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Does Polyester Shrink If You Wash or Dry It?


When and how does polyester shrink? What can you do to avoid it? Well, the answers are easier than you think!

I wish laundry was a task as easy as I supposed it to be when I was a kid. You put your clothes in the tub, push some buttons, and wait for the load to finish washing. Then you let the dryer take over the drying process or choose to air dry these clothes. In the end, you iron the clothes to finish off the process.

In an ideal life, these steps complete the process. Unfortunately, we live in a world filled with mental load and lots of decisions for every waking minute. Laundry is no different.

You start by keeping tabs on the number of outfits that have gone in the laundry hamper. Then, you choose which clothes have friendly colors that can be paired with each other.

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Once you have carefully selected and filled the right clothes in the tub, you decide on the right controls. Choose the right mix of rinsing, tumbling, and agitation.

Then wait. And no laundry process is not over when you have taken out the load. Now, you have to decide on the right process for drying them.

The step of drying is followed by ironing. And just like the previous steps, this one involves several decisions. Which cloth should you iron? What is the right temperature?

Should you iron polyester? Does polyester shrink so you would avoid ironing it?

While we cannot help you with all the decisions that go into the laundry process, we can educate you more about the polyester and the choices that will work best with it.

Let’s make the laundry process more streamlined – one decision at a time!

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What is Polyester?

What is Polyester
Source: kelvincorp.com

Polyester is one of the most common fabrics used today. This fabric is mostly used in those clothes that need to be durable.

Examples include decorative fabrics, curtains, covers, and likes. You will find a high percentage of this fabric in athlete uniforms as well.

Note that most polyester fabrics that we find in the market are not pure polyester. Instead, they are a blend of this durable fabric and cotton.

Because of mixing, this blended fabric becomes more durable than organic cloths. Still, pure polyester is always more durable than its blends.

First of all, the fabric is robust and does tear easily. Then, you can also be sure of the sustainability of its color.

Polyester fabric’s colors remain intact even after washing and rough use. But it doesn’t mean they can be stained.

If you get them stained by accident, know that they are also difficult to clean. So, they still deserve a bit of care from you.

Other than durability, this fabric is also known for its lightweight. It’s as easy as cotton to wear. In some ways, it’s better than cotton. It’s because this fabric can dry faster than cotton does.

In the past polyester fiber used to be smelly. But it’s not the case anymore. You will feel comfortable wearing the blend of this fabric with organic ones.

So, this was all about polyester fabric and polyester blend clothes. Now, you must be wondering about the use of heat on this fabric. Does polyester shrink if we wash it in hot water?

Let’s know about this possibility below.

Does Polyester Shrink?

The short answer to this question is yes. Yes, polyester shrinks. But the conditions which can make it shrink are rare.

Heat is the only factor that can make it shrink. You can accidentally heat the fabric by ironing it or you can disfigure it by washing it in hot water.

There are two types of polyester fabrics. These are pure polyester and polyester blends. The former of these two can endure high levels of heat without much damage.

Again, this type of polyester is a rare sighting in our clothes. But if you specifically want to know, ‘Does 100% polyester shrink?’; know that they do. But they need a very high temperature to shrink. Polyester blends easily shrink under the influence of heat.

So, what level of heat is okay for polyester fabric? This fabric can easily withstand our body temperature. In fact, it can withstand much higher temperatures. But you can’t put it in boiling water without damaging it.

Luke warm water is at the perfect temperature for washing it. If you want to use warmer water for washing make sure that the temperature doesn’t exceed 40°C.

With this low temperature of washing water for polyester, you might be thinking that ironing wouldn’t suit this fabric.

This thinking couldn’t be more wrong. You can press this fabric with an iron. Also, it’s one of those fabrics that are mostly steam-ironed.

If you want to press this fabric with an iron, you should keep the heating level low. Choose ‘Synthetic’ among the temperature options. This option is allowed in irons to suit polyester and similar synthetic fibers.

At most, the temperature reaches 110°C for this setting.

Can Polyester Be Discolored?

Can Polyester Be Discolored
Source: beezzly.com

One of the reasons behind the popularity of this fabric is that it usually retains its color. Polyester colors don’t fade easily. And the fabric doesn’t need lots of washing precautions to maintain its youth.

But it can get stained. And when a synthetic fiber gets stained, it’s far more difficult to clean than an organic cloth. The reasons for this difficulty are obvious: you cannot use hot water to wash it off.

And the use of bleach and other harsh chemicals can damage the cloth’s color. These chemicals will set the discoloration doing permanent damage to the fiber. In case of staining, you only have one option to clean the cloth. You can wash it with mild force.

If the stain is milder, it will be cleaned this way. But many stains will only fade a little. And you have to make a choice between accepting this faded stain and discarding the whole fabric.

While you don’t have to take care of the strength of this fabric, you should ensure that the cloth remains free of hard stains.

How To Wash Polyester Fabric?

How To Wash Polyester Fabric
Source: lovetoknow.com

Now, we know the best water temperature you should use for washing these clothes. Besides this restriction of water temperature, do we have other directions for making polyester washing a success?

Of course, we have. While most choices for washing polyester are general, some things need to be adhered to while washing the fabric.

You don’t have to use specific detergents to wash the cloth. Use any detergent that you use for other fabrics. If the fiber is stained, you may want to wash the stain with detergent to loosen its molecules before putting the fabric in the washing machine.

For the selection of washing strength, you should consult the recommendations given with the cloth. Most manufacturers want you to wash the cloth inside out. Of course, you should use the synthetic option for the washing cycle.

If you are concerned about the longevity of your clothing, you can also choose the hand wash option for milder washing.

Most labels that come with polyester cloths recommend that you don’t squeeze the fabric or run it in a dryer.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘Does polyester shrink in the dryer?’ Know that it doesn’t. But the fabric needs careful handling.

Instead of using a dryer, you have to let it dry in a shaded area. Drying it directly under the sun will expose it to unwanted heat. In turn, this can make it shrink.

Before hanging them on the rack, you should straighten their wrinkles. It will minimize the need for ironing. And if you choose to iron these pieces, you will have to apply less effort.

Ironing shouldn’t be a problem for polyester fabrics. Iron its inside only. You have to keep the temperature of your iron low to avoid damage to the cloth.

Take Away

Nowadays, polyester fabric has gained lots of traction. It is found in more than half of the garments produced and sold today.

Naturally, it has made its way into your wardrobe as well. So, now, you are concerned about its durability. Above all, you want to know the right process to wash and iron these clothes.

Does polyester shrink? Will its color fade after a few washes? How can I ensure its longevity? You have your questions.

In response, the best advice you will get is to care for them just like any other piece of garment you own. Also, you have to follow the washing instructions the manufacturer has shared with you on the label of the dress.


Written By:


CEO & Lead Interior Designer

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