Can Polyester Shrink if It Is Washed or Dried?

Polyester is an excellent choice for clothing as it is a synthetic polymer. It is a manufactured, durable fiber that typically resists shrinking.

Generally, polyester is used for several purposes, such as upholstery, bedding, clothing, textile, and footwear. It is a swift-drying fabric that is lightweight and easy to wash or dry.

Can polyester shrink if it is washed or dried?

What happens if you wash and dry polyester?

If you have a polyester fabric that is too large, you may be willing to shrink it. So yes, you can shrink it in a washing machine or a dryer.

When you are in this process, remember to use heat. There is no need to add a fabric softener or a detergent when shrinking polyester.

Why does polyester shrink?

Most fabrics shrink when excess heat or temperature rises to a certain extent. But polyester is a synthetic fiber that will not shrink under such conditions.

You have to take some extra measures for polyester to shrink.

How to shrink polyester?

Understanding how to shrink polyester is the key to ensuring you do it right. The method you pick relies on the size and type of garment you are willing to shrink.

Bear in mind – high heat is the first requirement to shrink polyester clothes. It needs a minimum temperature of 140-degree Fahrenheit to shrink polyester.

On the flip side, the polyester blends are generally easier to shrink. Most of these blends contain 50% cotton and 50% polyester.

You should check the label on the fabric before you move forth the shrinking process.

Following are some ways to shrink polyester according to the requirements:

Shrink a polyester blend fabric

If the clothing has a tag of blended polyester, there is a high chance that it contains an equal amount of cotton and polyester.

Such blends are easy to shrink and require less heat.

Before proceeding with the shrinking process, you should try to remove all the old stains on the textile. This ensures you focus on shrinking later instead of erasing the stains.

The steps you should take next are:

  • Turn the garment inside out to prevent bleeding or fading
  • Toss it in the washing machine and set to hot rinse or hot wash
  • Add a laundry detergent if it is a dirty piece of garment
  • Remove from the washing machine and let it dry on a clothesline

The water temperature works great to shrink a polyester fabric. But if you want more shrinking, we suggest that you toss the garment in a dryer and set it on high heat.

When polyester is in the dryer, keep peeking inside to ensure it doesn’t shrink too much.

Minimum polyester shrinking

If the polyester garment needs minimal shrinking, a regular round of washing and drying in the washing machine will be sufficient.

Also, you don’t need to add a laundry detergent if the garment is clean or new.

The steps to follow are as follows:

  • Place the fabric in the washing machine
  • Set it to a warm water wash
  • Run the whole round and shift the cloth in the dryer
  • Run the dryer on a minimum heat cycle

Make sure that you have set the dryer in a medium setting. When the whole round ends, you must check the cloth and see if it has shrunk well.

If the size isn’t what you desired, run another cycle.

Maximum polyester shrinking

When the polyester fabric doesn’t have cotton blended, you need high temperatures for optimum shrinking.

The process to do it is as under:

  • Turn the garments inside out
  • Toss the article in the machine
  • Set it to high heat  for washing and rinsing
  • Select an extended washing cycle
  • When the fabric is washed, switch it in the dryer
  • Select the hottest setting in the dryer

Moreover, you can add a detergent during the washing stage if the fabric is dirty or used.

Once the process is over, you must check the fabric size. If it hasn’t reached your desired size, try to shrink it with iron by setting the highest temperature.

How does polyester react to high temperatures?

Best ways to shrink polyester

All the methods we have learned so far elucidate that polyester is a miracle material. It is durable and retains colors for a long time.

And the cherry on the top is it is one of the cheapest materials you can find in the markets today.

However, we must understand how it reacts to the temperatures to ensure we get suitable seasons and choose the right size.

Like most fabrics, polyester performs exceptionally well at slightly hotter temperatures. Its durable structure resists changing shape in heated conditions.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that you place it carelessly in high temperatures except when you are willing to shrink its size.

Polyester is sturdier but shrinks when exposed to the most elevated temperatures.

Another feature of polyester is that it stains easily. This means that you have to wash it rigorously.

If you put the stained polyester fabric in a dryer at high heat, the chances of discoloration at the stained spots are relatively high.


How to prevent polyester garments from shrinking?

We have learned that polyester could shrink under certain conditions. If you don’t want your polyester garments to shrink, you should:

-Follow the recommended washing instructions provided on the label
-Wash the fragile clothing items manually with your hands

How much can polyester shrink?

A regular washing round with average temperatures will not shrink polyester. However, if you add heat to this mixture, it could shrink.

As for the polyester blended with cotton, the fabric may shrink up to 5%.

Final Thoughts

Hence, we must say yes when asked, “can polyester shrink if it is washed or dried?”.

One good thing about polyester is that it is cost-effective and looks attractive. But one should adhere to the instructions to ensure their polyester lasts longer.

On the other hand, if you have a polyester fabric that you want to shrink to a specific size, the steps listed above will help you.

Make sure that you determine the size you want to achieve before setting on this mission.