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A closeup of polyester fabrics.

How to remove stains from polyester and other synthetics

Sweat-wicking polyester t-shirts, bright acrylic jumpers, soft nylon tights, slinky rayon blouses – synthetic fabrics are a bigger presence in your wardrobe than you might think. So chances are you’ll probably find yourself peering at a label one day and wondering how to remove stains from polyester, or what the synthetic washing machine cycle is, or which detergent might be kind to nylon. That’s where we come in. 

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to washing and removing stains from synthetics here – so read on and prepare to become an expert.


What is the synthetic cycle? Washing machine advice

So: are synthetics washing machine-friendly? Yes, most of the time they are – just check the care label to be absolutely certain. If you can wash your synthetic garment in the machine, use the synthetics cycle. The washing machine will then wash your clothes at a low temperature with less spinning, since too much heat and agitation can damage (and sometimes even melt) synthetic fabrics.


How do I wash polyester and other synthetics? Key tips:

  • Check the label. If your washing machine lacks a synthetics cycle, stay relaxed and simply read your garment’s care label to find out what the recommended wash temperature is. 
  • Avoid heat. Synthetics are heat-sensitive, so keep them well away from tumble dryers and ironing boards. If an item really needs to be pressed, try using a cool iron, protecting the fabric by putting a clean, old towel in-between the garment and the iron.
  • No special synthetic detergent needed. As long as your synthetic fabric isn’t blended with something delicate, you don’t need a special detergent. Anything from the Surf excel range will give you great results.


How to remove stains from polyester, nylon, and other synthetics

Found a striking stain on your yoga pants? Don’t panic – removing marks from polyester and other synthetic fabrics is a breeze. Here’s what you need to know about each fabric: 



Acrylic is the ultimate chameleon – it can mimic pretty much any other fabric around, so you’ll often acrylic blended with natural fibres like cotton or wool. Microfibre towels and fleeces tend to be made with acrylic, and it’s often used alongside wool to make jumpers.

How do I wash and remove stains from acrylic?

Acrylic fabrics don’t like the heat, so wash them in warm or cool water. Often the synthetic cycle will do, but check the label to be sure as wool blends might need even cooler water. You can usually treat any stains with undiluted Surf excel Liquid Detergent, washing the garment in the machine (or by hand) afterwards. Find out more about washing acrylic clothes here.



Polyester is an incredibly versatile fabric. Besides slinky gym wear, it can also make soft t-shirts and even fluffy jumpers, carpets, and pillow stuffing.

How do I wash polyester and remove stains?

Polyester and acrylic clothes have very similar needs. Just wash the item on a warm (not hot!) synthetic washing cycle – around 30-40 degrees is usually fine. Pre-treat any stains with a small amount of Surf excel Liquid Detergent. 



Nylon can be made to look thin or sheer without losing its strength, so it’s often used in tights and lingerie. Treated properly, it’s also durable and waterproof, making it an ideal option for umbrellas and fishing lines, too!

How do I wash and treat stains on nylon?

Nylon items can be washed the same way as polyester and acrylics. if you’re trying to clean delicates like underwear, putting them a wash bag can keep them from getting damaged in the machine.



Rayon is a collective name for fabrics like viscose and modal. What connects them is that they are all made from cellulose – fibres that typically come from wood pulp. You might think that this makes rayon a natural fabric, but since it’s treated with chemicals during the production process, it does still fall under the ‘synthetics’ umbrella. 

How do I wash rayon?

Rayon can’t always be washed at home, so be sure to check the item’s care label for advice. If it doesn’t say ‘dry clean only’, then go ahead and hand wash your garment in lukewarm water, using a special delicate detergent if possible. 

And that’s it for this ultimate guide! Be sure to check out our tips on washing cotton and cleaning silk too. Just remember: most synthetics are pretty low maintenance! Just keep the water cool and stick to the recommendations on the care label. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to go to your local dry cleaners for help. It’s what they’re there for!