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Can Polyester Shrink?


Clothing made of polyester is both admired and despised for impeding shrinkage. If you have ever tried to shrink polyester, you may think it is hopeless; however, there is a way. Here are some elementary instructions that will lead to shrinking success.

The Key is Heat

Place the clothing in a washer on the hottest water setting. You do not need detergent, but it will not interfere with the shrinking process if you use it. Make sure the machine is on the lengthiest wash setting available and that it is set to both wash and rinse in hot water.

Immediately after the wash cycle, place the garment in the dryer. Again, set machine to the highest heat setting and the longest cycle possible. When the dry sequence is finished, remove the garment and check for a contrast in fit. If more reduction is needed, repeat this process a few more times until desired results are achieved.

For Maximum Shrinkage

If the article is still too large after a few hot washes, you may want to take it one-step further. Again, wash in purely hot water for an extended period of time. This time, when it has finished, iron the fabric until dried rather than putting it in the dryer.

Tips for Success

Although shrinking polyester is possible, mishaps can happen. Be sure not to ruin the garment by following these tips.

  • Despite polyester’s resistance to fading, high heat can drain the color. To lessen this effect, turn the garment inside out before washing or ironing.
  • Avoid the use of boiling water or high iron settings as extreme heat can cause polyester to harden.
  • If you choose to iron the material, use a low to medium heat setting and be sure to place a pressing cloth between the iron and the clothing.




[1] Sekhri, Seema. Textbook of fabric science Fundamentals to finishing. 0: Phi Learning, 2011. Print.

[2] Home comforts: the art and science of keeping house. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

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