Can You Heat Press Polyester? What Do You Think?

Let’s face it. Many people have fallen in love with the lettering and graphics that can be placed on clothing today.

From the U.S. to places all over the globe, people are wearing all kinds of neat sayings on the front of their shirts as well as the back.

In fact, adults and children alike can now join in on whatever is being said or promoted including wearing the name of the family during reunions or a product that has been a big hit recently.

All of which can easily be placed on an item of clothing via heat presses. So, what is a heat press, and can it be used on polyester materials?

What is a Heat Press Machine?

A heat press can be described as a machine that has been designed to be used on different types of materials.

Based on its engineering, it is used to imprint a graphic or specific design on a substrate. A substrate is defined as a layer or substance that underlies something else, and it is a part of a particular process.

For instance, when a heat press is used, the machine may heat press a specific type of design on a t-shirt that someone has given them.

The heat that is used is preset for a specific period of time so that the application is attached properly and permanently.

Though most people may think of a heat press machine as being used on t-shirts only, there is a host of other types of clothing that can be used in this process as well.

Some of the more commonly known are listed as follows: caps, plates, mugs, jigsaw puzzles, and more. This is because some will wear cute sayings on virtually any item of clothing, while also carrying around other items like cups that sport the graphics and popular sayings.

It is also important to note that there are at least 2 common types of heat press machines on the market today, and they are manual and automatic versions or models.

Recently, another type has entered the market, and it is called the semi-automatic heat press machine. Therefore, the user can take advantage of both functionalities based on the process that they need at a given time.

For instance, sometimes the user may need to utilize digital technology in order to have the precision control that is needed to complete a design and combination of a manual press to customize a specific kind of graphic or design.

Can it be used on Polyester Material?

Now that we know what a heat press is and what it does, we can address the question, can a heat press be used on the polyester material?

According to the information that we found, the answer varies based on a number of different factors.

So it is important for people to do their homework before beginning this kind of project.

For instance, because a heat press can easily burn polyester items and ruin them, it is important that the person is careful if they try to heat press with any kind of graphic.

Meaning during this process, the heat will need to be turned down very low so that it will not scorch the polyester material.

Also, when the temperature on the heat press machine is too high, the user may see a glossy effect left on the fabric which cannot be removed.

Trial and Error

While some may not try to heat press polyester materials at all, others say that they use special processing.

The process is normally based on the types of polyester involved in adding the graphics.

Specifically, because some materials tend to sustain press marks more easily than others.

To avoid these problems, the user will need to back off on the pressure and do it very gently.

Also, some may use additional tools like a scrubbing brush to control and prevent press marks. Primarily, the process of using a heat press on polyester takes some trial and error for those that really want to do it.

polyester shirt with tag ready for heat press

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I heat press vinyl on polyester?

Yes, heat transfer vinyl works great on anything made out of polyester. Since the melting point of polyester is pretty high, namely 482 degrees Fahrenheit, you can easily press vinyl on polyester with minimal risk of damage. Do be careful and follow your heat press’s instruction manual carefully.

Can you use a heat press on something that’s 50% cotton and 50% polyester?

Both cold and hot-peel transfers should work fine on such a combination of materials. You’re in luck, many, if not most t-shirts that are available on the market today are made from half cotton and half polyester. However, we recommend applying them at a lower application temperature than 340 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the dye migration process that’s caused by high heat press temperatures.

Is polyester a breathable fabric?

Yes, polyester is highly breathable, which is why it has become so popular in the workout and active clothing line of business. Its breathability also allows it to be a water-repellent material, making the skin’s moisture evaporate quickly. Due to all of these added properties, you can clearly see why so many people are interested in heat pressing their own design onto a polyester shirt.

Why is polyester bad for you?

Polyester fabric releases chemicals like phthalates into the air and through contact with the skin. These chemicals have been shown to cause hormone disruption and health issues. Sure, this only happens in time, and you don’t need to worry if you just casually wear a polyester shirt from time to time. As long as you don’t burn the fabric and inhale the fumes, you should be just fine. However, if you want to stay completely safe all of the time, then switch to natural fabrics like cotton and similar materials.


A heat press is a machine that allows its user to place designs and graphics on different kinds of materials. It is common for heat press machines to be used to place graphic designs on t-shirts made of cotton materials.

However, even though some may want to add graphics and designs to polyester, they may have issues doing it correctly. This is because the heat from these machines can easily burn the polyester fabric. It is important to note that some people are successful in their efforts, though it is usually after some trial and error.


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