How to Shrink Polyester Shirts

Polyester is one of the popular materials used to make most of our garments. The material is synthetic, and it is highly resistant to shrinkage. Several methods can be used to shrink polyester shirts to a minimal size.

One of the things you can do to attain these goals is to apply heating techniques. The advised temperature for shrinking a polyester shirt ranges from 68 to 81 degrees Celsius. However, the shrinking may not be to a greater extent. Before we go deeper into the different methods and tips, let us check on some of the reasons and likelihood of shrinking polyester shirts.

Buckle up for some insightful information.

What is Polyester?

what is polyester material like

It is a general name for materials made from polyester yarns or fibers, and it is the short-form name for synthetic artificial polymer. The fabric material comes by combining glycol and terephthalic acid. Aside from the scientific terms, polyester material is a type of plastic.

Characteristics of polyester

Some of the features behind this popular fashion material include the following: 

  1. The fabric material is long-lasting and resists many chemicals.
  2. Polyester has firm and lightweight fibers.
  3. You can easily maintain a polyester material. You can dry and wash at home to keep it clean and fresh always.
  4. Most young individuals pick this fabric material for their outdoor activities because it takes fewer minutes to dry. 

Is It Possible to Shrink Polyester?

Do you have a baggy shirt that might need mere amendments? Most of us always desire fitting clothes that portray our abs and hour-glass body shapes. You might take some trick actions to shrink your over-size shirt.

But is it possible to shrink a polyester shirt? Do you need to be an expert to achieve all this? No, you do not need any deep knowledge to make it through with this exercise. And, yes, it is possible to shrink a polyester. However, the shrinking might be limited and not so much.

You do not need fabric softener or special detergent to reduce the size of your polyester shirt. It would help if you had effective high temperatures through different sources, including boiling water, hot dryer, or hot iron. We shall go through these different methods below. 

The Purpose for Shrinking Polyester

As mentioned above in brief, most individuals shrink their polyester garments to attain a fitting cloth. It feels nice sometimes to put on clothes that show off your curves and make you look several years younger.

Also, you might want to shrink polyester items to recycle the older garments. The material is durable and might even last for multiple years. Shrinking polyester can be a powerful method of recycling your old garments. 

Methods Used to Shrink Polyester Shirts

Now that we know there is a higher likelihood of shrinking polyester alongside the shrinking process’s significant purposes let us peruse these several methods.

1. Using a dryer.

Even though a polyester material does not shrink easily, it might face mere effects when placed in a dryer. The heat needs to be higher enough while in the dryer to enable the shrinking.

Who would like a faded shirt? Remember to turn your cloth inside out when doing this. Also, do not combine other clothes when shrinking that particular polyester shirt to avoid color bleeding normally in higher temperatures.

It would be wise to wash and dry the polyester garment while on its own. Put your favorite cloth on the hottest temperature and longer cycle, within the range outlined, to have the most remarkable results.

It is not mandatory to include detergent in the washing machine while doing the process. You might consider using a detergent when your cloth is not quite clean. In case you need to rinse your cloth, it would be best to utilize it on hot rinse. It will contribute to the polyester shrinking.

Upon completing the washing, take your polyester shirt to the dryer. Adjust your drying settings to desirable higher temperatures similar to the washing process.

When the drying is complete, take the clean and dried garment and give it a suitable time to attain room temperatures. You can finally try it and weigh the shrinking performance. If you are not quite satisfied, you can redo the entire process.

However, repeating the process often is not advisable. It might damage your garment by making it look old, faded, and might wear out quickly.

2. Using an electric iron.

If the earlier method was not quite satisfying, using an electric iron might be your go-to technique. I am sure you are all aware of how hot an iron box might get.

The primary purpose of an iron box is to get rid away of wrinkles. But, do you know you can use the same appliance to shrink your polyester shirt?

The initial step when employing the iron box method is to wash your garment with hot water. Adjust your machine to the high-temperature cycle alongside the longest washing cycle. Do not forget to turn your polyester cloth inside out to shun from fading.

Once done with the washing, take the cloth out of the machine and place it on your ironing board while still in wet condition. Use a pressing cloth to cover it.

The cloth does not need to be luxurious. You can improvise on anything. It is generally a cloth you can use to prevent the iron box’s heat from damaging your cloth. An old bathroom or kitchen towel might work best.

Now, adjust your iron box and set it to medium or lower temperatures. Do not set higher temperatures to avoid causing stiffness to your cloth. Pass the iron box over your clothing until it becomes dry. The dryness effect will cause the shrinking.

Finalize by examining the ironed fabric material. If you carefully followed these steps, you might get a petite material that fits you perfectly. Otherwise, you might want to redo the process to attain the desired taste.

Like in the dryer technique, do not overdo the process. The iron box technique might similarly damage your clothing.

3. Using boiling water.

This boiling water method also initiates by having or making your polyester garment wet. The procedure is simple and straight to the point.

Turn your cloth inside out and prepare the boiling water effectively. There are no standard temperatures for the boiling water. It all depends on the thickness and the size of the material.

After careful considerations of the two factors, place the polyester shirt in boiling water. It will enable the heat to break down the fiber material. You might easily notice the shrink on the structure. In case the garment is combined with another material, the performance might be more outstanding.

The standard period for this exercise is about an hour. It would be helpful to dip the polyester garment inside the boiling water for the required time.

Remember not to fill the boiling water to the brim. You can half-full it to avoid spilling hot water that might burn your fingers. You might use a wooden spoon to submerge the polyester item. 

Types of Polyester Shrinkages

Here are several things you need to take into account before shrinking your poly shirt.

1. Shrinking a blended shirt

Before placing your shirt inside your dryer or in a jar full of boiling water, check on its care label. It indicates the blending present in the garment. In case the shirt is a hybrid of both polyester and cotton materials, you might be lucky enough with the shrinking process.

Cotton, unlike the polyester material, is less resistant to shrinkage. It is simpler to shrink a blended shirt than pure polyester material. It will need less heat to acquire the fitting size.

2. Minimal shrinking

In case you need minimal shrinkage, you are required to wash the shirt in a washing machine and dry it off with a dryer to attain a magical texture. You do not need a laundry detergent if the material is already clean.

3. Average shrinking

The average shrinking is most applicable to materials that are not well blended. It would be best if you utilized higher temperatures for optimal shrinking performance. The type of polyester shrinkage is ideal for garments that need extra shrinking.

4. Maximum shrinking

Higher temperatures are a must for a purely polyester shirt. Because the synthetic material is highly resistant to shrinkage, you can go for an iron box that is adjusted to high heat to shrink your favorite shirt. 

Tips and Precautions to Take When Shrinking Polyester Items

The dryer or iron methods are the most suitable techniques to shrink your favorite polyester shirts. You might first consider the dryer method. In case of limited satisfaction, you might employ the electronic box method as your second option.

Shirts need to be inside out when taking these techniques. If you fail to adhere to this, you might damage your expensive shirts with faded colors. Remember, the only way to shrink a polyester material is by applying appropriate higher temperatures.

If you opt for the dryer method, it would be wise to place the washed fabric inside a laundry bag. You do not need to pocket out dollars to purchase a laundry bag. You might make one for yourself by using a tied pillowcase. Use it in the dryer for at least ten minutes. You will be impressed with the remarkable results.

Read instructions present on the shirt, and comply with them appropriately. Discover the fiber content on the shirt. It will assist you in knowing the complexity of the shrinking process.

Polyester Hurdles

A shirt that is pure polyester might cause difficulties to the shrinking procedure. Unfortunately, these garments might fail to react to the higher temperatures enacted, bleaching agents, or even home solvents.

It might be tough to notice changes when you apply the different outlined shrinking techniques.

It is important to be cautious when making purchase decisions for these types of garments. I know the polyester fabric material is wholesomely durable. But, you cannot make changes to its design. It will leave you with the choice of donating or destroying it.

There are more struggles when sewing polyester materials. The needles stress a lot to take the thread through the thin fabric material.

Polyester shirts might not be breathable when in high-temperature regions. It easily accommodates stains and oils, which may tend to be difficult to clean.


How is shrinking possible without a washing machine?

If you lack a washing machine, you have an alternative option of an iron box. It will perform similarly to a washing machine. Ensure you follow the steps outlined under this method effectively. 

Polyester vs. cotton, which one is better?

There is no definite answer to this. The most crucial thing is to weigh out the likes and dislikes of each of the materials. Polyester is highly resistant to wrinkles, unlike cotton fabric materials. Conversely, cotton tends to be more absorbent than the other one. Most individuals say a mix-up of these two materials might be an effective option. 

Which is the significant way to shrink polyester?

High temperature is the best method to shrink your polyester shirt or skirt. Its synthetic fiber material makes it highly resistant to shrinkage. The method will lead to some effect, but not the entire shrinking. 

Final Thoughts

Shrinking polyester shirts will assist in establishing tight-fitting clothes besides recycling your older garments. The procedure is not a toy. It would be best if you were extra careful to do it effectively. Otherwise, you might damage your favorite shirt.

The article has ironed out several methods to imitate to aid in shrinking your polyester shirt. You can follow the option that best fits you. However, of the three techniques, the dryer method is highly recommended for incredible outcomes.

Now that you know the general information, techniques, and hurdles of polyester shirts, I hope all things turn out fine. Upon achieving your desired size, put on that shirt with zest and showcase your abs.

Leave a Reply