How To Shrink Polyester shirt

If you have an oversized polyester shirt, you will want to make it shrink. You also may want to re-use your polyester shirt by making it a different style. Then you again need to shrink it. It is not wise to send it to a tailor to do it. They may change the size range or damage the fabric while trying to shrink it. So, it will be a wise decision to shrink your polyester shirt yourself at home.

You have to be careful while following the steps. Polyester does not shrink quickly like cotton. There are some rules and instructions to shrink polyester. If you know how to shrink polyester shirt at home, you will be able to do them carefully without damaging or lowering their quality. Know the steps below.

How To Shrink Polyester Shirt

polyester is elastic fabric. It cannot shrink as cotton or wool does. This fabric is made of synthetic resilient material that shrinks very little. You can use the washing and drying process. It also shrinks polyester little.

To shrink the polyester shirt, you have to bring it to the temperature range from 155 to 178-degree Fahrenheit. So, it is not impossible to shrink the polyester though it is hard. Here you will find two essential processes to shrink polyester shirts easily. Follow the steps one by one. Do not repeat the shrinking steps frequently. It may lose the color, durability, and glaze of the shirt.

Process-1: Washing and Drying

The easiest method to shrinking the polyester shirt is by washing and drying it at high temperatures. Follow the process carefully and handle the shirt when it is cool enough to touch.

Step-1: Preparation of the Shirt

Check the shirt’s pocket carefully and remove any clip, coins, money, or other things. Now turn the shirt inside out. It will protect the outer part of the shirt from discoloration possibility.

When you apply too much heat to the shirt, there is a possibility to bleed the color. That’s why try to work on one shirt at a time so that the bled color cannot mix with another shirt. You may do the shrinking process for the same color shirts at a time. But doing one in one batch is wise to perform the process perfectly.

Step-2: Washing at High Temperature

If you wish to wash to clean up the shirt, then you can use detergent with water. But if you want to follow the process only to shrink, do not add detergent. Now keep the shirt inside of your washing machine and set the temperature at maximum. Set the timer at maximum too. It will give it enough time to stay soaked in hot water. The longer cycle will let the shirt material penetrate hot water, and it will help in efficient shrinking slowly.

Do not keep your shirt in boiling water because it can make the fabric rough and stiff. The shirt can lose the original shape and design. Try to keep the temperature below or equal to 178-degree Fahrenheit or 81 degrees Celsius.

Step-3: Drying

When the washing cycle is complete, wait for a while until the shirt becomes safe to touch and handle. Now, again set the dryer settings at the maximum temperature and maximum timer for keeping it at high temperature for a longer time.

Step-4: Checking

Now, remove the shirt from the dryer and let it cool down to room temperature. After cooling, check carefully if the shirt shrinks. If you need more shrinkage, you have to do this process first to last a couple of times. Do not do this frequently; instead, take a gap for one or two days between two sessions of this process. After doing the shrinking process 4 to 5 times, you will get the desirable shrinking.

Though it is a time-consuming process, it does not damage the color or shape easily. So, it is a safer process, and if you have ample time, you should go for this method.

Process-2: Using an Electric Iron

Using an electric iron to shrink polyester can damage the material of the fabric. So, it is pretty risky to get the right shrinking size of the shirt. But if you carefully do it at the correct measurement of temperature and time, you will perform better. Do not perform this process on a damp polyester shirt; it will worsen the quality of the fabric.

Try this method when you cannot get the exact size of the shirt from the washing and drying process. Follow the steps below.

Step-1: Preparation

You have to soak the polyester shirt and then place it on the ironing board. Do not dry the wet shirt before doing this method. Now, place a protective cloth on the damp shirt. The fabric should be cotton to protect the shirt from hardening as some high temperatures will be applied.

Step-2: Apply Iron

Apply the iron by setting it at low-medium temperature. It will help to avoid the accident that may occur for the high heat. There is also a chance to burn the shirt too. Gradually, you have to apply more heat onto the polyester shirt so that the shirt gets to shrink. After having the high heat for the first time, it will start to shrink slowly.

Continue ironing until the water gets evaporated totally. After completing ironing, keep it straight and let it dry to room temperature.

After doing the process, check if the shirt has been shrunk completely. This provides a fast result. If you do not get the perfect shrinking output, do not repeat this ironing method. It will damage the polyester shirt material by burning it. It may cause discoloration of the shirt. If you are wise, you will, at first, do the washing and drying method and then go for this ironing method for once. It will shrink your shirt enough.

How Boiling Reacts on Polyester Shirt

Since polyester shrinks at 178-degree Fahrenheit or 81 degrees Celsius, you may think of reaching the boiling temperature to shrink your polyester shirt. But boiling temperature does not suit the polyester material. It breaks the fibers to shrink at maximum. If the polyester material is mixed with other material or natural fibers, you may use the boiling temperature to shrink your shirt faster.

Shrinking becomes quick when natural fibers blend with polyester. To use this process, you have to know the effective temperature for shrinking your shirt. It differs depending on the percentage of the ingredients of the shirt within polyester. As polyester is a shrink or wrinkle-resistant material, it takes more heat to shrink. So, if the shirt has more percentage of polyester, the temperature has to be more. It also depends on the shirt size and shape. In this process, you have to keep the shirt at boiling temperature for 1 hour.

It is wise not to use the boiling heat to shrink your shirt if you do not know the exact temperature that needs to shrink. It may damage the color and shape of the shirt.


When you have to shrink your shirt made of polyester, you must know about polyester material. You have to understand how to shrink polyester shirt step by step. There are many facts about the processes of shrinking polyester garments.

Though polyester is resistant to shrink or wrinkle material, you may have to put lots of heat to shrink it. It is wise to shrink the polyester shirt by the washing and drying method because it is the safest process. Ironing may be used after trying the washing and drying method a couple of times. You should not go for the boiling method as it can be risky. Boiling temperature makes the polyester shirt rough and stiff. Sometimes, it may damage the material. So, wisely choose the process and shrink your shirt with much care.

Leave a Comment