Does 100% Polyester shrink? Yes, but How

Many people prefer to wear clothes made of 100% polyester in their daily life. But! Most of us are having a common doubt, Does 100% Polyester Shrink? You have already got the answer in the title, but the essential point of concern is, how it happens? If we know the reason behind it, then many of us could enhance the usability of our favorite Polyester attires for a long time in the future.

One of the main reasons behind the wide acceptance of wearing polyester cloths is their ease of use especially after washing. They will spread automatically and form no wrinkles without any ironing. It is because Polyester dries out sooner as compared to any other kind of fabric and does not leave any signs of wrinkles on it.

Another reason for using polyester garments in daily use is that you will hardly face any issue related to color loss with quality material. Not limited to these, but as compared to cotton, a cloth made of Polyester can also resist insect attacks and molds.

What is Polyester?

Polyester fibers are heat-sensitive or thermoplastic. These are man-made fabrics prepared by using synthetic or polyester fibers. They are also known as man-made polymers (polyethylene terephthalate, PET). The fiber is made by mixing terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.

Polyesters belong to a category of polymers. These comprise naturally occurring chemicals, in insects and plants, also synthetics like polybutyrate. Synthetic polymers are mostly used to produce garments. Excluding the natural polyesters, most of the synthetic ones are not bio-degradable.

100% polyester fabrics can be given decorative shapes and permanent pleats, and patterns are laser-cut into them. They are good for cleaning due to highly stain-resistant property. The pure polyester garment is likely to have static build-up.

Polyester garments feel almost silky to touch and slippery. The cloth is made by knitting or weaving the fibers. Its fabric is naturally bright and can be changed with ease for various uses. 100% polyester is highly flammable!

There are many uses of Polyester fabrics:-

  • Textiles
  • Sewing threads
  • Footwear
  • Coats and anoraks
  • Sportswear
  • Luggage & other bags
  • Upholstery and Soft Furnishing
  • Duvets Fillings
  • Bedding
  • Fleeces
  • Fashion

In firms, Polyester fibers are used in many stuff like plastic reinforcements, seat belts, and conveyor belt fabrics.


There are many properties of Polyester fabrics that make them efficient to use on regular basis

  • - Polyester fibers are durable and lightweight.
  • - You can easily find clothing items belonging to different categories made using polyester.
  • - Their clothing looks good, comfortable to wear, and of course available in different varieties. So Polyester attires can match the budgets of different people.
  • - You can wear these fabrics for days straight without ironing and keep on looking presentable.
  • - The dye can be applied to them with ease.
  • - Resist the chemicals, abrasions, and stretching.
  • - Dries fast with ease.
  • - Fibers are light in weight yet stronger.
  • - They do not retain moisture.
  • - They are usually used in outdoor and sporting attires.
  • - One can comfortably wear their cloth and feels soft on the touch.
  • - Available in various dry-wicking options.


Following are some negatives of using Polyester material:-

  • -100% polyester or polyester fabric blends do come with many associated problems. Pressing them is harder as compared to other fabric types. Generally, when these clothes are used for a long time, their edges will start curling.
  • - It is not suggested to wear polyester attires during summers or in hot conditions since these fabrics are non-breathable.
  • - They can easily attract stains and oil that cannot be washed off too easily.
  • - Polyester is plastic so too much heat can damage the garment.
  • - Sewing the Polyester fabric is difficult. It is not easy for the needle plate to pass the thread through the thin fabric. The needle only works in snagging thread across the fabric surface.

  • How to Take care of the 100% Polyester Fabric?

    Following are the tips for the better Upkeep of the Polyester Garments:-

    • - Avoid keeping the Polyester cloth close to excessive heat otherwise the material will harden up and start shrinking.
    • - Keep your Polyester garment away from Oil since the fabric can absorb it. Similarly, you need to take much care to not wash the polyester with other clothes stained with oil or grease.
    • - For white garments, need to be soaked in warm water with some automatic dishwasher detergent to brighten their whiteness.
    • - Cool dryer heat and Coldwater work best to save the polyester from any risks.
    • - To ensure safety, avoid using the hot iron on top of the damp polyester.

    How to wash Polyester Material Regularly?

    As we had already discussed before, one of the properties of Polyester fabrics is that they can resist shrinkage, but. They would fail to do so in certain cases. So, you need to take much care while washing 100% polyester to increase its life. Following are some helpful tips

    • - Do not wash polyester with harsh detergent.
    • - Hot water (especially 140°F) soaking for too long is harmful to it.
    • - Never try to wring it.
    • - Always let it dry in a shade out from direct sunlight.
    • - Do not try to bleach it.
    • - Never soak the polyester material for too long.
    • - Avoid using the hot dryer on it.
    • - Use only the reverse side of a cool iron.
    • - Keep it away from tumble dry warm iron.

    How to Clean Polyester Fabrics without Damage?

    The Best Practice to clean 100% polyester fabrics is to

    • - Read the care instructions well to use and wash, provided on the polyester clothing label.
    • - Soaking the polyester cloths too long will result in its faster aging and its appearance.
    • - Normal water (lukewarm or cold) and a gentle detergent work the best for their washing.
    • - Prefer a hand wash.
    • - Do not bleach.
    • - Always prefer to wash Polyester fabrics separately.
    • - In the case of using a Washing Machine, make sure to wash them in a gentle cycle.
    • - Immediately hang the polyester cloth after washing to straighten out its wrinkles.
    • - Dry them in open natural air.
    • - If wrinkles are seen even after natural drying, then use a steam press at its mildest setting on the Polyester material kept below a pressing cloth.
    • - Use the practice of ironing the polyester in an inside-out manner without getting the cloth touched to the iron plate to retain its shine.
    • - Do not leave the Polyester fabrics inside the dryer many times to avoid the possibility of wrinkling and you can save much effort & time to iron them.
    • - Your iron might feature a polyester option in its setting. Otherwise, prefer to set it on nylon. In this way, the iron will take care of your cloth by not delivering an excess of heat to it. Hence, this process can avoid the possibility of hardening, melting, and shrinking the fabric.
    • - Use Ironing only if you do not have time to hang up a polyester item after washing in its cleaning process.

    Some Polyester garments are made using low-quality materials. They are not made by following strict standards and become weaker as compared to their high-quality counterparts.

    Hence, even a cloth that is made of 100% polyester might shrink without being exposed to heat or when wash carelessly. So, the problem of shrinkage, in this case, is all because of the Manufacturer.

    The Best quality Polyester is neither infallible nor a perfect fabric. The fibers were generally heat set by the manufacturers at a higher temperature than the polyester will endure.

    Does Polyester Shrink in the Dryer?

    If the temperature of the Dryer is set to higher figures then yes it can overcome the basic resistance properties of polyester. Also, there is an upper temperature limit, crossing which can surely damage the fabric in terms of melted or hardened fabric.

    In case you want your dryer should not to shrink your Polyester cloth, then the highest temperature must not be more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain the original size of a polyester item, all the careful laundry processes should be followed well.

    Does Dry Cleaning shrink the Polyester?

    Polyester will not be affected if handled properly by a professional dry cleaner. A Dry cleaning process does involve water hence a polyester garment is completely safe in this scenario.

    The two good economic and safe alternatives are hang drying and cold water washing to clean the polyester materials. These two methods demand more time and effort, but. These cleaning processes are worthy to avoid any risk of shrinking the polyester by cleaning it using the machine or other methods.

    Do you want to shrink your Polyester Fabric?

    There might be situations when you do need to shrink your Polyester cloth. For example, if it is larger to fit your body and you do not have time to go for sewing adjustments. Or, in case you are using it a long time after losing your body weight.

    If you want to shrink the polyester intentionally then you do not need any fabric softener or detergent, since only the heat can do the job well. Polyester fabric shrinks well in a definite range of temperature i.e. 155 – 178°F (68 – 81°C).

    You do need to neglect the instructions printed on the care label. Flip the garment inside out and use hot water while washing either manually or using a machine. Polyester is plastic so heat will perform its shrinking.

    Here you also need to take much care about the fact that too hot water can damage the fabric. It would be unwearable and rigid. So always make sure that the temperature of the hot water should be below 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

    You can also use a dryer with a high heat setting immediately after washing the polyester garment to shrink its fabrics. Again, its temperature must not be more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Always keep the cloth inside out right from washing to its drying cycle to retain its color.

    However, it does not mean that these tricks will work always and without damaging your fabric.

    So you need to take much care and be ready to take the risk before performing them on your polyester attires!

    • - You can set your washing machine’s setting too hot, similarly the dryer’s heat setting can help you to shrink the polyester fabric.
    • - Put the fabric in the hot water for a fewer time to let it shrink to some extent. Too much soaking in hot water could damage the polyester.
    • - Use a pressing cloth on top of the Polyester fabric and press it using a temperately hot iron.

    A wet polyester cloth can also be dipped into the boiling water to break down the fiber that will lead to shrinkage. However, you need to know the right temperature that can shrink the polyester materials other than melting them. High temperatures can form melt spots on the fabric and will result into damaged polyester.

    How much does Polyester Shrink?

    The percentage of shrinkage directly depends on the dryer and water heat levels used while washing the Polyester. Its fabric can shrink at a very lower temperature as compared to cotton. An intentional method that has been used to shrink the polyester cloth can decrease its size from ¼ to ½ than what it has been before the treatment.

    If required minimal shrinkage, try giving a warm water wash either by hand or in the machine. Let the further job be performed by the clothes dryer at medium heat. If the garment is having stains or is dirty then use a mind detergent at the time of washing.

    For optimal shrinkage of 100% polyester, use higher temperatures both for the wash and rinse cycles in the washing machine. There should be a much-extended wash cycle. Prefer to turn the clothes inside out to prevent the material from fading or bleeding due to high heat. After completion of the washing, use the dryer at the hottest setting for the fabric and check the garment for shrinkage. If not satisfied, then iron it at low to medium temperature without using steam function and avoid the possibility of cloth getting stiff. A pressing cloth is to save the polyester cloth from any damage by direct contact with a hot iron.

    Hot wash is another trick to shrink the polyester clothing. After all, high heat generated by the boiling water is enough to break down its fibers and let them shrink. Use a big stockpot and clean water for this process, the water should be a rapid boil before turning its heat source off. Keep your hands safe during this process, by using a pair of tongs to carry the polyester material that you need to shrink. Let it drowned in the water for more than 5 minutes and pour the cloth and water into a colander. Let the Polyester garment cool down and come to room temperature before removing excess water by wringing. Keep the cloth either in a clothes dryer on high heat or hang it out on air dry for further shrinkage. Repeat the process if the shrinking of the material is not enough for the first time.

    How to care for Polyester after Shrinkage?

    You will need to take care that the cloth remains comfortable, soft, and vibrant after further washing and drying cycles. The permanent press setting available on the washing machine can cool down the polyester fabric before a spin. It can help one to avoid wrinkles in the future washing of an already shrunk polyester cloth.

    Coldwater can’t clean the material properly, also the hot water may lead to further shrinkage of the cloth. Polyester is much susceptible to static electricity so use warm settings of the washing machine to wash it. Adding liquid fabric softener during a wash cycle or using a dryer sheet in a cloth dryer removes static cling.

    To avoid any more shrinkage, the polyester should be dried on the low heat possible, and prefer to hang in open dry air. You can use white vinegar while washing the polyester cloth. It is a nice trick to avoid fading (loss of depth and vibrancy in the material) and color bleeding (fabrics get wet and fiber releases dye).


    Polyesters can resist shrinking up to a great extent, but. High heat with 140 degrees Fahrenheit minimum temperature can shrink the 100% polyester fabrics. You need to be very careful while setting the heat for your washer, dryer as well as iron to shrink your Polyester material. So, a right shrinking method is necessary while dealing with polyesters to get the results without any damage.