What Is Polished Cotton Fabric Used For? (Tips + Definition)

In the world of sewing, there are more styles of fabrics than days in the year, or so it seems. To both the novice and experienced sewer this can be an overwhelming situation to consider. Every once in a while a new fabric style is invented and no one knows how to use it.

What is polished cotton fabric? First and foremost, polished cotton is cotton material and 100% natural. It is just another form of this fabric so you can challenge yourself through doing new sewing projects using this material. It takes special processing to create this material.

To learn more about polished cotton just continue to read our article. It has the information you need so you know how to use this fabric to its fullest potential. take a few minutes and get up to speed on polished cotton.

Tip 1: Just because it is cotton does not mean this fabric does not need special care. It is cotton but you can’t wash it like the regular cotton material.

Tip 2: While polished cotton does come in a variety of colors and designs, when it is imprinted with a floral design it is known as Chintz. This is not a good material to wash.

What is Polished Cotton Fabric?


To put it simply, polished cotton is a woven material but it is put through extra processing to give it that sheen that is so attractive to many people. That sheen can come from the weave style or it is produced by pressing the fabric between two cylinders.

The latter option is known as calendering but it is not a perfect process as some polished cotton fabrics do not all come out with the same intensity or shine that their counterparts do.

This material is best used on those items that will not be put through the washing machine. Those items include but are not limited to chairs, sofas, headboards, and other upholstered pieces, as well as curtains.

Those household items that will receive a lot of washing in your washing machine should not be covered or made from polished cotton. The fabric makes great dress designs, etc., but again you have to be careful how you clean the material if it gets dirty. More on this topic later.

It is not a universal fabric and you should select those sewing projects with care when you want to use this material.

Tip 3: Because it is made from cotton fibers and sometimes other natural fibers, the material can shrink on you when you clean it. great care will be needed when you wash this fabric as shrinking won’t be your only problem.

What is Polished Cotton Used For?

Basically, this material can be used for a lot of items if you want a particular look. But that freedom should not be done just because you can do it. Polished cotton is more fragile than regular cotton so you should pick your sewing projects carefully when you want to use this material.

The best criteria to use to eliminate different sewing projects will be to ask the question, will this item be washed a lot or not? If the answer is positive and it will be washed a lot, then you should not use this material.

If your sewing project will not be washed a lot when it is done, then it will be safe to use the fabric. Items like chairs, sofas, headboards, and more are prime candidates to be covered in this material.

Dining linen-like napkins, table runners, tablecloths, and more should not be made from this fabric. Water is not a friend to this material and not because it will shrink. But we will get to that issue shortly.

Do a little research as you should be able to come up with some cute sewing projects where this fabric will be ideal. Like acting where you need the right actor for the role, you also need the right fabric for the sewing project or it will not be as good as it could be.

Tip 4: Besides furniture and some dresses, you can use polished cotton to create a variety of household decorations. The fabric is very versatile, stylish and can make a house look like home when given the right opportunity.

How is Polished Cotton Made?


There are different manufacturing methods used to produce this fabric style. One method uses the satin style of weaving to produce that sheen you see in this material. or it can be a plain weave and both methods need chemicals to help produce that sheen.

The fibers are tightly woven before they are subjected to those chemicals. Another method uses giant cylinders or rollers to press those fibers into a nice fabric and provide the ‘polishing’ so to speak.

Those rollers help shine up the cotton fabric so it looks very good. Then color may be added to the material as this fabric accepts dyes well and you should find it in an assortment of solid colors, etc., as well as prints.

When the material is given its floral print then it becomes vulnerable to different laundry issues, mainly water. It is possible to see this fabric used in wedding gowns as a substitute or companion to satin. That is how shiny it gets when it is manufactured.

Just do not expect all polished cotton materials to have the same amount of sheen. The process to make this fabric is not consistent with their results.

Tip 5: it is possible to dye this material. The only drawback will be if the fabric has been chemically treated or not. if it has, the dye may not reach the cotton evenly. Satin or sateen weaves are the best options when you want to dye this fabric a different color.

Can You Wash Polished Cotton?


It will depend on what the manufacturer’s cleaning label says. Those instructions will depend on how the polished cotton was made. If a glaze has been placed on the material then the answer is normally, no you can’t wash it.

The water will ruin and remove that glaze finish and ruin that sheen you like so much. Then if the glaze or finish is long gone, your washing will depend on if the garment has a lining or not. If it does, then you should wash according to the material used in the lining.

But that information is only good when polished cotton is used in clothing. You may have to dry clean those polished cotton clothing items and that is the method for the other applications for this material.

When the material is placed on the furniture, vacuuming is the first step in the cleaning process. Then if there is a stain or two, use a waterless spot remover to get those stains out. If the stains are too hard or the furniture item needs a very complete cleaning, call in the professionals.

They have the right cleansers and experience to make sure no harm comes to your furniture. Curtains, pillow covers, and other flat items used in decor and made from polished cotton should be sent to the dry cleaners to handle.

You should not wash them at home as it is possible to damage the glaze or the design on the fabric. When you have finished washing your clothes, you can iron the polished cotton, just turn them inside out and use medium heat.

Also, when washing your polished cotton clothing, use warm water and you can tumble dry. just make sure to remove the clothing while they are still damp.

Tip 6: If you are a DIY type person cleaning your delicate fabrics may be the best option in your mind. But some fabrics, especially when they are placed on furniture, need special cleaners and care only professionals provide. Use the professional and save yourself the trouble, the expense, and the headache.

How to Clean Polished Cotton


This process is not for the inexperienced person. The polish cotton material can be very fragile if handles wrong. When you purchase the floral patterned polished cotton known as chintz, you can’t really wash it at all.

The glazed finish that created that great floral pattern that convinced you to buy the material can easily come off in the wash. No matter what temperature of water you use. also, you have to watch out for those normal cotton laundry ills like shrinking, wrinkling, and so on.

Being woven in a special way or having been pressed by rollers does not take those negative elements out of the cotton fibers. Make sure to read the cleaning label first before starting your wash load. If it says machine washable then wash with care.

If it doesn’t it is best to err on the side of caution and send the clothing to the dry cleaners. When it comes to furniture or other household items don’t wash. The water can damage the material and the design and you will have wasted your money.

Let the professionals handle the job after you have vacuumed the loose dirt off.

Tip 7: When washing this material do not let the dryer go too long. You want to remove the material while it is still damp and then iron it. it is possible to use a little Borax in your wash cycle to help whiten the brighten the fabric.

Finding Polished Cotton Fabric by the Yard


If you are willing to take the risk and use this material in your next sewing project, then finding the material by the yard is not going to be that difficult. There are lots of purchasing options you can turn to.

First, let your computer handle the search. Type in polished fabric by the yard and the results will bring almost all online retailers and wholesalers to your monitor screen. Amazon may be the first marketplace you will see.

It is quickly followed by Mood Fabrics, Etsy, eBay, and a host of other online retailers and wholesalers. You can do your comparison shopping while still drinking your morning coffee.

But if you do not like shopping online, you can still get an idea of the price of the fabric before heading out to Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, and Michaels. That will help prepare you for any sticker shock you may experience when you see their prices.

Then if you like shopping traditionally, go to your local malls or local fabric stores and see what selection they have. Getting the material by the yard is not going to be the most difficult part of the purchase process.

It will be paying the price for the amount of yardage you need.

Tip 8: Always do comparison shopping and use coupons when allowed. That way you can cut your expenses down and make your sewing project more economical. look for sales as well as you never know when this fabric will be put on sale to get it cleared off the shelves.

To Remove the Sheen or Shine

When you like the fabric but do not like the sheen or the shine of the material there is one simple way to tone down that brightness. Just wash the material properly and the sheen should not be as bright as it was when it went into the washing machine.

The only drawback to using this process is that the material may shrink and wrinkle a little.

Some Final Words

You may know polished cotton by its other label- chintz. If so that makes understanding and using this fabric a lot easier for you. Polished cotton is made from 100% cotton or it can be found in a cotton-poly or other fiber blend.

Clean it with care and find the right sewing projects to get the most from it.

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Add Your Reply