How to Shrink Polyester & The Best Way

Washing and drying fabric can lead to its shrinking although in a small way. Polyester is synthetic and does not undergo too much shrinkage unless it is blended with other natural fibers such as cotton.

Polyester is made from durable materials that are resistant to shrinkage meaning that you can use it in a dryer.

If you want to shrink your polyester, there is a choice of using a washing machine and a dryer for a small reduction in shrinkage; however, using an iron gives a significant shrinkage.

How to Shrink Polyester

Using Washing and Drying

  • Turn the garment inside out to help protect the colors and quality of the fabric. Bring all your garments and isolate them to make sure you wash identical colors and material to minimize fading.
  • Wash the garment in hot water by setting the washing machine to the hottest level and long wash cycle. Use both the hot wash and rinse to capitalize on hot waters ability to shrink polyester faster than cold water. You only need to add detergents into the washing machine the same way you would wash the garment. Detergents will not interfere with the shrinking process.
  • Take the garment to the dryer as soon as possible. Use the hottest dryer setting and take the longest drying cycle. Shrinking takes place faster due to the extreme heat coming from the dryer.
  • Confirm the shrinkage levels by pulling the garment out of the dryer and leave it to cool at room temperature. You can take it back to the dryer if you need to reduce the polyester size. When doing repeated washings, please note that color fades with every wash, therefore, try washing it several if you are not getting the required size. Iron is an alternative that can help reduce the polyester further.

Using an Iron

  • Wash the garment in hot water, set the machine to its highest and hot levels, and make sure the washing cycle is set to long. The wash setting and rinsing should be set to hot.
  • Place the cloth on an ironing board and once the washing cycle is over, pull the polyester from the washing machine and move it to an ironing board. Make sure that the cloth is turned inside out to reduce the chance of fading.
  • Lay a pressing cloth over the garment and ensure it completely covers the garment to prevent damaging your clothing.
  • Use a low or medium heat setting to prevent the polyester from becoming too stiff, pass the iron over the clothing, and keep on ironing until it is completely dry. Do not set the iron to use steam because you need the dry iron to dry out the polyester, which is the exact effect you are looking for.

Also read: How to Use Heat Transfer Vinyl with Silhouette Cameo

Examine the Effects on the Fabric

Carefully examine the finished garment but make sure not to repeat the ironing process because it could damage and lead to fading of colors. By the time you reach this stage, you may have done more than one drying cycles as well as ironing and chances are that you may have shrunk the polyester as much as you can.

Using Boiling Water

For you to realize a noticeable change in the polyester, take it when wet and dip it in boiling water. The boiling water breaks down the fibers leading to shrinkage. More shrinking is possible when polyester and natural fibers blend with polyester.

The right boiling point varies depending on the clothing size and fabric thickness; however in normal circumstances boil the clothes for about an hour, which is approximately the length of time a washing machine takes in the washing shrinking cycle.

Shrinking Tip

Ironing is not an ideal way of shrinking polyester even when the fabric is damp. You need to find the right temperature that can shrink an area without melting it. Polyester is wrinkle resistant that is why as soon as you are done washing there is no need to iron. High temperatures on the iron box will ruin the polyester by setting melt spots on your fabric.

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Of all the conventional materials, polyester is the most durable fabric used in the making of clothes. It is due to its resilient that is why it cannot shrink unless the heat conditions in the ranges of 68 – 81 degrees (or 155 – 178 degrees Fahrenheit.

The methods outlined above involve using extreme temperatures to help shrink polyester material and make them fit you. We can only guarantee the best results if you follow the instructions as explained above.

By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each process, you have to look at the prevailing situations and conditions and let them guide you to pick the ideal method of shrinking your favorite polyester to fit. For safety reasons using a hot iron over a damp polyester is not a recommended option.

4 thoughts on “How to Shrink Polyester & The Best Way”

  1. I bought a pair of polyester pants in a 2xL size my mail. Looking to see how I can shrink to a fitted size 1 size down.I boiled a pot of water dipped my pants in the boiling water for about an hour. I will check the results after the garment dries. I will comment after. Dianna


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