How to Shrink Cotton & Polyester

Written by jaimie zinski
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How to Shrink Cotton & Polyester
Use a washing machine and dryer to shrink both cotton and polyester. (laundry image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

There are several reasons that clothes may become ill-fitting. Maybe a person has lost weight or the clothing has stretched out from several years of wear. Many of these clothing items may be been manufactured from the natural fibre cotton and the synthetic fibre polyester. Items made from both polyester and cotton have the ability to be shrunk to fit better or for use in craft projects.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Washing machine
  • Dryer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place the item into the washing machine. The cotton piece can be washed with garments of similar colours, if desired. Otherwise, wash the cotton piece alone.

  2. 2

    Set the washing machine's temperature to "Hot" and add detergent, if washing with other garments or if the garment is soiled. Turn on the machine.

  3. 3

    Remove the cotton piece and place it into the dryer.

  4. 4

    Turn the dryer on its hottest setting and allow the cotton item to dry.

  5. 5

    Check the item periodically. Cotton will shrink very quickly and it should be checked to ensure the piece is pulled from the dryer at the desired size.

  1. 1

    Place the garment into the washing machine. The garment can be washed separately or with other pieces of like colour.

  2. 2

    Turn the washing machine setting to "Cold" and add detergent, if washing with other garments or if the garment is soiled. Turn on the machine.

  3. 3

    Remove the piece and place it into the dryer.

  4. 4

    Turn the dryer onto the highest setting and allow the polyester piece to run through the entire drying cycle.

Tips and warnings

  • Items that are manufactured with pre-shrunk cotton cannot be made any smaller through this process.
  • Items that are manufactured from 100 per cent cotton may take two to three cycles through the washing machine and dryer before shrinking to the desired size.

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