How To Shrink A Polyester Shirt

How To Shrink A Polyester Shirt?

How To Shrink A Polyester Shirt?

Do you have a polyester shirt that is too big? If so, don’t worry – shrinking it shouldn’t be too difficult. Although polyester isn’t always easy to shrink, it actually can be done with the right technique and some patience.

Whether it’s due to weight loss or just an item of clothing that was bought in the wrong size, shrinking a polyester shirt with this guide will give you the results you want without doing any damage to your garment.

In this blog post, we will walk through the steps of how to shrink a polyester shirt properly so that it fits perfectly and looks great. From understanding what type of fabric your shirt is made from and how much heat to use – down to correctly measuring your results – we’ve got all the information needed for successful shrinking in one place.

So let’s read on for our expert tips and tricks about shrinking a polyester shirt with ease!

How To Shrink A Polyester Shirt

What Is A Polyester Shirt?

A polyester shirt is a type of clothing garment usually made from a synthetic fabric known as polyester. Polyester has become one of the most popular fabrics used to make shirts due to its durability, wrinkle resistance, and affordability.

Polyester shirts are typically lightweight, and comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and styles. They are well suited for everyday wear or special occasions such as weddings or formal events.

With proper care, a polyester shirt can last for years, even after repeated washings. For those looking for an affordable and versatile clothing option, polyester shirts are worth considering.

The good news is that polyester shirts are easy to care for. Generally, they can be machine-washed and dried without shrinking or fading.

While it is important to always read the care labels on your garments, most polyester shirts can be washed in cold water with a mild detergent and air-dried for best results.

You should also avoid using fabric softener when washing polyester as this may cause damage over time. Depending on the style of shirt you choose, some may require dry cleaning; again, always check the garment’s label for specific instructions.

Does Polyester Shrink?

Before coming to know to shrink a polyester shirt, you need to know whether polyester can shrink or not?

To get the correct answer to this question, first, we will find out the texture of polyester. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that does not absorb water, so it doesn’t shrink like other fabrics such as cotton.

This means that if you want to shrink the shirt, then you must apply heat. Heat will cause the polyester fibers in the fabric to contract and make the shirt smaller.

The good news is that it’s possible to shrink a polyester shirt without damaging it. The key factor here is the heat. It’s important to remember that too much heat can cause irreparable damage, so it’s important to be careful when shrinking your shirt this way.

The best approach is to set the dryer on a low setting and remove the shirt before it’s completely dry. Then, lay it out on a flat surface and allow it to air-dry while gently stretching it back into shape. It may take some time, but you should eventually see results!

How To Shrink A Polyester Shirt?

We have provided you guys with what exactly polyester shirts are and the answer to whether polyester can shrink or not, so how to shrink a polyester shirt? Is it easy to shrink a polyester shirt?

Here, we mention some of the most common ways to shrink a polyester shirt. 

Method 1: Shrinking A Polyester Shirt By Using A Washing Machine And Dryer

As with many clothes, we can shrink a polyester shirt by using a washing machine and dryer.

The first step you must do is to turn your polyester shirt inside out. While high heat is excellent for shrinking clothing, it also ages it. Before washing and drying, turn your clothing inside out to prevent fading.

Washing your polyester shirt the inside out will prevent color transfer and bleeding caused by high heat.

Moving to the washing process, we will wash a polyester shirt in the washing machine. Use the longest wash cycle and hottest water temperature on your washing machine.

More heat is preferable when it comes to shrinking clothing. The water’s ideal temperature is at least 140 °F or 60 °C. Detergent is not necessary, but it is entirely acceptable if you also wish to wash your clothing.

Once the washing process is complete, switch off your washing machine and take out your polyester shirt from it.

After taking out your polyester shirt, you will dry it in the dryer. Set the heat setting on low for 15 minutes or so (depending on how much shrinking you need). Keep an eye on the progress by taking it out every few minutes to check if it’s shrunk to your desired size.

Lastly, once you believe that your shirt has shrunk enough in size, remove it from the dryer immediately and lay it flat on a towel until it cools down completely. This will help maintain its shape and also prevent unwanted wrinkles.

Method 2: Shrinking A Polyester Shirt By Ironing

You can also shrink your polyester shirt by using an iron to directly apply heat to it.

Turn the shirt inside out again and set the iron’s temperature setting to medium heat. Though this process may take longer than using a washing machine or dryer, it is much gentler and you have greater control over how much the clothing shrinks. Make sure that you keep a moderate distance from the fabric when applying heat with an iron.

Place a thin towel between the fabric and iron as too much direct contact with steam or heat can damage it permanently. Keep in mind that for best results, you should keep moving the iron around for even distribution of heat and pressure.

Once the shirt has been ironed, lay it flat or hang it up to cool down completely. Avoid stretching or tugging at the fabric while still warm as this can cause unwanted wrinkles.

So, these are some of the effective ways how to shrink a polyester shirt. However, keep in mind that when shrinking clothing with any method mentioned above, we recommend using caution and care to ensure optimal results without damaging your garment.

Always check garment labels before applying any of the methods discussed here to get the best result.

Reasons That Cause A Polyester Shirt Shrink

After knowing to shrink a polyester shirt, it’s time to know some reasons that result in shrinking a polyester shirt. Here are some of the most common reasons that make a polyester shirt shrink:

1. High Heat

As mentioned earlier, polyester is a synthetic fabric and does not absorb water, so it doesn’t shrink like other fabrics such as cotton. But high heat can cause the polyester fibers in the fabric to contract and make the shirt smaller.

2. Over-Drying:

If you put your polyester shirt in the dryer for too long, the heat from the dryer will cause the material to shrink. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on your garment when drying and remove it while still slightly damp.

3. Improper Care:

Taking improper care of your garments can also lead to the shrinking of your polyester shirts. For instance, if you wash your polyester shirt in hot water or put it through a hot dry cycle in the washer and dryer, it can cause the fibers to shrink. Therefore, always make sure that you read care labels carefully and follow all instructions.

4. Chemical Damage:

Another possible reason for polyester shirts shrinking is due to chemical damage. This can occur if you use strong detergents or fabric softeners on your garments that contain harsh chemicals.

If these chemicals come into contact with the fabric, they can cause permanent damage and lead to shrinkage as well.

These are some of the common reasons for polyester shirts shrinking over time. So, when you don’t want to shrink your polyester shirt, remember and be careful with these things to keep your polyester shirt the original size.

How Much Does A Polyester Shirt Shrink?

This is a difficult question to answer because the amount of shrinkage can vary from shirt to shirt. The amount of shrinkage also depends on factors such as the type of polyester fabric, how much heat was applied, and how many times it has been washed or dried.

Generally speaking, you can expect your polyester shirt to shrink anywhere between 1 to 3 inches in length and width depending upon these factors.

Furthermore, if you use too much heat when drying your garment (e.g., setting the dryer on high), it can cause more significant shrinkage than what would occur with normal care and wear. In this case, you may end up with a polyester shirt that shrinks more than 3 inches in length and width.

Therefore, it is important to be careful when drying your polyester shirt and take out the garment from the dryer as soon as it is slightly damp. This will help prevent any further shrinkage.

Additionally, if you want to maintain the original size of your polyester shirt, it is best to always read and follow instructions on clothing labels carefully.

It is also a good idea to buy shirts that are made with pre-shrunk fabrics such as cotton or wool which have already been preshrunk before being put onto the shelves. This way you can rest assured that the shirt won’t shrink too much in the wash.

Some Factors Influencing The Process Of Shrinking A Polyester Shirt

Several factors can influence how much a polyester shirt shrinks in the wash. These include:

1. Fabric type:

The type of fabric used to make the shirt will determine how much it will shrink when exposed to heat or water. If the fabric is a blend of polyester and other fabrics, then it may not shrink as much as 100% polyester shirts.

2. Heat settings:

The temperature setting of your washing machine or dryer can also affect how much your shirt shrinks. Generally speaking, higher temperatures result in more shrinkage while lower temperatures cause less shrinkage.

3. Washing method:

How you wash and dry your clothes can also play a role in how much they shrink. For example, if you wash your shirt in hot water or put it through a hot dry cycle in the washer and dryer, it will likely shrink more than if you used cold water and air-dried it.

4. Garment construction:

The way the shirt was constructed can also affect how much it shrinks. If the garment is made with a tighter weave or has elastic qualities, then it may shrink less than those that are looser in their construction.

5. Drying time:

Finally, the amount of time that you leave your clothing in the dryer can also have an impact on how much they shrink. For instance, leaving them in too long can result in excessive shrinkage while taking them out sooner will reduce this effect.

Care For A Shrunk Polyester Shirt

It’s important to take proper care of your polyester shirts even after they have shrunk. Here are some tips on how to do this:

  1. Use the lowest possible settings for washing and drying. Use moderate temperatures wherever possible while washing or drying your clothing since, as previously indicated, hot water and excessive dryer heat can cause shrinking. 
  2. Refrain from overdrying or over-ironing your clothing, since this might exacerbate shrinking. 
  3. Air drying is preferable to machine drying for optimal results since it helps preserve the shirt’s size and form. 
  4. If you must machine-dry your clothing, carefully follow the directions and take it out of the dryer when it is still somewhat moist. 
  5. To lessen the chance of shrinking, use moderate detergents and fabric softeners. 
  6. Take your item to a reputable dry cleaner as soon as you can for repairs or changes if you detect any severe shrinking. 

By using these suggestions, you can assist your polyester shirts stay in good shape and last longer. Even after they have shrunk, polyester shirts may still look fantastic with the right upkeep and care! 

How To Shrink A Polyester Blended Shirt?

You’ve known how to shrink a polyester shirt, how about shrinking a polyester blended shirt? Are there any differences between the two?

Yes, there are certain differences to be aware of when shrinking a polyester blended shirt. A polyester blend shirt is made up of various fabrics such as cotton and spandex, which may require different approaches when it comes to shrinking.

For starters, you must determine what type of fabric your blend contains. This will help you decide on the best way to shrink your garment without damaging it or causing excessive shrinkage.

Here are some tips for how to shrink a polyester blended shirt:

  1. Read the care labels for washing instructions and use the suggested settings when laundering your garment.
  2. Turn your garment inside out before washing and drying it to avoid damaging any embellishments.
  3. Avoid excessively high temperatures as this could damage the fibers of the fabric or cause excessive shrinking.
  4. Use a mild detergent to keep colors from fading and fabric from shrinking more than necessary.
  5. If possible, hang dry your clothes instead of machine drying them to minimize shrinkage and maintain shape better over time. 
  6. After laundering, use a steamer or an iron on low heat if you need to reshape your garment or smooth out any wrinkles that may have formed during the wash cycle.


Why do people need to shrink a polyester shirt?

There are several reasons why people might need to shrink a polyester shirt. The most common reason is that the shirt has become too large after being worn and washed multiple times.

Another reason why people may choose to shrink a polyester shirt is for styling purposes, as they want to achieve a tighter fit that better fits their body shape or style preference.

Additionally, some people may choose to shrink their shirts to make them smaller so they can pass them on to siblings or other family members.

Finally, if a person’s weight fluctuates often, shrinking or enlarging their clothing can help them maintain a consistent wardrobe that always fits properly.  

How can you prevent polyester from shrinkage?

The best way to prevent polyester from shrinking is by following the garment’s care labels and instructions. Polyester fabrics are usually quite resistant to shrinking, but some types may shrink more than others. Allowing your clothes to air dry instead of machine drying them can help reduce any potential shrinkage during the wash cycle. 

What temp do polyester shirts shrink?

The temperature at which polyester shirts shrink can vary depending on the type of fabric and its construction. Generally, it is best to use low or moderate temperatures when washing and drying your clothes to minimize the amount of shrinkage that occurs. For example, cold water instead of hot water, and air-drying instead of machine drying.  

Why should you not tumble-dry polyester shirts?

It is best to not tumble dry polyester shirts due to the risk of excessive shrinkage that can occur during the drying process. Polyester does not respond well to excessively high temperatures, which may cause it to shrink and lose its shape.

Additionally, the heat from a tumbler dryer can also cause colors in polyester fabrics to fade or become discolored over time. Air-drying is generally recommended for maximum longevity and better care of your polyester clothing.

If you must use a dryer, then make sure to use low settings with minimal heat and remove items promptly as soon as they are finished drying. 

When compared to cotton, does polyester shrink more?

Polyester generally shrinks less than cotton when exposed to heat or humidity. That being said, it can still shrink if exposed to too high of temperatures or subjected to excess moisture. 


In conclusion, polyester is a durable and versatile fabric that can be used for a variety of garments. However, if not cared for properly it may still shrink over time.

Knowing how to shrink a polyester shirt safely can help maintain its shape and size while following proper laundering techniques can help reduce the chances of shrinkage. So, with the right care and maintenance, you can ensure that your polyester clothing remains looking great for years to come!


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  1. I’m hesitating whether I can shrink my polyester shirt. Fortunately, I see your post. It is so useful for us, thanks for sharing. Keep it up!

  2. Hi Maliha! This was a really insightful post, I really liked all the information and tips you put to help shrink polyester more effectively. I’ll definitely be using these instructions. Thank you so much!

  3. Dear Cinda Saunders,

    Thank you for writing your informative blog post on “How To Shrink A Polyester Shirt”. I found the information very helpful and was successful in shrinking my shirt. Do you have any tips and tricks to help prevent polyester shirts from stretching again after shrinkage? Thanks again for your great work!


    Faye Trivett

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