Home » Answer to “Does Polyester shrink ?” : And what you can do about this shrinkage

Answer to “Does Polyester shrink ?” : And what you can do about this shrinkage

will polyester shrink and other faq on polyester care

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 does not shrink in the wash; at least if you treat it as it should be – that is, wash it in cold water.

There are many things to love about polyester. 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 dislike ironing. And no color bleeding or much fading ; Nor does it tear easily; not to mention – non-attackable by insects and molds. And then there comes the question of shrinkage! No, it doesnot shrink. Which can be an plus or minus according to what you are looking for.

When does Polyester fabric really shrink?

When it is a blended fabric – ie when polyester fibers are blended with other natural and manmade fibers which shrink the final blended fabric will show a propensity to shrink. Cotton-polyester, linen-polyester, polyester-rayon are all shrinkable fabrics. If you do not pre-wash these fabrics before sewing them into clothes, they will shrink on you. How much they will shrink depends on the other fibers present in the blended fabric.

polyester shrink

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 (highest) in your washing machine with the longest wash cycle. You can then use the heat setting in the dryer to further shrink the fabric. There is no guarantee 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.

Please be aware that with high heat Polyester will shrink but then it melts – yes, polyester melts in high heat. 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.

Related posts 

How to shrink fabrics and clothes- 6 methods 

How to clean / wash polyester so that it doesnot shrink?

Basically you just have to wash polyester fabrics or clothes in cold water , that is all. Wash Polyester in normal cycle in the washing machine or by hand in cold water or mild warm water with mild detergent ; inside out.

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. Some of the most important wash care labels are as follows ; your polyester garment should be checked for this label and cared for accordingly

This symbol means garment is machine and hand washable.The temperature Nos suitable will be indicated inside the tub
laundry care symbol washing lingerie9This means that the item needs to be delicately handled. Wash in delicate cycle in your washing machine without too much clothes ; Do not use fast spin.
Do not buy lingerie with this symbol. You cannot wash it
You can iron this item; The temperature will be indicated
This item may be drycleaned
laundry care symbol washing lingerie2This item can be tumble dried
Do not wring
Dry flat
Drip Dry
Dry in shade
Bleach if needed

Check out the post on washing clothes in the washing machine for some more tips on washing

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 color fading. Anyways why should you use heat on polyester when cold water washing does a good job?

Related post: How to not shrink fabrics and clothes.

Related post : Know more about Polyester fabric here and How polyester is made

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AUTHOR : Hi, I am Sarina. I am passionate about clothes, sewing, fabrics, fashion and surface design techniques in no particular order and absolutely love writing about all of these including what I learn, what I experience, and what I have bought to do all these. You are more than welcome to stay here and learn with me.

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