Does Polyester Shrink? (Causes, and How to Prevent)

Elanor E. Gary
Polyester quickly dries after washing and is more resistant to most chemicals than other fabrics. For this, many people find it easy to wear polyester clothes. However, the question of does Polyester shrink when dried needs to be answered. Keep reading to have your questions answered in this guide.

Are you puzzled about polyester garments shrinking when dried? Polyester is a high-maintenance fabric requiring care because of its heat-sensitive nature. That is why it's crucial to carefully read and understand the care label of your polyester fabric. The guidelines, cleaning procedures, and care given are the best.

Table Of Contents

Does Polyester Shrink?

When a polyester cloth is exposed to heat, steam, or water, it shrinks, thus reducing its size. The material naturally retracts and shortens its fibers in response to wetness. Polyester fabric can shrink to 5-7% in a hot environment and up to 10% in a wet climate. The cloth must be carefully cared for to avoid this.

The best method for drying Polyester after washing is to hang it up to dry or use a low-heat tumble dryer. Additionally, avoiding over-drying the cloth is crucial since this may contribute to its shrinking. Also, another way to prevent any shrinkage of polyester fabric is dry cleaning or hand-washing the material.

Uses of Polyester

The main uses of Polyester are:

What Are the Advantages of Polyester?

Does Polyester Shrink When Dried?

Yes, Polyester will shrink when dried on intense heat, reducing size. Therefore, following the dryer's recommended temperature setting and reading the care labels on polyester clothing is essential. The best recommendation is to hang dry polyester fabrics to avoid shrinking.

What Happens When Polyester Shrinks?

Polyester shrinks, making the cloth denser and tighter fitting, leading to shortening, wrinkles, distortions, unraveling, deformation, and deterioration of the hue. Therefore, one should wash polyester clothing in cold water to prevent shrinking and drying on a low setting.

Does Polyester Shrink in the Drier?

High temperatures can cause polyester fabric fibers to shrink, causing the garment to bend or grow too tiny. This damage can be irreversible if the dryer is set to a high temperature or left for an extended period. However, stretching and reshaping the garment while still damp can help restore its size and form. In addition, avoiding hot dryer settings can help prevent Polyester from shrinking in the future.

Does Polyester Shrink in Wash?

Polyester can only shrink when washed in hot water, so the right way to clean it is by using cold water and drying it on a low heat setting. To avoid stretching and shrinking, overloading the washer or dryer must also be avoided. Synthetic fabric detergents are best for Polyester while avoiding bleach and fabric softeners is advised.

Does Cotton Polyester Shrink?

Cotton polyester is a fabric combination of cotton and polyester fibers, which is strong, long-lasting, and less likely to wrinkle than pure cotton. However, it can shrink more quickly than other fabrics due to uneven shrinkage. To reduce the risk of shrinking, wash and dry the fabric as the manufacturer directs, and pre-wash the fabric before stitching.

What Shrinks More, Polyester or Cotton?

Cotton is a natural, breathable, and absorbent textile. It tends to shrink more than Polyester but can be pre-treated to reduce it. Polyester is an excellent option for consumers looking for a fabric that requires little upkeep and can withstand several washing items. At the same time, cotton is preferable for a more breathable and absorbent material.

Do Polyester Shirts Shrink?

Polyester shirts can shrink when exposed to heat, so it is essential to wash them in cold water and avoid using a dryer. Hang them up to dry instead of drying them in dryers, and use a steamer to stretch them out if they shrink.

What Factors Cause Polyester Fabrics to Shrink?

Polyester can shrink due to agitation, heat, and detergents and must be shielded from these elements to avoid shrinkage in ways like contracting under heat, detergents, and washing machine fever.

Is Shrinkage of Polyester Fabrics Reversible?

Polyester textiles can be reversible if subjected to intense heat or moisture. Follow the care recommendations for the fabric on the tag to stop shrinking. Wet the item and stretch it to its original form and size, then press it back into shape with cold iron. Hang the thing in a steamy bathroom and try to restore it to its actual dimensions and form.

Can We Prevent Polyester from Shrinking In Wash?

The most important details are to use a moderate detergent and water temperature, avoid fabric softeners, use a gentle cycle, avoid overfilling the washing machine, and avoid using a dryer. These recommendations can help prevent the shrinkage of Polyester while washing.


We now know the cause of polyester shrinking and how to avoid shrinking by using the proper washing and drying methods. Use of cold water while washing and air drying or tumble drying on a low setting is only the best precaution. Additionally, you can buy pre-shrunk textiles initially treated to prevent shrinking. These precautions allow polyester materials to look their best and last many years.

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