How To Shrink Polyester

Designed for durability, polyester isn’t prone to shrinking as synthetic fabrics don’t shrink by design. You could ask, does polyester shrink because your clothing item is too large.

With this, shrinking polyester is difficult but not impossible, and you have various ways to do this, so knowing which is the best for your needs can be crucial.

Each method of shrinking polyester has pros and cons, and can polyester shrink in some areas while not in others?

In our guide, you can find many ways of how to shrink polyester clothes. Using some methods, you can find clothes shrink significantly, although, in others, you can control the amount of shrinkage.

However, in conclusion, shrinking polyester clothes is possible, and you will know how to shrink polyester and how to care for your polyester material. (Learn How To Hang Outdoor String Lights)

Guide To Shrink Polyester

Is It Possible To Shrink Polyester?

Polyester is a petroleum-based synthetic fabric. Polyester today isn’t the rigid, heated fabric of 1970s leisure suits. For example, polyester is used in fleece, but it isn’t immediately apparent. It looks like wool.

Polyester can be blended with natural fibers like cotton to create a fabric that combines the best of both worlds.

The synthetic fabric is resistant to shrinkage, which is often good, yet you may prefer your 100% polyester shirt or polyester pants a little smaller.

Although 100% polyester is non-shrinking, it can melt because it’s essentially plastic, and the excessive heat can change its shape and proportions.

Pure polyester is difficult to shrink, but not impossible. A polyester blend is easier to shrink, but not without issues.

The amount of polyester in the mix causes these issues. Shrinking a fabric with 50% or less polyester is much easier.

The minimal temperature for shrinking 100% polyester is 140F. Aim higher for the best outcomes. The optimal temperature range for shrinking 100% polyester is estimated to be 155–178 F.

Ways to Shrink Polyester

High temperatures are the key to shrinking polyester garments. While heat shrinks polyester
fibers, an improper application can cause damage to other materials such as cotton fibers.

Here you can find a few simple methods for safely shrinking polyester clothing and your synthetic fabric.

You can shrink polyester clothing best using extreme heat, and it is possible to shrink 100% polyester fabrics, but only to a certain extent using any shrinking process that uses high heat.

Shrinking garments needs the hottest temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turn the clothes inside out and wash them in the machine. Use the hottest water setting for the washing cycle and use a hot rinse cycle and the longest wash cycle. Adding washing detergent isn’t necessary unless the clothes are filthy.

Remove the clothing from the washing machine and place it on an ironing board once the cycle is finished. (Read Tall Privacy Fence Ideas)

Make sure the clothing is turned inside out and use your pressing cloth over the entire surface of the polyester, ensuring that no parts are exposed; otherwise, the iron may damage the fabric.

Set the iron to a low to medium heat setting. When the temperature is raised too high, the polyester stiffens.

Iron the fabric until it is completely dry, without using steam.

How Much Will Polyester Shrink?

An item’s shrinkage relies on the resilient synthetic fiber content and the content of other fibers.

If you use 100% polyester, shrinking is minor as polyester is essentially plastic and does not shrink the way you expect.

So, does polyester shrink? Heat can shrink polyester, but it also harms fibers. Instead of shrinking, the fabric could melt into a sticky mass.

A polyester blend can shrink more, and you should consider a polycotton combination of 65%-35%. The cotton will shrink and under normal circumstances, the shrinking is so slight, it can be enough without being noticeable.

To shrink polycotton clothing, use higher heat than usual in the wash. Even then, the polyester fabric shrinks less than something made from 100% cotton.

Shrink Polyester by Boiling Water

How Do You Shrink Polyester In Boiling Water?

For shrinking polyester, whether it’s 100% or blended fabric, there are a few ways to do it. All of them involve inflicting the polyester fibers to heat.

Each approach will cause a different level of shrinkage and you may find you have to repeat the steps to get the level of shrinkage you need. You need to take care, as there is a limit.

Here are a few ways you can string a polyester garment.

Using Your Washing Machine

The many heat settings on washing machines are great for shrinking 100% polyester, garment. If you only need a slight shrink, you can do the whole process on a medium heat setting.

To do this, don’t add any detergent, and make sure you have your polyester garments are turned inside out.

  • The range of heat settings allows minimal or maximum shrinkage
  • Doesn’t work on all polyester blends
  • Too much heat leads to too much shrinkage
  • Hard to gauge shrinkage level from the heat setting

Using Dryer Method

A dryer can effectively shrink polyester, yet you depend on the dryer and lose some buffer as if you wash the garment.

However, polyester and polyester blends both shrink in the dryer, and all you need to do is increase the dryer setting higher than usual rather than using the hottest available. Like washing, when using any drying cycles, make sure you have your garment inside out.

  • Quicker than washing to shrink polyester.
  • You can get different amounts of shrinkage
  • You can achieve minimal shrinkage or too much shrinkage in a hot dryer
  • Garments can wrinkle

Iron Method To Shrink Polyester

Using the Clothes Iron Method

Many of us would rather do something else than iron clothes. However, ironing polyester might help achieve the desired shrinkage.

The hot iron method is more hands-on and challenging than the others. It needs you to wash your garment using the hottest setting possible.

Now, to dry the garment, rather than using your dryer or hanging on the clothesline, you use your hot iron and your ironing board. (Learn How To Remove Superglue From Glasses)

Set your iron to low or medium heat before commencing.

Using a suitable pressing cloth, softly iron your garment until it is dry in the area you are shrinking.

Make sure you don’t use the steam setting, as this produces too much heat and can ruin your garment.

If you want to be safe, you can dry iron your garment until completely dry, and then you are sure it won’t melt.

  • You can monitor the amount of shrinkage
  • It can melt rather than shrink if you have the wrong setting
  • More time-consuming when dry ironing

Using Boiling Water

There are two methods to do this one. Both require a stove and a pan large enough to keep your clothing submerged in hot water.

Wash your clothes as usual and, while doing so, bring a big pot of water to a boil.

Once ready, add your damp garment to the boiling water.

Boil for about 1 hour, although the time depends on your clothing and thickness. A wash cycle is around the same time. It just appears longer as you are hands-on.

Alternatively, you can boil your clothing in a large saucepan of water. Boil for 10 minutes and drain. Wait until the clothes is hand-hot or room temperature. Then dry with a high heat dryer.

If you are careful, you can use shrink a polyester shirt by using boiling water.

Giving polyester a hot wash is the most effective way to encourage shrinking.

In this hot water process, the high heat of the boiling water breaks down the polyester fibers, causing them to shrink. Here you can see how to shrink a polyester shirt by boiling it in hot water.

  1. Fill a large stockpot with clean water, bring it to a rapid boil, and then remove it from the heat.
  2. Use a pair of tongs to place the polyester shirt into the water carefully to avoid burning your hands.
  3. Leave the material in the water for 5 to 10 minutes before pouring the water and cloth into a strainer.
  4. Let the cloth cool to room temperature before wringing it to remove excess water.
  5. Lay the shirt out to air dry or place it in a clothes dryer on high heat for further shrinkage.
  6. Repeat the process if the material does not shrink enough the first time.

Shrinking Polyester to Prevent Fading

Color bleeding happens when fabrics get wet, and dye releases from the fibers. Fading occurs when the material loses its vibrancy and depth.

While polyester is generally more resistant to bleeding and fading than natural fibers such as cotton, it does occur when subjected to high heat. Here is how to shrink polyester garments without fading.

  • Washing machine
  • Clothes dryer
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Turn the garment inside out and add the white vinegar to the washing machine instead of any laundry detergent.

For both the wash and rinse cycles, wash the clothing in the longest and hottest setting. Remove the garment from the washer and dry it in the hottest setting with an extended drying cycle in the dryer to complete the full shrinking process.

You can also use vinegar and water to shrink leather instead of polyester if you’re seeking a quick solution. However, do not wash or dry your leather goods since this can permanently ruin the material.

How to Care for Polyester after Shrinking

Once you’ve found the correct ways to shrink polyester and the size for your polyester garment. There are a few steps you can do during the washing and drying process to keep it looking vivid, soft, and comfy.

Use your washing machine without high temperatures, and use the permanent press setting to wash polyester in the future. To avoid extra shrinkage and wrinkles, the wash cycle cools the fabric before spinning it.

To avoid fading, turn your clothes inside out before washing.

Use a warm temperature in the washing machine to wash the polyester. Coldwater does not clean the material yet resists shrinkage in your garments. Yet hot water shrinks the material even more and can induce static electricity in your polyester.

To reduce static cling in your clothing, you can reduce the amount by using a liquid fabric softener in the washing machine or a dryer sheet in the dryer. (Read Are Gnomes Real)

To avoid further shrinkage, dry your polyester on low heat or even hang the garments to air dry on a clothesline.

Using the right shrinking procedure, you can shrink polyester garments like your favorite t-shirt.

While severe heat ruins this durable material and its synthetic fibers. Carefully follow all the methods here and using the proper heat setting on your clothes, be it in your washer, dryer, and iron. You have the best way to shrink polyester so you get the fit you desire.

How To Shrink Polyester

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