Laundry accidents are extremely common, and I won’t be surprised at all if you have gotten into a few yourself.
However, there are a lot of reasons why you are reading this, and I’ve done my research about polyester shrinking.
So, I will be giving you the detailed information in this guide and also answering the main question of this guide, “Does Polyester Shrink?”
We will need to check out the structure of polyester in order to answer the above question. Polyester is manufactured with long and strong plastic threads.
The manufacturing process starts with a chemical reaction between an acid and alcohol.
Afterward, they turn into plastic that is melted down and sewn into tiny yarns.
And, to better explain this, it means that these fibers possess the durability of strengthened plastic.
But, given that it was made with plastic, does polyester have all of the weaknesses of plastic?
Well, to answer that question, yes. And, even though plastic is extremely strong, heat is its one weakness, which also means it is the one weakness of polyester.
What Is Polyester?
Polyesters are artificial fabrics made by using synthetic or polyester fibers. They are thermoplastic or heat-sensitive.
They are also commonly referred to as man-made polymers (polyethylene terephthalate, or PET).
The fiber is manufactured by mixing terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. Polyesters are categorized under polymers.
They contain naturally occurring chemicals found in insects and plants, as well as synthetics such as polybutyrate.
Synthetic polymers are mainly used to manufacture garments. Natural polyesters are an exception; most of the synthetic ones are not bio-degradable.
You can give 100% polyester fabrics beautiful shapes and permanent pleats. You can also laser-cut patterns into them.
They are perfect for cleaning, thanks to their highly stain-resistant abilities. You should expect static buildup in a pure polyester garment.
I consider the feel of polyester garments to be silky to the touch and slippery. The cloth is made by weaving or knitting the fibers.
Naturally, its fabric is bright and can be altered with ease for a variety of uses. Keep in mind that 100% polyester is highly flammable.
Uses of Polyester Fabrics
There are various uses for polyester fabrics, and a few of them include:
Coats and anoraks
Luggage & other bags
Upholstery and Soft Furnishing
Polyester fibers are used in a lot of things in manufacturing, such as seat belts, plastic reinforcements, and conveyor belt fabrics.
Does 100% Polyester Shrink?
The short and straight answer to this is yes. 100% polyester shrinks, but only in some situations, due to the fact that naturally, polyester withstands shrinkage.
Simply put, polyester is resistant to shrinkage, but as previously stated, heat is the one weakness of polyester.
So, it can shrink if you wash it in hot water or iron it with an excessively hot iron, given the fact that it is an artificial fabric that is manufactured with polymer.
That being said, I suggest you stay away from soaking polyester fabrics for too long and also drying them in a hot dryer.
Also, avoid soaking polyester in hot water for too long, as water temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit can cause shrinkage.
So, I strongly suggest hand washing, as it is the best option for polyester. However, you can still use a washing machine.
And, if you are to use a washing machine, go for the gentle cycle and allow it to dry in the open.
Use normal water and gentle detergent if you want to avoid your 100% polyester fabric shrinking.
Easy Ways to Shrink Polyester Clothing
However, for whatever reason you might need to shrink polyester, there are ways to do that, and I will give you just two.
Using a Washer & Dryer
First, you are to turn the inside of your polyester clothing out before you wash and dry it, as this will help protect it from fading.
Make sure your washing machine is on its hottest water setting, and set it to the longest wash cycle.
You don’t need to add detergent for this, although if you also want to wash your garment, you can go ahead.
After washing, the polyester should be dried on high heat. I suggest you go for the highest heat setting and also set it to the longest dry cycle.
Your garment should be shrunk by now, but if it hasn’t shrunk enough, then you are free to repeat the process.
I recommend you try the iron method instead if your garment is not small enough.
Using an Iron
Use your washing machine to wash your polyester clothing, and make sure it is in hot water.
Also, set the washing machine to the hottest water setting and make sure it is set to its longest wash cycle.
With that being done, you are to spread the wet polyester on an ironing board. This should be done immediately after the washing process is done, as it will still be soaked with hot water.
Get a pressing cloth or a white towel and place it over the polyester. This will help prevent the iron from damaging the polyester clothing.
Make sure you iron the polyester on a low or medium heat setting. Continue ironing until your clothing is totally dry.
And, avoid using the steam setting on your iron, as this will prevent the polyester from drying.
Afterward, you are to check the result and try the washer and dryer method if it hasn’t shrunk enough. Make sure you dry it on high heat this time.
Does Polyester Wrinkle?
Polyester is known to resist wrinkling, which is the same as shrinking. Although its wrinkle-resistant ability is based on the quality of the garment.
However, someone can argue that polyester can wrinkle, although not as easily as cotton. Poly/cotton blends are quite a bit more prone to wrinkles.
Tri-blends have a better drape and practically no wrinkling, particularly the ones that are partly rayon.
Is Polyester Stretchy?
Well, now the question “Does polyester shrink?” has been answered. But we might as well ask the question, “Is polyester stretchy?”
And, to answer that, most polyester garments can stretch a great deal and are likely to maintain their original shape, particularly in performance and athletic wear.
Although this is mainly determined by the construction, knit, and quality of the fabric. You can also increase the stretch factor by incorporating lycra or rayon.
Final Thoughts: Does Polyester Shrink?
With this guide, you should have a better understanding of the things you need to avoid if you intend to prevent your polyester from shrinking.
And, if you want to intentionally shrink your polyester clothing, there are also ways to do that, of which a few have been discussed above.
Finally, keep in mind and make sure you always pay attention to and follow the care label of any clothing item.
With that being said, this concludes this guide on “Does Polyester Shrink?” Detailed information and answer have been given.