3 Methods to Shrink Polyester Clothes – You Can Do at Home

Having clothes in the right size is good but there are times when the garment is a little too big. It can be a struggle especially when the only choice is to shrink it — more so if the fabric used is polyester. Worry not! This article will share different methods on how to shrink polyester clothes.

What is polyester?

What is polyester

Polyester is a common fabric used in clothing. If you’re not familiar with different types of fabric, you can find polyester being used in slacks, dresses, and even outerwear. Sometimes, too, it is blended with other materials such as cotton.

Polyethylene terephthalate, often called polyester, is a man-made fiber composed of purified terephthalic acid and monoterpene glycol. In a nutshell, it is made of chemicals put together to create synthetic fabric.

Some qualities of polyester include the ability to stretch, the inability to absorb liquid such as water or perspiration, and resistance to shrinkage.

Watch this video to better understand how polyester is made:

Can you shrink 100% polyester?

As mentioned earlier, one quality of polyester is that it does not shrink. While this is good news for you as it means you won’t have to worry about accidentally making your garment smaller, it is otherwise if you want to purposely shrink your garment for a better fit.

Pure polyester may be resistant to shrinkage but that does not mean it is impossible. The main element in how to shrink polyester clothes is high heat.

Temperature ranging from 155 to 178° Fahrenheit can shrink polyester clothes. When working with this material, though, always practice caution as you might accidentally ruin the quality of your clothing in the process.

It is much easier when you have to deal with polyester blends. The tag of your garment will tell you the other fiber that comprises your polyester blend. More often these blends are made of 50% polyester and 50% cotton.

Continue reading as this comprehensive guide will teach you the different methods on how to drink polyester clothes.

How to shrink polyester clothes using a dryer

How to shrink polyester clothes using a dryer

When talking about clothes and heat, one thing that would probably come to mind is a dryer. Using a dryer is one effective way on how to shrink polyester clothes. With the heat and time settings of your dryer, you can manage the level of shrinkage.

Step 1: Empty pockets and other pouches.

Before throwing your polyester clothes into the dryer, make sure that there are items like paper, receipts, and coins in the pockets and pouches.

If you accidentally throw a polyester dress in the dryer with a coin in its pocket, you might end up discoloring it.

Step 2: Turn your garment inside out.

To avoid discoloration or affecting the color of your garment, turn it inside out. Heat can fade the color of your fabric and make it look worn out so better not skip this step.

If you want to shrink more than one piece of clothing, gather clothing of the same color and work on them in batches.

Step 3: Run a wash cycle in the washing machine.

Put your garment in the washing machine and run a wash cycle. You can add detergent but this is optional.

Before running the wash cycle, turn up the heat to its maximum temperature so the garment is washed in hot water. This is vital in how to shrink polyester clothes. If you are just aiming for minimal shrinkage, use a lower temperature. In contrast, if you want maximum shrinking, choose a higher temperature.

The rule of thumb is to limit the temperature to 178° Fahrenheit to avoid destroying the quality of your clothing. It is also good to monitor your garment when executing the entire process.

How long your garment is washed also affects shrinkage. Choose the longest wash cycle possible for better results.

Run a wash cycle in the washing machine

Step 4: Put your garment in the dryer.

After the wash cycle, it’s time to move your garment to the dryer. Safety first! Make sure it has cooled down before touching it to avoid hurting yourself. Also, check if the quality is still intact.

Once your garment is in the dryer, like how you selected the settings of your washing machine, set your dryer to maximum heat and longest cycle. Again, adjust if necessary.

Remember: more heat and more time = more shrinkage.

Step 5: Cool down and repeat, if needed.

After the drying cycle, let your garment cool down and see if the shrinking was a success. If it is still not your desired size, do the washing and drying cycle again until you are satisfied.

Advantages and disadvantages

This method has its own pros and cons. In terms of pros, you don’t really have to do much as you just simply select the right settings and let your washing machine and dryer do the work for you. You can also adjust the settings if you want minimal, moderate, or maximum shrinkage.

For its cons, there is the possibility of accidentally shrinking your garment too much. The colors of your fabric might also be affected and wrinkles may appear. Know these risks before doing the process.

Advantages Disadvantages
Minimal effort and easy to do Colors may bleed or fade and wrinkles may appear if too much heat
Heat and time settings are adjustable to fit your desired level of shrinkage Possibility of shrinking too much

How to shrink polyester clothes using a flat iron

shrink polyester clothes using a flat iron

Another item that comes to mind when talking about heat is your flat iron for clothes. Your flat iron is used to get rid of wrinkles and creases and make your clothing look nice. It can also be used in how to shrink polyester clothes.

Step 1: Empty pockets and other pouches.

The first step in how to shrink polyester clothes using a flat iron is to wash them in a washing machine. Just like the other method, remove things that are in your pockets to avoid discoloration and other issues.

Step 2: Turn your garment inside out.

Never attempt to shrink using this method when your garment is not turned inside out. You have to make sure that the inner part of your garment is exposed to heat.

Step 3: Run a wash cycle in the washing machine.

Throw your garment into the washing machine and let it run a wash cycle. Choose the heat and time settings that fit your desired shrinkage.

The more your garment is exposed to heat, the higher the chances of it shrinking.

Step 4: Lay your wet garment on the ironing board with a cloth on top of it.

Lay your wet garment on the ironing board with a cloth on top of it

Once the wash cycle is over, get your wet garment and place it on your ironing board. Don’t iron just yet!

First, put a clean cotton cloth on top of it so you don’t directly iron the wet garment.

This is important because it prevents your polyester clothing from being too stiff because of the heat. On top of that, it also keeps you safe as ironing a wet garment might cause accidents.

Step 5: Iron in low to medium temperature.

While high heat is key in polyester shrinkage, it does not apply to the flat iron method. Setting the temperature too high on your flat iron might cause your garment to be stiff. There is also the risk of accidentally burning the item when it gets too hot.

Instead, use low to medium temperature and apply pressure when ironing the cotton cloth on top of your wet garment. Continue ironing until the garment is completely dry.

Step 6: Cool down and repeat, if needed.

Afterwhich, let your garment cool down at room temperature. Check if you achieved your desired result and repeat the process for further shrinking.

Advantages and disadvantages

Just like the previous method, the flat iron way of shrinking also has its advantages and disadvantages.

The good side of it is you can manage the heat of your flat iron and adjust as you do the process. You can also monitor the progress and see if you are shrinking it right.

The downside is that you might end up with a stiff garment if not executed correctly. The worst-case scenario is accidentally melting or burning your clothing.

As you manually do the ironing, you need to exert more effort and time in doing this method.

Advantages Disadvantages
Control the heat to your liking Garment may become stiff, melt, or burn
See the garment shrink during the process Requires more effort and time

How to shrink polyester clothes using boiling water

shrink polyester clothes using boiling water

Another alternative on how to shrink polyester clothes is through boiling water. What you need for this method is a stove and a large pot to put your garment in.

Step 1: Empty pockets and other pouches.

This step is always so crucial so never forget to remove items inside your garment’s pockets and pouches.

Step 2: Turn your garment inside out.

As important as the first step, always make sure that your garment is inside out regardless of the shrinking method you are going to choose. This is to avoid discoloration or color fading.

Step 3: Wet your garment.

There are actually two ways to proceed. You can either simply wet your garment or you can put it in your washing machine and do one wash cycle in hot water. The latter will help in shrinking your garment.

Regardless of which way you prefer, just make sure that your garment is wet before putting it in your boiling pot.

Put water in your pot and let it boil.

Step 4: Put water in your pot and let it boil.

While you are wetting your garment, fill your pot with water and bring it to a boil.

In choosing a pot, see to it that it is large enough to hold and fully submerge your garment. Additionally, there should be enough space to move your garment around even when there is water. Consider the size of your garment and how thick your polyester material is.

Step 5: Place your garment inside the boiling pot.

Carefully put your wet garment in the pot and let the boiling water do its magic. There is no fixed temperature for this so the best you can do is monitor your garment from time to time to see if it is shrinking.

You can leave your garment to boil for about an hour and move it every once in a while. A smaller garment may require less time in the boiling pot.

If you want minimal shrinking, you can turn off the heat before putting your garment inside the pot. This way, it is exposed to less heat.

Step 6: Let your garment cool.

The last step is to let your garment cool down before you can see the final result. If you want more shrinking, you can put it in the dryer for one cycle.

Here’s a visual tutorial on how to shrink polyester clothes using boiling water:

Advantages and disadvantages

This method using boiling water has both pros and cons. One advantage is that you have a hand on how hot the water will be because you can control the stove heat. To add, you can also easily check if the garment is shrinking as you can take it out of the pot anytime you like.

The disadvantage is that there is no fixed temperature for how you need your water to boil. That means you have to just play it by ear.

You also need to be extra careful with this method because boiling water can be dangerous. When not handled properly, it can cause burns.

Advantages Disadvantages
Heat from the stove is controllable No fixed temperature
Easy monitoring of the garment during the process Needs extra caution in handling boiling water

Choose the right method for you

There are many methods on how to shrink polyester clothes but there is one common denominator: high heat. When exposed to high temperatures, polyester fabric can shrink. However, it comes with risks such as burning or melting.

Pick whichever method you are comfortable with, test it, and if you don’t get your desired result, try again.

 

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