local store and look at the outdoor clothes area. Some clothing labels declare water-resistant, while others state that it is waterproof. Even waterproof apparel is available!

We understand the differences between each of these types of water-resistant material. Repellent textiles give the least protection, whereas resistant fabrics give their owners a higher capacity to keep them dry beneath the garments. The waterproof clothing is an excellent choice for inclement weather.

Are you already perplexed? We are as well. That is why we recommend that everyone define once and for all the distinctions between the three types of outdoor clothing we just outlined.

Type of fabricFabricProperties When to use
Weatherproof fabrics It forms water beads on its surface, repelling some water.They are good for light rain
Water-resistant fabricsNylon, wool, polyesterWater resistant to a large extent but not totally.They are suitable for severe rain but not for submerging in water.
Waterproof fabricsPVC coated polyester, vinyl, ripstop nylon, PUL, nylon taffeta, oilcloth, and laminated cottonThey will not allow any water to pass them, indicating they are completely waterproof.They may be worn in the most extreme conditions, including severe rain, submersion in water, and snow.

Does polyester shrink when it gets wet?

This material does shrink, but not after being exposed to water. Polyester products shrink when washed in hot water or dried in a hot dryer. As you might expect, polyester shrivels when heat is exposed, whether in hot water or during drying.

So rain isn’t a problem for an outdoor suit, but if you need to make your polyester clothing smaller for a specific purpose, there are various techniques to shrink polyester. Only ensure everything is done correctly to maintain the artificial textile wearable.

Polyester does not normally fade. Therefore its color will not alter for a long time. Furthermore, due to the qualities of polyester, the cloth will not lose its color if combined with it. As a result, you may wash and dry it, and it will remain the same for years.

Can it be used as a 100% effective water repellent when walking in heavy rain?

Is polyester water-repellent? Yes, polyester may resist water; nevertheless, the quantity of threads utilized determines this. If the polyester is thick, like in a tent, it will keep you dry. But, if it’s as thin as we wear every day, it’ll get wet quickly, but it’ll dry considerably faster than any other fabric.

What happens when polyester gets wet?

Polyester threads are impermeable since they are formed of plastic strands! However, the biggest issue emerges when polyester threads are woven into a cloth.

The garment will then have gaps from the thread weaving (which is a must for joining the pieces of the fabric together).

The polyester threads will not absorb water, but water can enter through the spaces in the weaves and make the clothing wet.

When polyester becomes wet, it can have a foul odor (but only if the material is wet for an extended period), although polyester dries quickly.

Is a polyester jacket watertight?

The Polyester jacket is only waterproof for around 15 minutes in heavy rain or 30 minutes – 1 hour in windy rain or snow. It might be used underwater if it was protected with an additional layer, such as rubber.

First, we should highlight that polyester is waterproof, but only in the fibers. It indicates that if we expose a solid substance to water, it will remain dry. But! There are air holes between the threads since the cloth is weaved. Even if the threads do not become saturated, the holes will allow water to enter the clothes, causing the wearer to become somewhat damp.

What Kinds of Fabric Can Be Called Waterproof?

But don’t be fooled by the air spaces. Polyester may appear to be well ventilated due to them, but is polyester truly breathable? Even though it offers some permeability, it is insufficient to keep you cool in hot weather or during intensive workouts.

Which fabric is suitable for use during the rainy season?

If you want something for heavy rain that will not allow even a single droplet of water to pass through or that will not soak up water even when dipped in water, you might choose any of the following fabrics:

  • TPU
  • PUL
  • PVC coated polyester
  • Rubber coated polyester
  • Plastic coated polyester
  • Vinyl
  • Nylon taffeta
  • Oilcloth

Is polyester durable?

Yes, polyester is a tough and elastic fabric. Depending on the number of threads, it can handle up to 7 kg. Because polyester is a plastic, it can withstand significantly more weight depending on the fabric and its retaining capabilities.

As a result, most outdoor clothes manufactured with this material are only suitable for light showers and not for severe continuous rain.

On the other hand, polyester may be made waterproof by coating it with specific finishes. Of course, such clothing will be more expensive because the coating procedure is time- and money-consuming.

So, does polyester soak up water?

It is made of a hydrophobic substance. However, it depends on the fabric thickness and the number of threads utilized. Polyester absorbs water and becomes moist if it is thin. It will not absorb any water if it is as thick as a tent.

As a result, producers discovered a technique to make polyester more water-resistant by simply increasing the number of threads and decreasing the spaces between them.

Another alternative is placing a second layer of protection on the cloth. However, none of these methods will make the garment waterproof; rather, they will make it water-resistant.

Is polyester resistant to UV rays? A polyester thread can absorb UV rays. It is frequently used in special UV protection textiles. It shields you from UVA and UVB radiation, but if you’re going to be outside for more than 20 minutes, you should always wear an extra layer of UV protection.

What is the flammability rating of polyester?

Polyester is not a particularly explosive material. However, because it is plastic by nature, it melts and can inflict significant injury and burns. As a result, polyester is an unsuitable material for heat or flame-resistant textile.

We hope you’re better aware of the differences between different water-resistance qualities of materials and will pick your next raincoat intelligently!

Is nylon or polyester more waterproof?

Polyester repels water more effectively than nylon.

Polyester and nylon are the most popular textiles for waterproof apparel and accessories. Both textiles have the potential to be successful (which is why they are so popular!). Polyester, on the other hand, is naturally more waterproof than nylon.

Nylon, like polyester, is a synthetic material. Both textiles are wrinkle-resistant, stain-resistant, elastic, and can retain their form for extended periods. Both textiles are inexpensive and widely used in a variety of garments.

Nylon is more stretchy and softer than polyester and is commonly used for underwear and stockings. Polyester repels water somewhat better than nylon. When properly treated, nylon (or various nylon mixes) is frequently used for water-repelling applications, such as in umbrellas.

Nylon and polyester are extensively used for raincoats, tents, and swimsuits. Nylon is far more absorbent than polyester. It is usually combined with another fabric or processed uniquely to give it the natural water-repellent characteristics of polyester.


Editorial Staff

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