Rayon Unshrinking: Do It Fast And Easy

Find out how you can return your clothing the original size!

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on all about rayon

Let’s agree, putting on favorite apparel and realizing it is too small is saying the least of it somewhat disappointing. And rayon is a leader when it comes to shrinking since this fabric gets smaller easily once we expose it to heat or launder it not manually.

To stop your suffering, we will share the handiest tricks that will help to unshrink the garments and make them look like new.

How to Unshrink Rayon

Rayon is a very versatile type of fabric, but it has one significant disadvantage which is shrinkage. Yes, this material can quite easily be shrunk if you mistreat it! Fortunately, there are a couple of easy tricks you can use to bring your rayon garments their initial look.

The first method is to soak the rayon. For that, you will need a bucket full of water and a cupful of a mild baby shampoo. Make sure the bucket is big enough so that you can submerge the whole item in it.

Once you prep the shampoo solution, submerge your rayon item in water and delicately massage it as it soaks. Like this, you will relax the fibers and make them saturated with the solution.

Once the item is totally soaked, rinse it in cold water washing off all the baby shampoo suds. Gently press the garment to remove the excess liquid, but not wring it! Otherwise, it will shrink again!

Another option is to stretch your rayon apparel. To do this, find a flat and hard surface (e.g. a table top) and place a clean dry towel onto it. Spread your damp rayon garment over the towel, and stretch it flat.

Now roll the rayon up in the towel so that it is inside of the tube, and press it gently to remove the excess water.

Finish with unrolling it and reshaping your rayon garment but be careful to not stretch it way too much and make it bigger than it initially was! Also, always dry this type of fabric on a flat surface being laid on a dry towel or cloth to let the air do its job for you.

What Makes It So Demanding?

Rayon is a manufactured kind of fabric that became very popular due to its ability to mimic the appearance and texture of the most favored fabrics like silk, cotton, etc.

It is very widespread in clothes making industry, and even though it is so versatile, it requires specific care. 

All rayon items must be laundered manually in cold water only and air-dried. Dry cleaning is also an option if that’s not an item you are wearing daily, otherwise, taking care of it will cost too much. Any exposure to heat (no matter whether it will be a hot water washing cycle or tumble-drying items of clothing in a barrel) will lead to shrinking.

Hanging upon how much rayon the garment has, it will shrink differently.

Amount of rayon in the fabric How much it will shrink
100% rayon The shrinkage can be significant, up to one size smaller
30% rayon  Shrinkage can be noticeable but not significant
rayon-polyester blend Minor shrinking is possible
polyester-cotton-rayon blend Minor shrinking is possible

Related: Does Rayon Shrink?

How to Make It Keep Its Original Size?

This is probably the most frequent question asked by the owners of rayon clothing. Since any of us can accidentally launder such items in the wrong way, there is no need to guilt yourself. Instead, next time you will notice some of the rayon apparels got smaller, try to use one of the following magical tricks to bring the initial size back!


We can easily reanimate our apparel by soaking it in warm water (not hot!). Warmth makes it easily pliable because fibers get more relaxed and stretch. This is the simplest way to unshrink rayon, and we will only need a quart of warm water and baby shampoo (approximately 1 tbsp)!

Prepare a bucket, fill it with water, mix in shampoo (we suggest you use the one for babies since it is the mildest version that is less aggressive to the fiber). 

What Makes It So Demanding
Photo by Isabela Kronemberger

Stir everything right to get a soapy blend, and dunk the shrunk item into this mixture for a few minutes.

Then wash the soap residue away under the cold running tap.

Now you will need a dry towel to delete the extra liquid from the garment. Place your clothing on that towel, and roll it in to squeeze the extra water out.

Spread the garment flat and pull its top and sides outward for stretching.

Repeat that until the item becomes of the initial size.

Hair conditioner

For those who have no baby shampoo, this approach will help. 

Fill the bucket with lukewarm water and mix in a capful of conditioner. Make sure you stir it thoroughly and then immerse the shrunk garment into the solution.

Once the item is fully soaked, take it out and wash as it was described in a previous tutorial. Dry the same way using a towel.

By the way, for unshrinking the rayon sweater or any other large item of clothing, any of the previously described approaches can be used. The only distinction is that you will most likely have to use a bathtub instead of a bucket or a sink.

Clothes steamer

How to Make It Keep Its Original Size
Photo by pina messina

Your steamer is not only good for harmless ironing, but also for making rayon items look like new!

To prepare an item for treatment, use the same method as was described for unshrinking with hair conditioner.

The second the apparel is soaked, rinsed, and the excess liquid is removed, pull it outward to stretch. And now, while it is still damp, hang it up (use a hanger for that) and steam. While steaming, keep on stretching your apparel until it becomes of the original size and shape.

Iron steaming

This is the faster variant of fixing the problem. You simply need to pulverize the shrunk item with warm water, lay it on the flat even surface, and iron using the lowest regime and steam to keep the apparel moist.

After you’re done, stretch the item to give it the original look.

How to Save Rayon From Shrinking

Yes, this fiber is tricky and needs special care and attention, so you can’t just toss it to the barrel with the common load.

However, several hints exist that will allow you to keep the rayon apparels good-looking all the time!

How to Shrink RayonHow to Shrink Rayon
  • Never wring or twist this fabric since it will get easily distorted
  • Laundering in hot water, the same as tumble drying, will lead to shrinkage
  • Wash rayon in cold water manually or in the washing machine at the gentle cycle
  • Turn these garments inside out propr to laundering
  • In case the apparel needs to be bleached, go for non-chlorine liquids
  • Iron rayon on the reverse side at the lowest heat, but if you have enough time, we’d recommend air dry those clothing by draping them on any flat surface
  • As an alternative variant, dry clean rayon garments
  • If it so happened that you need to tumble dry rayon, place the apparel in a mesh bag and dry using half-cycle and low heat. Never dry it completely in a barrel!

It may seem troublesome, indeed, to do all that every time you wash rayon, but like this, your garments will stay fine way longer!

Rayon could be a great substitute for more expensive silk or 100% natural wool, for instance, and even though this fabric is quite troublesome when it comes to taking care of it, people keep on buying rayon clothing. 

So if you have those in the wardrobe, consider using the care methods described above to keep the garments neat and good-looking longer!

To summarize:

Rayon is a somewhat tricky fabric.

  • It gets smaller when laundered in hot or warm water
  • Ironing and tumble drying at the high heat will also shrink the fabric

To prevent rayon from becoming doll-size and twist its shape:

  • Wash it manually or use the gentle laundering cycle
  • Avoid tumble drying
  • Never twist or wring this fabric to keep its shape untouched

Depending on how much rayon an item contains, the level of shrinkage may vary:

  • Pure rayon apparel can become one size smaller in certain cases
  • 30% rayon item may get shrunk a bit, but it depends on how badly the care requirements were neglected
  • Any rayon blend fabric that includes one or more other fibers with rayon content of 25% or less, is less likely to badly shrink.
How to Save Rayon From Shrinking


Rayon is a relatively “young” fabric but it has already reached its peak popularity all over the world because of being easy to maintain and handy in use. However, to make your rayon items last longer and look better, it is important to wash and dry them properly.

Also, since this fabric is quite predisposed to shrinkage, being aware of how to fix that issue will help you keep your rayon garments neat and tidy all the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can you wash 100% rayon?

Since pure rayon is extremely predisposed to shrinkage, it is recommended to dry clean it or wash it manually.

⭐ Why is rayon bad?

Rayon is made of a fiber that comes from the wood pulp. When it’s bleached, it releases a toxic byproduct that can be harmful to people.

⭐ Does rayon continue to shrink?

Yes, rayon will keep on shrinking, especially if you launder it wrong.

⭐ How do you wash rayon?

The best way is to do it manually or using the gentle laundry cycle.

⭐ Will 95% rayon shrink?

Yes, the more pure the fabric is, the more it is predisposed to shrinking.

⭐ How do you wash 100 rayon without shrinking it?

Either dry clean it or wash manually in cold water with a mild laundering product.

⭐ How much does rayon shrink?

It depends on the amount of rayon in the item. Pure rayon can shrink significantly so that you won’t be able to put the apparel on. 25% rayon or less can be shrunk very little so that it won’t make any difference.

⭐ Is rayon good for hot weather?

Definitely. It is very breathable and it doesn’t stick to the body even on the hottest weather.

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
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How to "Un-shrink" Your Clothes!How to "Un-shrink" Your Clothes!