The surface and adhesion properties of different molecular weight poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) (400, 1500, and 3000 g/mol) on untreated and air-atmospheric plasma-treated PET woven fabrics were studied, with the aim of developing durable hydrophilic PET fibrous structures. PEG application was carried out by padding of the PET fabric in aqueous solution of PEG followed by curing and drying. The surface properties of the PEG-coated PET fabrics were then characterized using wicking test to measure the water contact angle (θ°) and capillary weight (Wc), and using atomic force microscopy (AFM) images in the tapping mode. Results showed that without a prior air-atmospheric plasma treatment of the PET fabric, the water contact angle decreased and capillary weight increased with the three PEGs, implying an increase in the hydrophilicity of both inner and outer PET fabric fiber surface. Air-plasma treatment of the PET fabrics before PEG coating increases further the hydrophilicity of the inner fabric fiber surface: the capillary weight was almost doubled in the case of the three PEGs. Best results were obtained with PEG 1500: water contact angle decreasing from 82° to 51°, and the capillary weight increasing from 11 mg to 134 mg. Moreover, wash fastness test at room temperature and at 80°C confirms improved adhesion of PEG-1500 to the plasma-treated PET woven fabric surface, while under the same conditions the plasma-treated PET without PEG loses completely its hydrophilic character. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011.