How to keep viscose from shrinking

Viscose is a man-made fibre and is a type of rayon, which is very similar to cotton and silk. Viscose is soft, absorbent and comfortable against the skin so it is a popular fabric to create clothing such as shirts, trousers and work uniforms. Viscose is very sensitive fabric so great care needs to be taken when cleaning garments to avoid the material shrinking.


Viscose absorbs and holds moisture, which can weaken the fabric leading to a breakdown of the fibres. Avoid wearing viscose garments in heavy rain as they may shrink after drying.

Lightweight viscose items such as shirts and blouses can be hand washed at home, providing you handle gently. Always read the garment label to determine whether it is suitable for hand washing. Use a washing detergent specially formulated for delicate items. Warm rather than hot water will help to prevent shrinkage.

The Home Laundering Consultative Council recommends dry cleaning to prevent shrinkage. They state that the dry cleaning process contains little or no water and so avoids the risk of fibres swelling and the garment distorting. As viscose has poor strength when wet, heavier items such as suits, dresses and trousers will be much less likely to shrink or lose colour if kept dry.

It is possible to dry clean your viscose garments using a home dry-cleaning method with your tumble dryer. Place the items into the dry-cleaning bag and seal it. Place the bag inside the tumble dryer on a low heat for 30 minutes. Hang the items immediately after the cycle stops to avoid creases. As an alternative, you can purchase dry-cleaning sheets to place inside the tumble dryer without the need to use the bag.


Lay viscose garments flat to dry to hold its shape and avoid creases.


Take care when removing garments from a tumble dryer. It may be hot.

Things You'll Need

  • Tumble dryer
  • Home dry-cleaning bags
  • Home dry-cleaning sheets
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jules Halliday is a writer, coach and public speaker with more than 20 years experience of recruitment, training and management in a variety of sectors. Passionate about career and personal development, Halliday is director of TMS Coaching Ltd and founder of All UK Jobsites.