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Does Polyester Shrink? Learn How to Care for It (2024)

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Are you wondering if polyester can shrink in the washing machine? Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it seems! Polyester is a man-made fabric that has many advantages like durability and lightweight.

However, with all this goodness comes some downsides – high heat can cause your garments to shrink unexpectedly.

Read on to find out how you should take care of 100% polyester fabrics while washing and drying them so they keep their perfect fit forever.

Key Takeaways

does polyester shrink in the washing machine

  • Polyester fabric is susceptible to shrinking when exposed to heat, and low-quality polyester garments are more vulnerable to shrinking.
  • Proper care instructions, including following specific heat settings, using gentle detergents, and avoiding harsh chemicals like bleach, can help prevent shrinkage and maintain the quality of polyester garments over time.
  • Hand washing or using a gentle cycle with cold water is recommended for most polyester garments, and air-drying or using low heat settings in the dryer can help avoid damage from excess moisture or heat.
  • In cases where intentional shrinking is desired, heat can be used at temperatures between 155-178°F, but garments should be checked regularly to avoid excessive shrinkage. It is important to always read the care label instructions and wash and dry polyester separately.

What is Polyester?

What is Polyester?
You might be familiar with the use of this man-made, heat-sensitive fabric in everyday items such as sportswear and upholstery. However, its resistance to wrinkles and color loss also makes it an optimal choice for laundering.

Polyester fabrics are highly durable, lightweight, and come in various varieties, but they can easily shrink if exposed to high temperatures.

To prevent shrinking polyester garments while washing them in a machine, you should follow specific heat settings according to the care label instructions. Avoid using hot water or wringing when washing. Instead, opt for cool dryer heats or cold water washes, as well as avoiding harsh detergents or bleach on your clothing.

Dry cleaning is also an option that does not affect polyester, provided it is handled properly by professional cleaners who use safe chemicals designed specifically for delicate materials like this one.

Ironing tips must always be taken into account since high temperature may cause fading or color bleeding, which will ruin your garment even more than shrinking would do otherwise! When ironing a shirt made from polyester fibers, set the iron at low to medium temperature without using the steam function, so no further damage occurs.

Lastly, considering all these preventive measures can help you keep your clothes looking great longer! Remember never to leave any garment inside of a hot wash cycle nor forget about setting dryers at their lowest possible heat levels after laundry day ends -not exceeding 180 degrees Fahrenheit-.


Benefiting from its durability, lightweight, and variety of forms, polyester fabric is a great choice for laundering that resists wrinkles and color loss.

  • Avoid heat at all costs! This includes using the right temperature to wash – cold water – and avoiding the hot iron or steam function when pressing clothes while ironing.
  • Detergent choice also matters. Use gentle detergents preferred by professionals without any bleach additives, as these can cause discoloration over time.
  • Color fading must be avoided too. Turn clothes inside out while washing them to prevent further damage due to friction with other materials like buttons or zippers in the same washer’s load.
  • Cold water is best used when dealing with polyester fibers since warm water may lead to shrinkage, and higher temperatures will definitely ruin our beloved items!
  • Iron temperature should always be kept low so no permanent marks appear on the fabric after finishing laundry day tasks correctly – unless you’d prefer shrinking your clothing intentionally.

With much care taken into consideration during washing cycles, we can enjoy all the usability of our favorite polyester attires without fear of ruining them anytime soon!


Unfortunately, polyester fabrics are difficult to press and sew, not breathable, and prone to attracting stains or oil. It is also highly sensitive to heat, which means that excessive exposure may cause the fabric to weaken over time.

Low-quality polyester garments are more vulnerable when exposed to high temperatures during washing cycles, which can lead them to shrink in size even further than usual.

Normal washing requires cold water, but hot water can be used at 150-178°F (68-81°C) for intentional shrinking purposes only if you want your garment smaller by a quarter or half of its original size on top of any pre-existing shrinkage due to it being low-quality fabric material itself.

Moreover, dry cleaning will have no effect on the overall condition unless performed with utmost care as per instructions mentioned on the label before getting started with laundry tasks – always check for the highest temperature recommended by the manufacturer first!

On another note, it is worth mentioning that the chemical resistance and abrasion resistance provided by this fiber type make laundering much easier since you won’t need additional detergents nor harsh treatment methods like wringing out clothes while washing either way!

How to Take Care of the 100% Polyester Fabric?

How to Take Care of the 100% Polyester Fabric?
Polyester is widely used in daily life due to its resistance to wrinkles and color loss, but it’s important to take care of your polyester clothes properly. To avoid damaging the fabric, heat should be avoided when laundering polyester. Hand washing or a gentle cycle with cold water is recommended for most garments.

However, reading the manufacturer’s instructions on each garment label will provide specific information about how best to take care of that particular fabric type.

If you need to press any item made out of this material, make sure not to use a hot iron as it can cause damage.

  1. Avoid excessive heat – turn garments inside out before washing in cool water temperatures below 230°F (110°C).
  2. Prefer hand washing over machine washing whenever possible. Follow regular detergent instructions carefully and never mix different types together!
  3. Hang dry or set the dryer at the lowest temperature settings possible so there won’t be any extra shrinkage from hot air exposure.

Following these tips will help keep your items looking great even after several washes!

How to Wash Polyester Material Regularly?

How to Wash Polyester Material Regularly?
Wash your polyester fabrics the right way, and you’ll be looking good for years to come – no need to worry about accidental shrinking! To prevent any damage or fading of the fabric, it is important to follow care instructions labeled on each garment.

Here are a few tips that will help keep your garments in excellent condition when laundering:

  • Avoid harsh detergents and hot water when washing as this can lead to further shrinkage of the material.
  • Prefer hand wash over machine wash whenever possible using normal water and gentle detergent; always remember to turn clothes inside out first!
  • Iron at low or medium temperatures without using the steam function; use a pressing cloth if available to avoid damaging fibers during the ironing process while preventing shiny patches from forming on clothing due to its high-temperature setting.

Using these tips every time you clean your 100% Polyester fabrics will guarantee long-lasting quality wearables that look great year after year!

How to Clean Polyester Fabrics Without Damage?

How to Clean Polyester Fabrics Without Damage?
To keep your polyester looking brand new, follow the best cleaning practices by handwashing in cold water and avoiding harsh detergents or hot temperatures.

  • Stain Removal Removing stains from polyester requires careful attention. Use mild soap or detergent that is specifically designed for delicate fabrics and rinse with cool water until the stain has been completely removed.
    Avoid using bleach as this can weaken the quality of the material over time, especially if not used correctly.
  • Heat Settings – It’s important to use appropriate heat settings when washing any type of clothing, but particularly with man-made polymers like Polyester because they are more sensitive than their high-quality counterparts due to their synthetic nature.
  • Washing Techniques – To preserve color vibrancy, opt for gentle cycles instead of regular ones while washing your garments.
  • Detergent Types – Choose eco-friendly laundry products whenever possible since these contain fewer chemicals, which means they won’t strip away natural oils found within fibers, thus leading them to weaken faster over time compared to other traditional alternatives available on the market today! Additionally, make sure there’s no residue left behind before starting the next load just in case some remains trapped inside garments, causing discoloration later down the line.

Finally, don’t forget that different styles come with different care instructions, such as dry wicking options requiring special treatment unlike standard materials mentioned above. So always read labels prior to beginning the process to ensure maximum longevity out of any items purchased made from quality material like Polyester, whether bought online or in a physical location nearby.

Does Polyester Shrink in the Dryer?

Does Polyester Shrink in the Dryer?
Carefully monitor the temperature of your dryer to avoid any unwanted surprises. If it rises too high, you may find that those beloved polyester garments have suddenly become much cozier than before. Polyester fibers shrink when exposed to heat and can be damaged beyond repair if not handled with care.

To prevent shrinkage, always use a low or medium setting on the dryer and avoid using hot water during regular washing cycles.

Polyester fabrics are known for their durability and resistance to wrinkles, but they do require special attention when it comes time for cleaning. Using gentle detergents designed specifically for delicate fabrics is key in maintaining their quality over time.

Additionally, avoiding harsh chemicals like bleach will help keep colors vibrant while extending the life of your clothing.

When drying polyester garments in a hot dryer, there is always a risk of shrinking due to excessive heat exposure. It’s important to carefully monitor the temperature of the machine throughout each cycle so that temperatures remain below 180 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

To further protect against potential issues caused by high-heat settings on dryers or washing machines alike (e.g., discoloration), try air-drying instead! Air-drying allows clothes more flexibility as they won’t be crammed into tight spaces where creases might form easily.

By following these tips on preventing shrinkage through careful temperature control while regularly washing with gentle detergents designed specifically for synthetic materials like Polyester fabric properties, you’ll ensure long-lasting wearability out-of-the-box every single time!

Does Dry Cleaning Shrink the Polyester?

Dry cleaning your polyester garments can help preserve their shape and size, but it’s important to read the care instructions beforehand. Man-made fabrics like polyester are more prone to chemical reactions due to heat, so avoiding high temperatures is key when laundering these types of materials.

The ideal temperature range for dry cleaning a garment made from this kind of fabric falls between 155–178°F (68–81°C).

It’s also possible that small shrinkage may occur if the wrong iron temperature setting or vinegar wash was used during washing; however, such cases are rare. For optimal results when dry cleaning polyester garments at home, use cold water and a gentle detergent unless otherwise specified on the label.

Additionally, avoid hot irons on damp clothes – they could cause permanent damage in an instant! Lastly, be sure not to exceed 180 degrees Fahrenheit with your dryer setting as anything higher than this may result in further shrinkage occurring over time.

  1. Monitor temperatures carefully both while washing and drying;
  2. Use cool water and gentle detergents;
  3. Avoid using hot irons during pressing;
  4. Do not exceed 180 °F/ 82°C when using a tumble dryer.

How to Ensure That Your Polyester Doesn’t Shrink

How to Ensure That Your Polyester Doesn
If you want to ensure that your polyester doesn’t shrink, there are a few steps you need to take before placing it in the washer. First and foremost, make sure to check the care label for any special instructions regarding washing temperature settings or other pre-washing preparation steps.

In order of importance, these will include selecting an appropriate laundry detergent and fabric softener (if desired), setting water temperature at lukewarm or cool levels (never hot!), adjusting machine cycles on the mildest setting possible, opting for permanent press cycle when available – all while avoiding excessive agitation!

Once placed inside your washer’s drum with like materials only – avoid mixing colors or fabrics – set up its spin speed according to garment type specifications then start its cycle as usual.

For optimal results when laundering polyester garments at home, use cold water and gentle detergents unless otherwise specified on their labels. Monitor temperatures carefully both while washing and drying. Use cool water and gentle detergents.

Avoid using hot irons during pressing. Do not exceed 180°F/ 82°C when using a tumble dryer. Turn clothes inside out prior each wash if needed for better cleaning without fading color away from them over time due to this process.

If done correctly with proper care taken into consideration every time throughout the entire laundering process, it can guarantee long-lasting wearability out-of-the-box whenever needed!

How Do You Shrink Polyester?

How Do You Shrink Polyester?
To intentionally shrink polyester garments, you need to take a few steps and use heat at the right temperatures. The ideal temperature range for shrinking polyester fabric is between 155-178°F (68-81°C).

Neglect the care label instructions and turn your garment inside out before washing it in hot water. However, make sure that this temperature does not exceed 230 degrees Fahrenheit. To produce more significant results, you can also use a dryer with high heat settings.

But again, ensure that this setting does not go beyond 180 degrees Fahrenheit as any higher could damage the fabric.

Moreover, when ironing at low to medium temperatures without the steam function or pressing cloths, it will also help prevent further shrinking of these materials due to their strong plastic yarns, which are spun during the manufacturing process, generating tension.

Boiling water releases tension, causing fibers to return back to their original short length if exposed for longer periods of time, resulting in irreversible damages and permanent wrinkles on white-colored garments, especially.

Various uses, such as seat belts, reinforcement fabrics, conveyor belt plastics, make these synthetically made non-biodegradable materials a suitable choice despite drawbacks linked such as difficulty sewing together, along with attraction towards stains, oil easily, among others.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What temperature should I wash my polyester fabric at?

Wash your polyester fabric in cool water – below 230°F! This temperature will protect the fibers, ensuring minimal shrinkage. Make sure to read care labels for best results and enjoy its durability, lightweight feel, and variety of styles.

What detergents are best for washing polyester?

When washing polyester, it is best to use a gentle detergent and cold water, similar to handling an eggshell with care. Opt for a detergent without bleach or fabric softener for optimal results without causing damage.

It is important to avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals as they can break down the fibers of the fabric.

Does polyester shrink more easily than other fabrics?

Yes, polyester is more prone to shrinking than other fabrics. It can be intentionally shrunk using heat or unintentionally if exposed to high temperatures in the washer or dryer. To avoid unintentional shrinking, it is best to use cool water and low heat settings when washing polyester garments.

Can I use a hot iron on polyester fabric?

No, it is best to avoid using a hot iron on polyester fabric. Stick to cool temperatures and use a pressing cloth for best results. Too much heat could damage the fibers and cause shrinkage or other unsightly effects.

Is there any way to restore shrunken polyester fabric?

To restore shrunken polyester fabric, wash it in cool water and use a low heat setting in the dryer. For optimal results, use gentle detergents and turn the clothing inside out. With proper care, it is possible to reverse up to 50% of the shrinkage.


It is clear that polyester can shrink, but with proper care, you can maintain the correct fit of your clothes. Always read the care label, use the appropriate temperature in the washer and dryer, and only wash and dry polyester separately.

If you want to shrink your polyester fabric, use the hottest water and highest dryer setting possible, but be sure to check the garment regularly to avoid excessive shrinkage. With proper care, you can enjoy the benefits of polyester without worrying about shrinkage.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.