“Will Polyester shrink ?” Questions on Polyester wash & care

will polyester shrink and other faq on polyester care

I love Polyester garments –  it is so easy to maintain clothes made of polyester. If I hang the polyester shirt as soon as it is washed no need to even iron it. That makes me a convert as I hate ironing. And no colour bleeding or much fading ; Nor does it tear easily. And then there is the question of shrinking !

will polyester shrink

Agreed that there are many other disadvantages to polyester and polyester blend fabrics – like how it just wouldnot lie flat when pressed because of its permanent press quality. It is difficult to sew at times – the needle plate simply sucks the thin fabric in and the needle snags threads on the fabric surface.Then if you are a person who sweats a lot, you are in trouble in a polyester clothing. It simply refuses to breathe.

Polyester retains oil stains – you may find it difficult to wash away, if you have made food stains or such

When compared to cotton it is see through; Then there is the pilling. Another problem I have seen with Polyester is that it looks worse with age.It could melt if you accidentally set your iron heat a little higher. If you leave the polyester garment in the dryer a little longer than necessary, the wrinkles will set almost permanently.Enough?

When you work around all these problems polyester is a man-made fabric which fits your budget easily and looks good when used correctly.

Will polyester shrink ?

No; Polyester doesnot shrink under normal circumstances. It is made of synthetic fibers and hence resist shrinkage. Which is in direct contrast to all other natural fibers like cotton and linen.

I buy a dress in cotton and I love it – it is everything I want in a dress and fits me to a T – great . But after the first  wash I begin to wish I was thinner  or that I had bought a bigger, looser size. It has gone one size smaller in the wash. Whereas Polyester clothes doesnot shrink in the wash; at least if you treat it as it should be – that is, wash it in cold water.

How to clean / wash polyester ?


Read the care label on your polyester garment care label and follow. For more details on fabric laundry care labels, checkout the post on the different washing care labels.

Wash Polyester in normal cycle in the washing machine or by hand in cold water or mild warm water with mild detergent ; inside out ; Dry as normal.If you can skip the dryer altogether well and good, just hang to dry. The fabric dries fast enough, without all the wrinkles after being cooped up in the dryer.


Heat can cause shrinkage and hardness to this fabric as well as colour fading. Anyways why should you use heat on polyester when cold water washing does a good job.

Take polyester clothes out of the dryer as soon as possible to avoid wrinkles. You can even skip the ironing by hanging the polyester clothes immediately after drying in the open or best in the shower area  ( The dampness there will straighten out the wrinkles)

You can steam press to remove wrinkles.If you want to iron polyester clothes do use the mildest setting and use a press cloth ( to avoid shine and also direct contact with iron plate). I use the Nylon setting in the iron – if you have a polyester setting do use that. Too much heat and the fabric will melt or harden

Snagging of fibers is  a pet peeve of mine with polyester clothes – So I am always careful to zip up the zipper pulls and hook all hooks back before putting in the wash .

Can Polyester be dry cleaned?

Yes you can give your polyester clothes to be drycleaned.

How to shrink polyester ?

There are some circumstances when you want the polyester fabric to shrink – like you have a dress which you like but it is a little big and you wish that it will shrink to fit you rather than making any complicated sewing alterations on it or a piece of fabric that you want to shrink to fit your pattern. It is difficult for the fabric to shrink but you can try.

If you want to shrink polyester, you have to apply heat. By bringing the fabric into contact with hot water you can shrink the fibers of polyester to  a degree.

Use hot water setting in your washing machine. You can then use the heat setting in the dryer to further shrink the fabric. There is no guarentee that the heat will not deform the fabric, though. A pressing with a moderately hot iron ( not too hot and also use pressing cloth) can follow this for greater shrinkage.

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