Does Polyester Shrink In The Dryer

Does Polyester Shrink In The Dryer

Unless you have an unlimited supply of cash and a need for speed, chances are you’ll be shopping for affordable clothing. It’s tempting to choose polyester over cotton because it’s cheaper and more durable, but is that also true when shrinkage is factored in? When purchasing garments at this price point, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Fortunately, the answer to does polyester shrink in the dryer is a resounding yes…but not much. Working with synthetic fibers is tricky because they react differently than natural fibers like cotton. The good news is that a little bit of shrinkage goes a long way toward preventing further shrinking down the road. You just have to know how to handle your polyester correctly if you don’t want it shrinking further after its initial wash and dry cycle.

Does Polyester Shrink In The Dryer?

Polyester does shrink in the dryer. In fact, almost all synthetic fabrics will shrink in the dryer to some extent, while natural fabrics like cotton and wool will usually expand. This is because synthetic fabrics are made from petrochemicals, which respond differently to heat than natural materials like cotton and wool. One way to avoid shrinking your polyester clothes is to tumble them on the “cool” setting instead of the “hot” setting – this will minimize the amount of heat exposure and should help to reduce or prevent shrinking. Another option is to line-dry your polyester clothes whenever possible; although this may not always be feasible depending on your climate or lifestyle.

How To Stop Polyester From Shrinking Even Further

  1. Lay out your polyester clothes on the floor or another flat surface and leave them there for a few hours before washing them.
  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar in it. Soak your polyester clothes in this solution for approximately an hour.
  3. Wash your polyester clothes as usual, but do not dry them until they have completely dried naturally – this will take about 24 hours depending on your climate, and may require a few extra cycles to fully dry out the fabric. This is the best way to avoid shrinking polyester.
  4. Once all of your polyester clothes are completely dry, place them into the dryer on low heat setting for approximately 10 minutes (this will help to set the shrinkage). If you still notice excessive shrinkage, repeat steps 2 through 4 until you can’t see any further shrinkage after drying on a low heat setting for 10 minutes each time. this will allow the polyester to expand back to its original size.
  5. After two weeks, you can then wash your polyester clothes as usual, but do not dry them until they have completely dried naturally – this could take up to two weeks.

How To Prevent Polyester Shrinking

  • Keep Your Polyester Out of the Dryer

Polyester shrinks in the dryer, but it doesn’t shrink nearly as much as cotton. As a result, it’s more likely to fit you properly and wear well after one wash and dry cycle. To avoid further shrinkage, keep your polyester out of the dryer after every wash. Hang your clothing on a hanger or lay it flat to dry instead of folding or bagging them up.

  • Wash Your Polyester in Cold Water

When you wash your polyester in cold water, you minimize the amount of heat generated by the machine and reduce the potential for shrinking.

  • Use Gentle Fabric Softeners

Many detergent manufacturers add fabric softeners to their formulas to help retain moisture in cotton clothes and prevent shrinking and pilling on synthetic garments like polyester. Use these softeners sparingly though—too much can leave a film on your clothes that make them feel stiff and uncomfortable.

  • Use Wool Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls can also help reduce the potential for shrinkage by absorbing moisture and preventing static electricity buildup that could cause friction and break down synthetic fibers.

  • Use a Delicate Cycle When Washing Your Polyester Clothes

Your polyester clothes are likely to shrink noticeably with every wash, but your cotton clothes will not. To keep the polyester in check, try washing it in a delicate cycle. This means using cold water and not rotating your laundry too often (or at all) during the wash cycle to prevent heat damage to your clothing.

  • Handle Your Polyester Carefully When Washing It

Polyester is sensitive to friction when it comes into contact with other fabrics or surfaces, which is why you want to avoid folding or twisting your polyester clothing when you’re washing it because this can cause static buildup that can lead to shrinking and don’t dry Your Polyester on a High Heat Setting

  • Use a Dry Cleaner If Needed

If you want to be absolutely sure that polyester won’t shrink, you can always submit it for professional dry cleaning.

  • Avoid Hot Water Temperature Changes

Like cotton and wool, polyester shrinks when exposed to extreme hot or cold water temperatures when in use or after washing. If you don’t want your polyester to shrink further, avoid making sudden changes in temperature like turning on your hot water heater or reaching for a new ice cube tray.

How To Avoid Shrinking Polyester

  • Don’t treat your new clothes as if they’re delicate

Washing and drying your polyester garments are two of the most common mistakes that cause the fabric to shrink. Once you’ve got them in the dryer, it can be tempting to hang them up to dry instead of letting them air-dry. That might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually a bad one. Your clothes will shrink faster if you don’t let them air-dry completely.

  • Use the right kind of detergent for your type of clothing

Most people choose to use unscented liquid or powder laundry detergents for their clothes, but this isn’t a great choice because it doesn’t get rid of all of the soap residue left over from the last time they were washed. In addition, there are some types of detergents that can actually increase shrinking when used on synthetic fabrics!

  • Don’t use fabric softeners

Fabric softeners are often confused with fabric conditioners, but they’re actually different. Fabric softeners prevent the fibers in your clothing from sticking together, which is why they work so well on cotton. On the other hand, the same thing that makes these products so great for cotton also makes them ineffective on synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon.

  • Wash and dry your clothes only when necessary

Washing your clothes too often will cause them to shrink faster than necessary, but there’s a limit to how often you should wash and dry them without causing any damage. How many washes are enough? That depends on how much shrinkage you have in mind, but I would advise against washing your new clothes more than three times before wearing them for the first time. If you need to wash and dry your garments more often than that, it might be because you don’t take proper cotton also makes them bad for polyester. Fabric softeners can actually make synthetic clothes shrink instead of preventing it.

  • Don’t hang your clothes to dry after you’ve washed them

You might not think this is a big deal, but it can be. With any fabric, it’s better to let it air-dry completely instead of hanging it up to dry once you’ve finished washing the clothing. If you want your clothing to stay as close to its original size as possible, then don’t wrap your garments in plastic and let them sit on a hanger overnight before you put them away in your closet or dresser drawer!

How To Fix Polyester Consumers Should Know

  • Use the proper amount of detergent: When washing polyester clothing, you want to use a detergent that is formulated specifically for polyester. That’s because polyester shrinks more than other types of fibers. If you don’t want your garments to shrink, avoid any detergents that contain enzymes or fabric softeners. Instead, reach for one that is free of those ingredients and formulated with a high-tech polymer blend.
  • Don’t over-dry: The best way to prevent polyester from shrinking further is to remove it from the dryer as soon as it has finished its cycle. Since many people are still accustomed to drying their clothes in low-heat settings, this can be difficult in some instances. Try washing your garments on normal or delicate heat settings instead if you notice they are starting to shrink after they have been washed and dried properly.
  • Use proper sizing: It’s important that you know what size you need before you purchase your polyester clothing. When you’re shopping for polyester, it’s not uncommon to find garments that are cut big. Don’t be fooled by this because the garment will shrink when washed and dried. If you wear a size XL in cotton, know that the same size in polyester may be a size M. For example, if you wear a 40″ chest measurement in cotton, your best fit can be an XL in polyester as well.
  • Wear the proper size: It’s important that you wear your polyester clothing according to its intended use. That means not wearing it as pants or even underwear if it was intended for something else. Instead, try wearing it over other layers of clothing so that the garment doesn’t get too hot when worn next to the skin.


The next time you’re shopping for cheap clothing, remember that you get what you pay for. It’s tempting to buy as many cheap garments as you can for your wardrobe, but you might regret it if your clothes start shrinking and fading after just a few washes. When purchasing garments at this price point, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Fortunately, the answer to does polyester shrinks in the dryer is a resounding yes…but not much. Working with synthetic fibers is tricky because they react differently than natural fibers like cotton.

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