How To Shrink Polyester

Two British chemists John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dickson first brought to light polyester in 1941 after buying the rights from DuPont and created a type of polyester called Terylene. When a fabric is made of polyester yarn or fiber it is called polyester. Sixty percent of the clothing around the world is now made of polyester. In 1977, when Saturday Night Fever became popular so does polyester. The polyester in the 70s is far from what polyester now is.

How To Shrink Polyester
How To Shrink Polyester

What is polyester

The polyester used to have more plastic in its composition resulting in a shiny look and uncomfortable to wear – it is stiff. The coarse fabric made of polyester had now been softer and more comfortable to wear. While cotton is still a popular choice in clothing, the synthetically made polyester made the prices of clothing cheaper.

Despite polyester being sustainable, there are ethical issues with how fast fashion had grown over the years. Polyester being a huge part of the fashion industry had greatly affected the oceans and had contributed to how fast landfills are being filled with off-season clothing. There were movements on recycling and reusing these clothing to avoid its adverse effect on the environment. Some of the polyesters come from recycled plastic water bottles which could help the environment but since plastic will not disintegrate for years, this is also harmful to the environment. The price of clothes made of polyester is cheaper but natural materials such as cotton, silk, and wool are preferred due to their natural properties that make the clothes breathable. While polyester may not have the breathability of natural fabrics, it excels in other properties like tenacity, resistance to abrasion, and wrinkle resistance.

The application of polyester has a wide range. From fashion to sportswear to soft furnishings and upholstery. It could not be denied that because of its durability and other notable quality that it can be used in almost anything. Its rise in popularity is not only because of the manufacturing cost it offers but the quality of the material it produces. It may not be the popular choice to some but it is a good option for those who are looking for material that is cheap and durable. Polyester had seen an era where it was not popular in the fashion industry but it is the same industry that made it popular among the masses.

Polyester is not used only in fabrics but is also used in Ethylene Polyester is also known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most popular among the types of polyester. Ethylene serves as the polymer when creating the polyester fiber. This kind of polyester is known for its stiffness and strength. Its stiffness makes it resistant to deformation and resistant to wrinkles, making it a fiber to be blended to wool and other thick fiber. This kind of polyester is also used widely in food and beverages container. It was approved by FDA and other health agencies that it can be used for food and beverages packaging. PET had been recognized as the best for beverage and food packaging. This kind of polyester is also recyclable and sustainable. This material is one of the most used materials in the last 60 years since it was discovered, and the reason for this is because it can be used in a wide range of products.

Polyester may be a cheap brand but it is also used by luxury brands. Some lining of jackets and blazers use polyester. This may be disappointing to some who are paying great money for luxury items, but since jackets and blazers are worn during the cold season or times when you do not sweat so much, then polyester might be a good choice. Some people wear blazers during summer especially when they are attending important events so it is important to check the kind of lining brands are using in their blazers to make sure that you will not be sweltering in sweat. Some brands use cheap materials like polyester to put the lining in their bags. Not only is polyester cheap but it is also highly durable. When thinking if luxury brands may be cut off from the cost of production, the quality of the material is something to consider. Polyester is a much durable fabric compared to other natural materials.

How to Shrink Polyester?

Polyester can be resistant to shrinking. If the polyester is mixed with other natural fabric it would be easier to shrink it. With the emergence of technology, there are household techniques that can help you on how to shrink polyester. Shrinking polyester can be difficult but it can be done. When shrinking polyester, take note of the amount of blended material that can be a great factor in shrinking the polyester. The reason for this is because polyester is a material known for being shrink resistant.

Using washing machine and dryer

This can be achieved by using a washing machine and dryer. How to shrink polyester using a washing machine and dryer? First, make sure that the washing machine is set at its highest temperature for washing and rinsing. Heat is the number one way on shrinking polyester. Using a washing machine can help you since you can shrink more clothes easily by putting them all together in the machine. If the clothes you are trying to shrink are not dirty, there is no need to add laundry detergent. After the clothes are washed in the washing machine, it is not time for you to put them in the dryer. Put the dryer in its highest temperature setting and wait for it to be finished. If the desired size is not achieved, try ironing the clothes. Polyester is mostly made out of plastic so heating it will reduce its size.

Using boiling water

This may still be about using heat to reduce the size of the cloth, but since heat is the best way on how to shrink polyester, then this method will also work. Bring water to a rapid boil by using a stockpot, then when the water had boiled, remove from the stove and then put the cloth in the water. Make sure to use tongs, this is to prevent your hands from burning by avoiding contact with boiling water. Let the cloth be submerged in hot water for 6 to 10 minutes then pour out in a colander. Allow the cloth to cool down then wring out the excess water. Hang the cloth to dry and see if the size is the desired result.

Aftercare of polyester

It is not only important to know how to shrink polyester but also to know what to do after shrinking the polyester. After using any method to shrink the polyester, check the fabric. Check for holes or any other damages since putting the fabric at high temperature or any extreme condition may cause damage to the fabric. If the fabric is a blend of polyester and other natural fabrics, it is more prone to damage especially when the polyester has a percentage of less than 40 percent. The reason for shrinking polyester is to recycle the fabric or to preserve its color. The reason for shrinking polyester should be enough reason to care for the polyester.

After shrinking the cloth to its desired size, note that checking water temperature when washing the cloth should be taken into consideration. It is as well important that the kind of detergent is looked into. Detergent could be harsh and could affect the color of polyester and it can even cause damage to the clothes that were formerly exposed to extreme conditions. Take note of after-care of the fabric, using a fabric conditioner can also be good for the fabric since it will soften it and can make the fabric more comfortable to wear, and using it can also eliminate the static cling. Not only the water for washing that must be on low temperature but also the dryer. If the dryer is on high heat, it can shrink the clothes more so take note of the temperature when drying the clothes or fabric.


Polyester makes up USD 90 million in market share, making it one of the biggest industries. Like any major industry, there is an environmental impact that can affect the environment negatively. Some organizations made calls on the fashion industry regarding the adverse effect of polyester. With environmental consciousness on the rise, people starts recycling to reduce waste. One way to reduce the waste of polyester-made clothes is through donation, but if you do not want to donate the clothes, wearing the same clothes can help greatly. Shrinking can preserve the color of the clothes. Clothes losing color is one of the effects when clothes are worn out. Since it is common among family members to use each other clothes, shrinking the clothes can help in making sure that the clothes are still wearable even if they had worn out. Learning the basic way on how to shrink polyester can be a good way to save money on new clothes.

Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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