Does Rayon Shrink In The Dryer

Wearing rayon fabrics is incredibly comfortable because they are lightweight and silky. While the fabric’s appearance makes it popular for many clothing styles, it’s essential to understand what happens to rayon fabrics after washing and drying.

One key question is, will Rayon shrink when dried in a dryer? As a semi-synthetic fabric, rayon fabrics comprise natural fibers and a cellulose material that possess specific properties they add during the production process. In addition, since Rayon is made from these natural fibers, it can shrink under certain circumstances.

In our guide, you can learn what makes rayon shrink. By the end, you’ll know more about the care instructions and how to wash and dry your clothes to avoid shrinking. (Learn How To Shrink Polyester Clothes)

rayon fabric

Does Rayon Shrink In The Heat Dryer?

The dryer can cause rayon fabric to shrink, and even trying to dry it at a lower temperature setting can cause some shrinkage. Besides shrinkage, you risk tearing when Rayon is together with heavier clothing items in your heat dryer.

Laying rayon flat on top of a drying rack and letting it air-dry is the best method for drying it.

However, even when drying the sensitive material this way, there are some precautions.

  1. On the drying rack, spread out the fabric.
  2. Shape it into the desired shape for when it is dry by spreading it out until it is entirely flat.
  3. You can hang it if you don’t have a drying rack.

Use a hanger made of something other than a wire if you want to hang Rayon to dry. On the shoulders, wire hangers are too thin and risk leaving marks once the fabric dries. The thicker shoulder of plastic or wood hangers makes them a preferable option.

Does Rayon Shrink When Washed?

Rayon fabric is a delicate, lightweight fabric, and Rayon can shrink and lose shape when washed, especially in a washing machine. This is because of the agitation in the rinse and spin cycle and the fabric being more fragile when wet. To prevent shrinking, Rayon is more suited to dry cleaning or hand-washing.

Hand-washing will also help prevent Rayon shrinking since it is usually done in cooler water temperatures.

hot water

Does 100% Rayon Shrink In Hot Water?

When washing rayon material, it is essential to pay attention to the temperature of the water used. Hot water temperatures can cause the fibers to condense, shrinking the fabric. Even warm water can cause the rayon material to shrink a little, so it is best to avoid hot water when hand-washing. If you choose to wash Rayon in a washing machine, cool or cold water is best to help prevent Rayon from shrinking. (Learn How Long Does A Dryer Take)

How To Wash Rayon So It Won’t Shrink?

If hand-washing Rayon is not an option due to time or the amount of fabric, you can still machine-wash it safely.

To ensure your Rayon does not shrink, follow these steps when washing in a machine:

  • When washing items made of Rayon, it is best to wash them separately and with a gentle detergent.
  • To ensure proper care, select the delicate setting on the washing machine and use cool or cold water.

How Do I Hand Wash Rayon

Hand-washing Rayon is preferable because of the delicate nature of the fabric. Even when you hand wash Rayon, you still need to be careful with handling the fabric to prevent damage and shrinking.

Here are the recommended steps for hand-washing Rayon:

  1. Fill your sink with cool water.
  2. To clean delicate items, add a couple of capfuls of a detergent specifically made for delicate items to a water basin.
  3. Gently place the fabric in the water, taking care not to bunch it up.
  4. Then, use your hands to distribute the soap evenly throughout the water.
  5. Allow the fabric to soak for around 30 minutes, then rinse the soap with running water.
  6. Do not wring out the fabric, as this could cause damage.
  7. Once the soap is out, press as much water out of the fabric as you can with a clean, dry towel.
  8. Do not wring the fabric.
  9. Finally, lay the item flat or hang it up to air dry.

Does 100% Rayon Shrink?

100% rayon fabric shrinks most as the fabric is made from cellulose taken from wood pulp. When a fabric is made of one fiber, such as cellulose, it shrinks more. Not all rayon fabric is 100% rayon; the care label will tell you the percentage. If it doesn’t, or the care label is absent, treat the fabric as 100% rayon to prevent shrinking. For 100% rayon, dry cleaning is recommended since the fabric becomes more sensitive when wet. When you dry clean, it doesn’t use heat or water.

How Much Does Rayon Shrink?

Unlike cotton and linen, which shrink up to 5%, how much rayon shrinkage you’ll get is unknown. Shrinking depends on how you wash it, expose it to excessive heat, iron too high, or other factors.

When washing rayon, read the care label. Rayon can’t usually be bought pre-shrunk, unlike cotton and linen. Because of the fibers, pre-shrinking has little effect on shrinkage.

You can also find if you have a mix of Rayon and a shrink-resistant fabric like spandex. When you shrink Rayon, it causes the spandex to shrink.

Can Rayon Shrink More Than Once?

Since Rayon can shrink by any amount, it can shrink more than once when washed improperly. If you wash Rayon in hot water, it will shrink more each time. Putting it in the dryer after each wash will cause the most shrinkage, even if you wash it properly.

Rayon can shrink multiple times, whether it is dried in a machine set at a high temperature or hand-washed in hot water and dried in a warm environment. (Learn How To Get Bacon Grease Out Of Clothes)

Shrinking Rayon in the Washing Machine

If hand-washing in warm water didn’t cause enough shrinkage, try machine-washing. If you’re merely shrinking Rayon, wash it alone. Depending on your desired shrinkage, warm water with regular or mild detergent works.

Check the item’s shrinkage after you remove it from the washer. If so, put the fabric flat on a towel and roll it up to absorb extra water. Then air-dry the fabric.


How to Shrink Rayon in the Dryer

If the rayon item didn’t shrink enough, you can shrink it in the dryer. If you put it in the dryer, don’t use the hottest temperature setting, as this may shrink the fabric more than you planned.

Dry on low heat and gentle cycle. Inspect the item occasionally, so you only dry it long enough to shrink it to the desired amount. Once it’s shrunk enough, lay it flat or hang it to air-dry.

How Do I Unshrink Rayon

If you can’t stop Rayon from shrinking, don’t give up on it yet! You may restore it to its original size. The best method is to soak the fabric and stretch it by hand.

Here we will provide you with instructions on how to do this.

What you need:

  • Wash basin
  • Gentle detergent or use baby shampoo
  • A towel


  1. Fill a bucket or wash basin with lukewarm water temperature and add a capful of detergent, baby shampoo, or hair conditioner. (don’t use heavy-duty detergent.)
  2. Submerge the rayon fabric into the water and hand wash gently to ensure the soap and water mix with the fibers.
  3. Gently massage as you hand wash into all parts to ensure that the soap and water penetrate the whole fabric, which makes it easier to stretch.
  4. Take the rayon fabric out of the bucket and rinse it with cold water.
  5. Gently press on the fabric to remove the excess water, being careful not to wring it out, as it may break the fibers.
  6. Put the fabric on a dry, clean towel and roll it up.
  7. Gently squeeze the clean towel to get rid of excess water, so the fabric is damp but not overly wet.
  8. Unroll the towel, spread the fabric out again, and use your hands to stretch it back to its original size in case the rayon shrinks.
  9. Place the fabric on a drying rack or a dry towel for air drying.
  10. To prevent future shrinking, have the fabric dry-cleaned after each wear, as this is the best way to maintain its size.

FAQs On Shrinking Rayon Fabrics

Does 100% Rayon Shrink?

100% Rayon can shrink when subjected to heat. You shrink Rayon with hot water if you tumble dry it and use a hot iron. Always wash Rayon with either warm or cold water and ensure you follow all the care instructions. (Learn How To Get Ink Out Of Clothes With Hairspray)

Does Rayon Shrink in the Dryer?

It depends on your drying procedure. Using a washing machine dryer that is too hot can cause shrinkage in rayon items.

Does Cold Water Cause Rayon Shrink?

Washing the delicate material Rayon with cold water won’t cause it to shrink. Though, it is best to wash Rayon in lukewarm water. Over time, to prevent Rayon from shrinking, dry cleaning is the only suitable way to ensure rayon shrinks no more.

Does Rayon Shrink in The Washer?

If you machine wash Rayon, you will find that Rayon’s elastic recovery rate is much poorer than other fabrics.

Does Rayon Shrink With Polyester?

Rayon fabric is often blended with polyester synthetic fiber to prevent rayon shrinkage. This is because polyester was explicitly designed to maintain the Rayon material clothing’s original size and shape after laundering.

Does Rayon shrink or stretch when worn?

If the rayon fabric gets wet, it can become oversized because of the lack of liquid resistance in the material. Therefore, you shouldn’t be shocked if the t-shirt is bigger on a humid day.


Suppose you wish to prevent your rayon clothing from shrinking. In that case, it is best to avoid washing it in the washing machine, especially on the hot cycle, and drying it in the dryer (unless you’re intentionally attempting to shrink it).

Heat is the most significant contributor to fabric shrinking, and rayon washing with water can also cause damage even if you follow the care instructions and are careful.

Rayon fabric is widely used in clothing production worldwide, as it can replicate many natural materials like cotton, silk, and linen. It is a lightweight and comfortable fabric, making it an ideal option to wear in the summer.

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