How to shrink polyester clothes without ruining the garment

How to shrink polyester clothes without ruining the garment

Shrinking clothes can be tricky, especially when they are made of synthetic fibres like polyester. The shrinking process often results in distorted or ruined garments. If you are trying to shrink your polyester clothes, there are specific tips and tricks you should follow to avoid this problem. Check out these easy tips on how to shrink polyester clothes without destroying the garment.

How to shrink polyester
A person's hands holding a pink fabric. Photo:, @anntarazevich
Source: UGC

Always be careful how much heat you apply to the clothing and avoid overloading the washing or drying machine with too many garments at once. Additionally, following these tips will help you shrink your polyester clothes without ruining them.

How to shrink polyester clothes with a washing machine

Polyester is a durable, wrinkle-resistant fabric ideal for clothing that needs to retain its shape. However, you may need to shrink polyester garments from time to time. The key is to use extremely hot water, which usually causes the fibres to contract.

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  1. Fill your washing machine with hot water and then put in your polyester clothing, plus any detergent or other additive.
  2. Allow it to soak for about 10 minutes before starting the cycle, and do not add any cold water at this point.
  3. Add your usual amount of detergent (or other additives) and start the wash cycle.
  4. You should also set your dryer on low heat instead of high heat when drying, as this will keep some moisture in the fabric so it doesn't end up too crispy.
  5. Once dry, if necessary, go over it with an iron to smooth out any wrinkles or creases.

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Using a dryer

The dryer is your best bet if you are looking to shrink your polyester clothing. Just be sure to use a hotter setting and check your garments frequently to avoid accidents. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a dryer to shrink polyester clothes:

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  1. Place your shirt in the dryer for about ten minutes on high heat.
  2. Remove it when it has shrunken to the desired size.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 if necessary until satisfied with the results.
  4. Hang up or fold once cooled.

Using a clothes iron

How to shrink polyester and spandex
Person ironing a fabric. Photo:, @karolinagrabowska
Source: UGC

Iron is an effective way of shrinking clothes, but it's important not to apply heat for too long, or the fabric will become permanently stretched. Before ironing, you must first wash your garment either by machine or hand.

Let the clothes dry after you've cleaned them, then press them with a cool setting on your iron at a medium-low temperature and use plenty of steam. Hold the iron over each clothing area for about 10 seconds before moving on to another spot.

Try not to go over any area more than once to avoid scorching. Also, never leave the iron in one place on any part of the garment because this could result in a hole developing.

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Using boiling water

Will boiling water shrink polyester? Yes, boiling water is one of the most common ways to shrink polyester clothes. You need to wash your garment under regular instructions first.

Then place it in a pot with boiling water and bring it back to a boil. After 30 seconds, remove from the heat and allow the item to cool before removing it from the pot and squeezing out excess water. Hang or lay flat until dry and enjoy.

How to shrink polyester and spandex

Polyester-spandex blends should be boiled for at least 10 minutes before they are allowed to cool. If a garment cannot be boiled, use the following technique:

  1. Fill a basin with hot water and add a teaspoon of dish soap or detergent.
  2. Submerge the clothing until it is soaked through, then take it out and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.
  3. You can go through the process 3-4 times, depending on how tight you want the garment to fit. After shrinking, hang dry rather than put in the dryer so that it doesn't end up stretched out and distorted.

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How to shrink a dri-fit shirt

A dri-fit shirt is a synthetic fabric that has moisture-wicking properties. You can shrink it in boiling water for 10 minutes and then put it in the dryer. To avoid shrinking clothing, place them in cold water before boiling them for 10 minutes.

Turning the shirt inside out is necessary to avoid any potential colour transfer from one garment onto another. You could wash the shirt first to remove any dirt or oils before shrinking it in hot water with laundry detergent.

Never use bleach when washing or drying your shirts because it could cause the material to deteriorate over time.

How to shrink 100% polyester

Hw to shrink polyester clothes
Folded clothes on the wooden table. Photo:, @paveldanilyuk
Source: UGC

Can you shrink 100 percent polyester? 100% polyester is a wrinkle-resistant fabric that has not been chemically treated. You can shrink it, but it will leave creases in the material and may cause tearing.

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For instance, a dress made from 100% polyester, for example, will need two things: heat and water. The easiest way to accomplish this is by placing the item in a laundry bag and putting it in a dryer with a damp cloth for 15 minutes on high heat (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

Another option would be to use a steamer following the manufacturer's guidelines. When shrinking clothing, it's essential not to overheat or stretch out the fabric so it doesn't lose shape over time.

For an even more straightforward process, purchase an inexpensive home clothing steamer and follow the directions according to each specific product.

How to shrink polyester and cotton

Shrinking polyester and cotton garments is possible, but it must be done carefully to avoid damaging the fabric. Polyester is less likely to shrink than cotton, but using these methods, you can shrink both fabrics.

  • Using hot water in a washing machine
  • Using an iron
  • Using a dryer
  • Using boiling water

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Does polyester shrink more than cotton?

Polyester shrinks less than cotton cloth. You can, however, reduce their size by using cold water to wash your polyester garments.

Can you shrink polyester down a size?

Yes, two ways work for shrinking polyester. Put your clothing into a washer with hot water, iron them before or after they're washed and dry or place them in boiling water.

How do you drastically shrink polyester?

Remove excess material at the seams first by cutting out sections as needed to get rid of extra fabric and create a tighter fit. Next, turn up the sides, so they are inside out, then sew across the top part of each seam three times (1/4 inch from the edge).

Turn the garment right-side-out again and sew 1/4 inch from the edges again. It would help if you ended up with another row of stitching next to the original row about 1/4 inch from each edge on either side.

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How much can you shrink polyester?

Generally, a load of laundry can be shrunk by at least 30% of its original size. If you hand-wash your garments, shrinking may be more difficult because your work is not done in a machine. You should generally expect about half as much shrinkage when hand-washing items.

Polyester is a durable, synthetic fabric resistant to shrinking, making it a good choice for activewear and other garments with a lot of wear and tear. However, you may occasionally need to shrink a polyester garment to achieve a better fit. The question that most people ask is how to shrink polyester and cotton.

Hopefully, you now know how to shrink polyester garments. The above techniques will help you to preserve your garments. When in doubt, test out these tricks on an old t-shirt or pair of pants before trying them on your favourite garment.

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