Does Polyester Shrink? Detailed Guide

All what you want know about polyester, and can you shrink polyester at all?

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Wearing a favorite polyester dress is such a delight! Light and convenient, this fabric is a favorite today. 

Naturally, there is a question that bothers every fashionista: can you shrink polyester?

No worries! Today all the secrets will be revealed!

Meet Polyester! A Bit More About the Fabric

Polyester has achieved huge popularity these days compared to natural fabrics. But is it also natural, or is it synthetic?

To be precise, polyester does contain chemicals but they are naturally derived from plants. In addition, it also consists of synthetic fibers. So, we can say that this fabric is a 50/50 combo.

Since polyester is often mixed with the fully natural fibers (e.g. cotton), such fabrics have combined qualities.

Polyester can add strength and tear-resistance to natural fabrics together with the resistance to wrinkling and shrink. As for synthetics, it makes them more wind and waterproof. 

The only weak spot of this super fabric is its tendency to ignite and melt when being exposed to fire.

What about the ability to shrink the polyester fabric? 

Let’s examine this issue closer.

How to Take Care Of Polyester? Handy Tips And Life Hacks

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Since polyester does contain synthetic fibers, it is necessary to look after it carefully just like we would do with any synthetic material.

Even though this kind of fabric is rather strong and durable, it doesn’t mean that polyester apparel doesn’t require any proper care.

To keep your blouses, skirts, and other garments neat all the time, just take into account several simple tips to make the maintenance process simpler.

  • Polyester is very easy to get stained since it attracts and holds dirt and stains extremely fast and good
  • Always wash polyester-made stuff turned inside out to protect the garment from ruining
  • For tumble-drying, set the machine to the low heat regime
  • The static electricity on the polyester items can be reduced by laundering it with the softener for fabrics
  • Ironing is allowed only in a moderate heat setting. As an option, a steamer is safe to use

This fabric isn’t considered to be hard to maintain, nevertheless, proper care will significantly extend the lifespan of polyester apparel. Careless attitude will most likely lead to the ugly shrink on a polyester shirt or other apparel made of it.

Is It Possible to Shrink Polyester?

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This issue bothers many of those who wear polyester items regularly.

To tell the truth, everything hangs upon how one takes care of the apparel.

Normally, shrinking polyester is pretty hard to do since the fabric is very strong and easily restores its shape.

Nevertheless, certain conditions may lead to polyester shrink.

  • It is possible to shrink polyester if we launder it in the too hot water
  • Drying the garment at the high heat setting in the dryer will also end up in polyester shrinkage

As you could already guess, this sort of fabric, even though being rather durable and resistant to many external factors, still has one weak point and this point is the heat. Want to know how to shrink polyester clothes? Simply expose the apparel to heat!

Even a 100% polyester apparel will shrink, not saying about the mixed fabrics that contain other fibers.

According to the classic polyester maintenance rules, it is not even recommended to dry the garments made of this fabric exposing them to the sunshine!

That is why people often flat-dry their polyester apparel indoors.

How to Shrink Polyester?

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Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash

Of course, nobody would like to ruin favorite garments only because of improper care methods! However, sometimes some shrinking may even be helpful!

Yes, you got it right! We are talking about shrinking polyester for purpose. Crazy, isn’t it?

Nevertheless, if we, for instance, need to make oversize polyester apparel smaller to fit better, why not?

Here are the most popular and effective methods on how to shrink 100% polyester.

  • Launder & Dry

The simplest way how to make polyester shrink. 

Just turn the apparel inside out to protect the color from fading, set the machine to the hottest setting, and the longest cycle.

No detergent is needed unless the apparel needs it.

After the cycle is finished, remove the apparel to the drying barrel instantly and repeat the “hottest ever” procedure.

Here we go! Shrinked garment is ready!

  • Another approach is to add iron.

Launder the apparel the same as it was described above.

Instead of a tumble-drying, spread the apparel on the iron board still inside out and cover it with the pressing cloth to protect from burns.

Iron either on low or medium heat regime without steam.

  • Fadeless shrinkage

To protect the colors, add a half cup of white vinegar when laundering. Keep the heat settings to the highest and remember to turn the apparel inside out.

These two options are the most widespread and effective, besides, they’re the less harmful to the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Double-check whether you are knowledgeable about all the nuances that come with the basic care requirements regarding polyester.

Does polyester shrink in the dryer?

It does but only if the dryer is set to the hottest regime.

How to shrink polyester and spandex?

Polyester, just like spandex, is not heat-friendly and can easily be shrunk after exposing it to hot water or air. 

How much does polyester shrink?

Normally, if polyester apparel is run through the hot launder and drying, it will come out shrunk some but not a whole lot.

For a slight shrinkage, use a medium heat regime for launder and drying, but if the moderate result is needed, use a high heat setting.

To shrink such apparel as pants, jackets, and shirts, only the high heat regime will cope.

Does dri fit shrink?

It hangs upon the content of the fabric. If it’s 100% polyester, it can be shrunk under the impact of high heat. The same will happen to cotton and cotton/polyester blend items.

Go back to these tips whenever your apparel needs some shrinking or, on the contrary, it must be protected from it by all means! 

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